Fox 2 Detroit: US Rep. Haley Stevens says Essential Worker Protection Act is about giving peace of mind

DETROIT (FOX 2) – US Congresswoman Haley Stevens is talking about what needs to happen before we all get back to work. 

Stevens is working on the Essential Worker Protection Act and joined FOX 2 to talk about what it does. 

“It is a bill that will create an interagency taskforce led by the Department of Labor in partnership with the Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control, Food and Drug Administration, Small Business Administration, Department of Transportation, Department of Homeland Security, and Department of Defense. It’s zero dollars. It doesn’t cost anything. It is led by cabinet secretaries and its requirement is to provide health guidelines in real time to industries as they come back to work, or as they have been at work, during this pandemic scenario that we’re in.

“And it’s to give people peace of mind. It’s to give the employers and the employees something to work with, across industry, so that they can start functioning again.”

FOX 2: “And I imagine that this looks different depending on what industry you’re talking about getting back to work.”

Stevens: “We have got lots of regulations already in place that govern our beauty salons to our manufacturers, to even our schools and our city governments. And we want to make sure that standards are enforced, that workplace safety is taken very seriously. I know that that uncertainty was something that I heard right away when I was calling the grocery stores right when we entered into this stay home, stay safe order here in Michigan. And it’s the same question for our incredible manufacturers. This industry, it’s so magnificent, and it’s been hibernating when we’ve been in this kind of sheltering. And now they want to come back online.

“It’s going to be complicated turning those machines on, they need to put in the right safety, they need to make sure that the workers feel safe. If you’re a smaller company sometimes that’s a little easier to do. But the larger you are, you need that backing, you need that insurance from the federal government and that’s what we’re looking to do, is just make it clear, make it simple, not make it complicated for people.”

FOX 2: “I think a lot of people are wondering what are the best practices, how do we get together and decide on some standards in the workplace, right?”

Stevens: “We need those best practices. And it’s the science, right? We need to be science driven. And look, this has been tough for Michigan. We know that, and we’ve been through tough times before. We know the slogan ‘Detroit hustles harder.’ And I like to say ‘Detroit always rises.’ We rise when times are steady certainly, and we rise when times are tough. And we’re going to rise out of this moment.

“You look at our auto companies, the big ones and the small ones. They all stepped up to make that personal protective equipment, the ventilators. it’s been a remarkable story coming out of Detroit and we’re going to lead it again as we come back to work.”

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