INDIANAPOLIS – On Wednesday, Indiana Democratic State Senators David Niezgodski (D-South Bend) and Eddie Melton (D-Gary) held a press conference to shed light on the concerns of front-line workers and the lack of safety enforcement in businesses during this pandemic. Despite a lack of social distancing guidelines and safety regulations, many workers have had little success getting their safety concerns addressed. Several labor representatives and essential workers joined the virtual press conference to share their workplace experiences and concerns as the state begins reopening.
“At the end of the day, we are here to lift up the voices of working Hoosiers,” Sen. Niezgodski said. “Right now there are thousands of Hoosiers going to work as we fight this pandemic. As we open up the state, thousands more will rejoin our workforce. It’s so vital that we make sure Hoosier workers are protected and can practice their trade safely without fear of disease. The state has put forth guidelines they recommend businesses follow to keep their workers safe, but there has to be some kind of enforcement. So far, we have not seen that, forcing employees to fend for themselves even amongst credible reports of unsafe workplaces. Where does the buck stop? In this case, the state has to take the lead so that worker safety comes first.”
“The reality is that too many Hoosiers have already been forced to work in conditions that violate CDC safety guidelines, and we cannot let that continue,” Sen. Melton said. “If the state isn’t doing what’s necessary to address safety violations now, what’s going to happen as the state reopens? Essential workers who have been trying to share their concerns have had their voices go unheard. Our Hoosier workers shouldn’t be forced to put their health on the line to keep our state operating, only to be met with silence when they attempt to raise alert about unsafe working conditions. That’s why we wanted to take this opportunity to give our Hoosier workers on the front lines a platform to share their voices and be heard.”
As the plan to reopen the state moves forward, Indiana Senate Democratic members, labor representatives and essential workers call on Governor Holcomb to ensure the safety of Hoosiers workers by:
- Enforcing current safety and social distancing orders
- Directing IOSHA to enforce orders and penalize businesses who are not following the rules
- Providing and guaranteeing sufficient personal protective equipment to workers before businesses can open or operate
Video of the press conference can be viewed at bit.ly/INSenDemsLive