Latino, Black COVID-19 Death Rates Fall in LA County Due to Workplace Crackdowns
The decline in COVID-19 cases and deaths among Latino and Black people was caused by aggressive workplace health enforcement, said Los Angeles County officials.
Latino and Black people contracting and dying from COVID-19 declined over the past two months, and LA officials believed it was because of workplace crackdowns they started months prior.
LA officials pushed to set up tip lines for violations on workplace health enforcement and other offenses.
UC Berkeley Labor Center believed the idea was "innovative," noting that the workplace was the driver of COVID-19 in the county, affecting mostly Latinos and Blacks.
LA Officials Seek to Create Workplace Councils
Now, LA officials want to gain more ground against the virus and create workplace councils among employees. It will involve workers trained to look for COVID-19 prevention violations.
They will identify any COVID-19 risks and report these concerns to their management and follow up on compliance.
UC Berkeley noted that workers could fear speaking out, adding that they are less likely to report frustrating protocols for fear of getting fired.
The county wanted to ease their fears, letting workers know that they don't have to be afraid of getting punished for noticing a violation, said a post on California Healthline.
The LA Board of Supervisors is expected to approve an ordinance on the matter next month. It will allow workers to participate in this council and report to the health department when they have to.
With these councils in place, the county is confident that there will be a boost in public confidence and compliance with health standards.
There were some benefits that come with the proposal, noted UCLA Labor Center. For example, the county will ensure compliance with health standards at a minimal cost.
Tia Koonse, Ken Jacobs, and Jennifer Ray of UCLA estimated the proposed measure's costs, saying the council training and creation could cost the county about $1.1 million.
In addition to that, there will be an average of 0.1 percent of operating costs for employers.
Despite the costs, there comes higher economic activity in Los Angeles. Businesses will stay open with less fear of the spread of COVID-19, boosting the city's tax revenues.
Business Leaders Criticize Workplace Proposals
Business leaders were just some of the critics of the measure. They argued that the proposal would only create "more red tape" while the county is going through a pandemic, reported Kaiser Health News.
For them, putting these measures in place came at the "worst possible time" for the economy. But various businesses and labor groups disagree, saying it was necessary for fighting the pandemic.
LA County Public Health Department Director Barbara also said putting the measures were part of workers' rights.
"Workers have a right to be in a safe space and shouldn't face any retaliation," she said.
Ferrer added that low-wage workers were facing a great disadvantage in facing the pandemic. In August, Latino deaths due to COVID-19 had been worrisome.
Decline in Latino Deaths
An earlier Latin Post report said there was a great disparity between Latinos and other Californians.
Some factors that come into play are their nature of work as essential workers, language barriers, and living in at-risk communities.
There was an upsurge in COVID-19 cases after Memorial Day weekend. Latinos were dying from the virus at a right far higher than white Californians. Blacks were also dying at twice the rate as whites.
Then after two months, it appears the county has finally managed to protect its communities of color.
Death rates among Latinos and Blacks have fallen by more than half and are almost the same as the white population, said health department data.
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