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Environmental racism and the subsequent chronic exposure to air pollution has been identified as one of the biggest contributing factors to higher rates of severe illness and death from COVID-19 within Black, Latinx, and Indigenous communities. Fossil fuel plants are among the top emitters of pollutants that can cause or worsen respiratory problems and make people more susceptible to COVID-19. This report discusses how the fossil fuel industry contributes to adverse outcomes from COVID-19 within BIPOC communities and how COVID-19 relief packages have prioritized fossil fuel corporations at the expense of communities of color. In addition, it also discusses how the fossil fuel industry has been upheld by the U.S government and financial institutions, and proposes multiple solutions to these problems.
In California, Uber, Lyft, Instacart, DoorDash, and Postmates workers are all classified as employees under California law entitled to the same benefits and protections enjoyed by all California employees. However, these companies are funding a ballot initiative – Proposition 22 or the “Protect App-Based Drivers and Services Act”– that would grant app-based transportation and delivery companies a complete exemption from AB 5, freeing them from complying with California’s labor laws. Thus, their workers would be unprotected and companies would be allowed to avoid paying for overtime, discriminate on the basis of immigration status, deny workers health or income protections if they are hurt on the job, and prevent workers from accessing paid leave. This report urges voters to reject Proposition 22 to protect workers’ health, safety, and dignity.
Recycling workers face serious hazards on the job. For long hours, they work with heavy equipment in dangerous situations and deal with an array of unsafe materials (needles, broken glass, etc) that should not be on the recycling line. As a result of these unsafe conditions, recycling workers face above-average injury rates and are sometimes even killed on the job. To ensure safe and dignified recycling jobs, municipal govern- ments must require rigorous health and safety standards in recycling contracts. This report explores the dangers recycling workers face and provides policy recommendations that municipal decision makers should follow to improve industry accountability and health and safety outcomes.