Bills Would Strip Rights from Workers Who Suffered or Died from COVID-19

Michigan Immigrant Rights Center

Legislative Alert: Bills Would Strip Rights from Workers Who Suffered or Died from COVID-19

House Bill 6030 (Tie bar with: HB 6031, SB 1023, HB 6032, SB 1024)

The Michigan Immigrant Rights Center, is a legal resource center for Michigan's immigrant communities. We represent immigrant workers across the food supply chain, from the fields where fruits and vegetables are picked, to processing plants, packing houses, meatpacking plants, greenhouses, and dairy farms. During the COVID-19 pandemic, they have been the backbone of the state's food supply. They have worked in-person since the very beginning of the pandemic and have risked their health and lives during a time of great uncertainty. Together with our client communities, we support legislation that advances the protections for vulnerable and essential workers during this pandemic. We oppose legislation that makes it more difficult for workers who took high risks for low wages to be compensated for injuries or death.

On July 23, 2020, Representative Thomas Albert (R - District 86) introduced House Bill 6030, a bill tie-bared to HB 6031SB 1023HB 6032SB 1024. (A tie-bar means none of the bills can go into effect unless all of the bills are enacted.) House Bill 6030 was heard in the House Judiciary Committee on September 1, 2020, with support from employers. These bills would strip the most vulnerable and essential farmworkers from much needed legal protection during the COVID-19 pandemic by setting the bar too high to prove when an employer acted negligently in not protecting workers from COVID-19. These bills are especially harmful to immigrant workers, including many farmworkers, who do not have access to the workers compensation system due to their immigration status. The worst actors among employers, those who ignored health and safety guidance designed to protect workers and stop the spread of COVID-19, would benefit the most from the blanket immunity the bills provide. MIRC opposes these bills.

MIRC opposes legislation that would make it difficult for workers who have been harmed to bring their claims and reduce incentives for employers to provide workers protection that they need and deserve. We urge you to contact your Michigan State Representative and Senator today and tell them to vote no on HB 6030 and ask Governor Whitmer to veto these bills if passed.