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“It’s ‘Up To The Rest Of Us Create A Country Where All Work Has Dignity’” - A Labor Perspective From U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown Of Ohio: Corporations That ‘Exploit Workers - Even Amid COVID, Don't Deserve To Run The Economy’

Published Tuesday, January 12, 2021
by U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (Democrat-Ohio) Via USA TODAY
“It’s ‘Up To The Rest Of Us Create A Country Where All Work Has Dignity’” - A Labor Perspective From U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown Of Ohio: Corporations That ‘Exploit Workers - Even Amid COVID, Don't Deserve To Run The Economy’

In the early months of this pandemic, as businesses and feel good news stories hailed America’s Workers as the heroes of our time, I submitted an open letter to America’s Corporate Leaders, imploring them to live up to their ad campaigns and invest in the Workers who make their businesses successful.

I wrote: If you truly believe that Workers are essential to your companies, then treat them that way.

Since then, CEOs have not been beating down my door to discuss renewed efforts to invest in their Workers.

All that’s changed are that corporate profits have gone up, Hazard Pay has disappeared, and more Workers have died.

Since the Coronavirus Pandemic started, hundreds of thousands of American Workers have died of COVID-19 after contracting the virus on the job.

Even as small businesses have shuttered in communities all over the country, profits for the largest retail companies have soared during the pandemic.

Workers’ pay, predictably, has not

The Brookings Institution studied the 13 biggest retailers in the country and found that their earnings have shot up 39% compared with last year, and stock prices are up 33%.

But wages have only gone up by about $1 an hour

Amazon's quarterly profits increased by close to a staggering 200% - yet it rolled back its still meager $2-per-hour raise in June, and announced a one-time bonus of just $300 per Worker. 

Yes, you read that correctlynot $3,000, but $300, from a company that brought in $280 billion in revenue last year. 

The company also has no plans to change its broader business model built on exploiting Workers, largely Workers of Color and Women, and busting Unions.

Amazon makes ample use of contractors, including what it calls “Amazon Flex” Drivers - and as with other “gig economy” jobs, “flex” is just corporate PR speak for denying Workers their rights as Employees. 

Of course Amazon is far from alone in its treatment of Workers, nor is this problem new.

For decades, corporations have used trick after trick to pay Workers less and deny them health careretirement savingspaid leave and basic job security.

We’ve seen the results of this corporate business model that treats Workers as expendableProfits go upCEO pay soars; and stock buybacks explode

And - the Middle Class shrinks

To Continue Reading This Labor Perspective, Go To: www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2020/12/15/biden-elected-to-help-workers-covid-pandemic-sherrod-brown-column/6537959002/?fbclid=IwAR2rCCrM4eY3ZeI2iO8ww5t2XZ5jEtYYjdceAWuBzX0H4pvZM8e-Aavoagw

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