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Worker Groups to Northam: Recommendations Should Be Requirements

Most of Virginia is about to start opening back up for business, and groups representing Virginia workers are hoping the governor adopts some emergency regulations first.

A coalition of groups representing workers across Virginia is pressing Governor Ralph Northam for emergency regulations to require employers provide a safe workplace.

Kim Bobo at the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy says it’s not good enough to have suggestions, and the protections are pretty obvious. 

“That workers be provided with adequate protective equipment, that there be social distancing, that there be hand sanitizers," Bobo says. "You know, the things that are recommendations now but we believe ought to be requirements.”

Doris Crouse-Mays at the AFL-CIO says Virginia workers deserve to have required protections. 

“We’ve counted on them for our food supply, transportation, taking us to the hospital, taking care of us when we’re sick," she explains. "You mean to tell me we can’t do anything to ensure that when workers go back to work that they’re safe?”

The AFL-CIO is working with the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy and Virginia Organizing to press for emergency regulations as soon as possible, hopefully before workers return to their jobs.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.