As Congress negotiates a fiscal stimulus package to absorb the economic shock of the coronavirus, it is essential that lawmakers set strong conditions for industry bailouts. Now is the time to ensure that working families, not just shareholders and corporate executives, receive the benefits of any taxpayer-funded bailout. Direct aid to impacted industries must be conditioned on meaningful protections for working people. Firms that receive taxpayer dollars must not be permitted to layoff workers, to outsource or offshore work, to cut workers’ pay or benefits, or to reopen union contracts. Businesses that are in distress will accept the bailout even with these conditions, and this will ensure that workers, not just corporations, benefit from the infusion of cash from the government. History has demonstrated that without these conditions, corporate executives will line their pockets and those of their shareholders before providing for their workers. Big bailouts must come with big strings attached to protect working families.
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