Readers Respond

Coronavirus poses worker safety issues that ought to be more closely examined | READER COMMENTARY

I am responding to the recent commentary by Robert B. Reich, “Billionaire coronavirus donations are disingenuous; they need to do more” (April 14). Mr. Reich is a smart guy. We need people in our society like him to keep things balanced for the American worker. A cursory review of a Wikipedia summary on Mr. Reich would leave any reader with the conclusion just how brilliant this guy truly is. He has served several presidents going back to Gerald Ford.

In the oped, he shares that it his opinion that super billionaires’ recent contributions for workers because of the COVID-19 pandemic are far short of what he would expect from some of the super wealthy. Mr. Reich is entitled to his opinion. People donate what they want.


But considering some of the jobs Mr. Reich has politically held, especially as the labor secretary under President Bill Clinton, I would have hoped he would go a step further regarding worker safety. Briefly, he mentions coronavirus infections to workers at Amazon and Walmart. He shares that workers are not being provided with the necessary personal protective equipment. He states some workers have died as a result, but there is no mention of regulatory consequences.

Within the U.S. Department of Labor there is a little organization called the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. OSHA is armed with numerous safety and health standards including regulations associated with requiring an analysis, an assessment and employer issuance of personal protective equipment.


I have not watched every daily presidential briefing since the pandemic has taken over, but I am unaware anyone calling out for the Department of Labor to be included for the purpose of sharing common sense means to protect workers. The workers are from all walks including medical practitioners, hospital orderlies, maintenance personnel, delivery people, warehouse workers, etc.

I am not suggesting this is the time for a regulator to be hammering businesses. I only suggest that by Mr. Reich calling some of this stuff out may help. He should know the politics and workings considering he once headed the cabinet level position that included OSHA.

Bill Alcarese, Baltimore

Add your voice: Respond to this piece or other Sun content by submitting your own letter.