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Local organizations working to keep essential workers safe through pandemic

Posted at 5:26 PM, Jan 12, 2021

BALTIMORE — Local organizations are working to keep essential workers safe through the pandemic.

Members of the Baltimore NAACP, SEIU 1199, United Food and Commercial Workers and more are teaming up to form the coalition to protect essential workers.

They kicked off the initiative in Baltimore Tuesday morning, handing out PPE and hand sanitizer to more than 2,000 workers.

The coalition is backing the Maryland Essential Workers Protection Act.

It requires employers to provide workers with a safe workspace, PPE, and emergency pandemic action plans that include sanitation protocol.

"Our members have been called to the frontline to face the challenges that the pandemic has presented us with. While the employers are doing what they can to provide safer working conditions, there's always more that can be done and we're not seeing that level of support from all of the employers."

The legislation also creates protections regarding shift hours, requires paid health and bereavement leave, free COVID-19 testing and extra hazard pay.

It also allows employees to refuse dangerous work without fear of retaliation.