WASHINGTON, D.C .– The Trump administration is eager to reopen the country, which is why executives from the hotel, airline, grocery store and other industries were taken to the White House on Friday to discuss the strategy.
What you need to know
- President Trump meets with CEOs to discuss the reopening
- Present CEO of Kincinnati based Kroger
- The United States Secretary of Labor says workers have the right to raise safety concerns
But for the workers sitting at home discussing whether it is safe to return to work – if they have a job again – I asked US Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia what resources are there to help.
“What protection do workers need to have to keep them safe when workplaces open again? And what rights do they have if they feel unsafe? “I asked Scalia earlier in an interview outside the White House Friday round table event.
“We at the labor department have provided extensive guidance, and often work with CDC, we have received guidance for 16 different, specific industries on how to open safely,” said Scalia.
He added: “Insofar as companies fall short, the Working Conditions Administration, part of the Labor department, is concerned with employee complaints. We will examine it. And workers have the right to raise health and safety concerns. They should do that, and employers should listen to them. ‘
Scalia said employees can contact the labor department if they feel that their employer is not treating them fairly.
Friday’s roundtable included Croger CEO Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen. He was not available for an interview.
Other attendees included the heads of Wyndham Hotels and Southwest Airlines.
Geoff Ballotti with Wyndham said the hotel’s occupancy rate is currently around 30 percent, while Gary Kelly with Southwest said things are still down 85 percent.
I asked them if Washington needed more federal aid.
“We think further stimulation will be needed,” said Ballotti, the President and CEO of Wyndham Hotels & Resorts. “We believe it has been fantastic and we once again applaud the government and congress for all the support our franchisees have received today, but this is going to be a long way to recovery.”
“I think they did their part,” said Kelly, Southwest CEO. “And now I think the focus should be on the problem, and the problem is defeating the virus.”
The challenge for the future is for Congress and the Trump administration to decide which industry leaders to associate with – those who ask for more help or those who say enough help has been given.