Statement by California Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski:
“Today’s full reopening of the California economy is a major milestone in the battle against COVID. While our progress to suppress the virus under Gov. Gavin Newsom’s leadership should be celebrated, we need to remain vigilant. The pandemic that’s been raging across the globe and here at home isn’t over. We’re not out of the woods yet; in fact, given the variants that are circulating and ongoing efforts to vaccinate all, we can’t even see the tree line.
“While California’s impressive vaccine rollout affords many people much-needed protection, we’re deeply concerned about those in rural communities and communities of color with low vaccination rates who remain at risk. With relaxed mask mandates, many essential workers are once again in harm’s way, with the potential of even more outbreak occurring in workplaces. We call on Cal/OSHA to consider the risks to workers when issuing its workplace emergency temporary standard later this week, and to remember that dozens of workplace outbreaks continue to occur every day in California. We also strongly urge the governor and legislature to approve hazard pay for essential workers who’ve put their health and safety in jeopardy for well over a year and remain at heightened risk today.
“We urge the public to continue to practice commonsense health and safety measures to protect workers and others threatened by the virus. Especially if you’re unvaccinated, please wear a mask when indoors and in large crowds. Keep practicing social distancing when possible. And, above all, remember that while together we’ve made tremendous progress in the fight against COVID, only by protecting each other will we get over the finish line to put an end to this horrible pandemic once and for all.”