Put Frontline Workers First!

August 27, 2021

Exposure to SARS-CoV-2 has made thousands of workers in Massachusetts sick and likely resulted in hundreds of fatalities. MassCOSH has little doubt countless workers were unaware of their rights to paid sick time off and workers’ compensation benefits, hitting low-income workers with little emergency savings especially hard. The federal American Rescue Plan has directed $5.3 billion dollars to Massachusetts to help deal with the pandemic and MassCOSH has teamed up with our labor partners to ensure working people receive a fair share of the federal aid. Together, we have developed a proposal on how the Massachusetts legislature should allocate those funds. To learn more about our proposal, click here for a PDF.

Among many other proposals, we are demanding that state leaders direct $35,000,000 for a multilingual outreach campaign to ensure workers who believe they contracted COVID-19 because of workplace exposure know their rights to workers’ compensation benefits. Within this budget, we seek to establish small grant funds for workers whose claims were denied by the workers’ compensation insurer. Given that there have been 689,014 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Massachusetts to date, there are likely far more people who are eligible for workers' compensation benefits than have applied.