DES MOINES — Ahead of Vice President Mike Pence’s visit to Des Moines today, the IDP hosted a press call with Black Hawk County State Rep. Ras Smith and Iowa AFL-CIO President Charlie Wishman about the need for action and transparency from Pence and Reynolds in order to be able to stop the spread, protect workers, and safely re-open our economy.
“On the same morning Pence and Ernst boarded Air Force 2, a member of the Vice President’s staff tested positive for COVID-19, Iowa reported 398 new cases and 12 deaths, and Governor Reynolds defied White House guidelines by opening businesses in counties that still have growing case numbers. Yet they still claim Reynolds’ response has been a success,” said IDP Chair Mark Smith. “The GOP is undermining Americans in a time of crisis. They are forcing people to work without enforcing preventative safety measures, threatening to take away unemployment benefits if workers choose their health over their jobs, while doubling-down on an ACA attack that would leave millions without accessible health care if they got sick. This pandemic has underscored the need for elected leaders who put people first. Here in Iowa, Reps. Axne, Finkenauer, and Loebsack are working tirelessly to make sure the next round of federal aid includes protections for workers, families, and local communities that are facing some of the worst long term effects of this crisis.”
“This week, Governor Reynolds had the opportunity to stand alongside frontline workers who are risking their lives every day to make sure our global food supply isn’t interrupted. Instead, she chose a last-minute invitation to brag with Trump at the White House,” said State Representative Ras Smith. “Iowans are being left behind by Reynolds and Trump. By accelerating the timeline for re-opening our community while underreporting nearly 600 new cases at the plant, Reynolds has further damaged the faith that our workers have in our government and employers. Our GOP leaders speak often about personal accountability. I think the actions by our state and federal government are irresponsible, and we will hold them accountable for turning a blind eye when we truly needed them.”
“We can safely re-open our economy, but Iowans need to have the faith that they are working in a safe workplace with proper protective equipment and right now they aren’t getting that assurance from Reynolds or the Trump administration,” said Iowa AFL-CIO President Charlie Wishman. “We are talking about human lives, not just numbers on a spreadsheet. Behind every one of those numbers is a person with a family, and if Trump is going to ask Americans to work in a pandemic, the very least he can do is ensure those workplaces are safe with an OSHA standard and that workers have the protective equipment they need. This is the worst crisis we’ve seen in a generation and Trump’s inaction is failing workers.”