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AFL-CIO Statement on Labor Committee Passing Workers' Compensation Presumption

David C. Dal Zin
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Sal Luciano, President of the Connecticut AFL-CIO, made the following statement in response to the Labor & Public Employees Committee passing House Bill 6478, which would establish a workers’ compensation presumption for essential workers who contract COVID-19:

"We are grateful to the members of the Labor & Public Employees Committee for passing legislation that would establish a workers’ compensation presumption for essential workers who were stricken with COVID-19. This bill will potentially help thousands of essential workers – nurses, fire fighters, grocery store workers, bus drivers, nursing home workers and many others – who contracted the novel coronavirus on the job.

"Throughout the pandemic, the state has expected our essential workers to continue to show up to work every day and sometimes without adequate personal protective equipment. And they have. The least we can do is take care of them when they get sick.

"The Connecticut AFL-CIO is extraordinarily thankful to the Labor & Public Employees Committee and especially co-chairs, Sen. Julie Kushner and Rep. Robyn Porter, for making this issue a priority. They understand the sacrifice our essential workers have made, and they will not rest until they are afforded basic health and job protections.

"We look forward to working with the full House and Senate to see this critical legislation passed as soon as possible. And we urge Gov. Lamont to sign this legislation as soon as it lands on his desk. Not only did the governor break his word about prioritizing essential workers for the vaccine, he rolled back capacity limits before many workers had the chance to get a vaccine and become protected. At the very least, he needs to ensure essential workers’ health and livelihoods are taken care of when they contract the virus.

"We also thank the Labor & Public Employees Committee for passing comprehensive legislation that addresses the challenges workers have faced during the pandemic and incorporate best practices from their experiences over the last year. SB 1002 and HB 6595 are important omnibus bills that will provide recall rights to laid off workers, safe hospital nurse staffing levels, earned sick time to additional workers, workers’ compensation coverage to treat job-related trauma, and a streamlined process to obtain personal protective equipment in future emergencies."

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