In response to Gov. Murphy’s decision to reopen nonessential businesses for curbside pickup and allow the restart of nonessential construction, Cesar Pena, member of Make the Road New Jersey, issued the following statement on behalf of the organization:
Gov. Murphy must accelerate protections for workers in frontline industries and nonessential businesses that will reopen on Monday. We are afraid of going back to work.
Workers continue to get sick and many have died without adequate protective equipment or when employers do not follow social distancing guidelines. Many face retaliation when they refuse to work under unsafe circumstances.
The state must create effective enforcement mechanisms to efficiently resolve workplace hazards that enable COVID break-outs. We demand the right to refuse unsafe work and still keep our jobs. We also urge the state to create a hotline where workers can anonymously report unsafe working conditions and must immediately deploy authorities to investigate workplaces where there are credible reports of employers enabling unsafe working conditions.
As customers return to stores next week, that means workers risk exposure. The state must act to expand worker safety immediately before Monday. Workers’ lives like mine are on the line.”