Rep. Smith to host press conference Feb. 26 in Perry

Submitted by Reps. Ras Smith and Timi Brown-Powers
IA Rep. Ras Smith, D-Waterloo, speaks to the press during a news conference announcing a proposal from Democratic law makers to address police misconduct on Thursday, June 4, 2020, outside of the Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines.

In response to the failure of Iowa GOP leadership to protect Iowa workers, Reps. Ras Smith and Timi Brown-Powers are releasing an Iowa Workers Bill of Rights and OSHA Standards Bill next week, a press release said.

Rep. Smith will host press conferences in Perry and Marshalltown Friday to discuss the bill and speak with community members and advocates about the needs and concerns of Iowa workers. The Perry press conference will be held at 10 a.m. on Friday at Wiese Park, 800 Pattee St.

“Inhumane working conditions existed long before the pandemic,” said Rep. Smith. “But COVID-19 revealed the ugly truth that Iowa GOP leadership and corporate leaders view workers as expendable, not essential.”

The bill, which was developed as a response to the illness, suffering and death that ravaged Iowa’s meatpacking plants, is not limited to protecting only these workers. It is intended to ensure all workers, including private and public sector workers as well as independent contractors and sub-contractors, receive adequate health and safety protections, paid sick and family and medical leave, and protections from employer harassment. 

Rep. Brown-Powers said, “This bill and the OSHA bill have been a concern for years, but the pandemic highlighted these concerns on the back of workers and their families. It is time to stop talking about it and start doing something for our workers. During the pandemic I witnessed workers coming to the COVID clinic sick, scared, and concerned they would lose their jobs. Workers deserve better and families shouldn’t be planning funerals.  Representative Smith and I will continue to stand with our workers.”