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The pandemic has put life as we know it on hold. Most people aren’t actually going in to work because we’ve had to practice social distancing as part of an effort to flatten the curve. Shutting down non-essential businesses and staying away from each other was the best way to protect ourselves and each other. However, some states are more worried about the economy than citizens’ lives.

When it became clear that millions of people would be losing their income and jobs, there were certain benefits set up and put in place to help people survive. Unemployment benefits were increased and millions were able to apply immediately. This allowed people to stay home for their own safety and that of others without having to risk their lives to go to work.

Unfortunately, some states are trying to reopen too soon. This puts plenty of people at risk. In these states, they are forcing workers to return to work and threatening to cut off their unemployment benefits if they don’t: Iowa, Oklahoma, Texas, and Florida.

Workers are scared for their lives. As the Washington Post reports: “Some now-unemployed Americans weren’t making much money in the first place, so they may not want to risk their safety just to return to underpaid old gigs.”

Damon A. Silvers, the director of policy and special counsel for the AFL-CIO says: “These states are offering people the choice to endanger your life or starve.”

Not only is this cruel, but it’s also dangerous. It undermines the country’s response to the pandemic. We’ve spent months trying to encourage people to stay home and isolate only for some people to be forced to risk their lives. Not to mention, people are still getting infected with coronavirus and dying.

Sign this petition to tell these state governors to drop their plans of retaliation against health-wary workers.

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Sign these other petitions which are relevant to the ongoing pandemic:

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