5 corporations holding up protective gear production

by Vanessa Butterworth

May 7, 2020

It’s unconscionable that when Essential Workers need vital protection, multi-billion dollar corporations are lobbying against the Defense Production Act, forcing states, cities, and hospitals to compete for life-saving materials.

©Tim Aubry/Greenpeace

This May, we’re all doing our part for essential workers. We’re staying inside to avoid getting sick and to protect our healthcare workers. We’re wearing masks and keeping physical distance from service workers at the grocery store. And, we’re fighting hard to make sure ALL essential employees have the protective equipment and paid sick leave they need and deserve. Thank you. 

If you are an essential worker, we’d be in bad shape without you. THANK YOU!!

The next bit of news is more harsh. 

We’ve just learned that amidst the current crisis, some of the most powerful U.S. corporations — FedEx, Honeywell, Amazon, 3M and U.S. Bank — are standing by and watching as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce uses its vast influence to prevent the full use of the Defense Production Act (DPA). The DPA is a vital tool that would allow our country to call on U.S. corporations to rapidly manufacture the N-95 masks, ventilators, tests, and other equipment.

If these massive corporations show their full support for the DPA, it will expose Trump’s failure in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic — and push the Chamber to step back.

The good news is that everyone here at Greenpeace is dedicated to uniting across movements and supporting workers in any way we can. 

That’s why we’ve teamed up with the Public Accountability Initiative, Communications Workers of America (CWA), Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and more in calling on Chamber of Commerce members FedEx, Honeywell, Amazon, 3M and U.S. Bank to step up and tell The Chamber to #ProtectEssentialWorkers.

It’s unconscionable that when nurses, grocery store workers, transit workers, food workers, and many more need supplies to protect themselves and their communities, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — and the multi-billion dollar corporations it represents — is lobbying against the Defense Production Act, forcing states, cities, and hospitals to compete for life-saving materials. And, while companies like 3M have come out in support of the DPA, it also needs to use its influence to get the whole weight of the Chamber of Commerce behind the DPA right now.

This policy decision has had a devastating impact on the health of low-wage Black and Latinx workers in particular, who represent a greater portion of essential public, service, and agricultural sector jobs that put them at greater risk of exposure to COVID-19, and account for a significantly higher portion of fatalities from the disease.

Sign the petition to the CEOS of FedEx, Honeywell, Amazon, 3M and U.S. Bank to #ProtectEssentialWorkers now.

The Trump Administration has refused to use the full power of the Defense Production Action to accelerate the delivery of needed medical supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE) despite urgent calls from hospitals, healthcare workers, and other essential workers.

Many of the most powerful corporations that lead the Chamber have direct financial interests in how the COVID-19 response plays out. The companies, including medical manufacturers like 3M and Honeywell, as well as big banks and major employers of frontline workers – have the power and responsibility to reverse the Chamber’s lobbying agenda that prioritizes corporate control and profit over public health and well-being.

Sign the petition

Vanessa Butterworth

By Vanessa Butterworth

Vanessa currently works as the Senior Digital Strategist at Greenpeace and sits on the Rising Tide North America organizing team. Outside of paid work, she organizes with frontline groups against police brutality, gentrification, and environmental racism. Over the past ten years, she's worked on campaign, mobilization, direct action, and movement strategy across the US and Canada. She's originally from Mississauga of the New Credit Territory as known as Caledon, Ontario, but now lives in Oakland, California on Ohlone Territory.

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