9 out of 10 Americans say pandemic can reset 'business as usual'

A new report found that only 1/4 of respondents said the current form of capitalism ensures the greater good of society.

    A new survey found that three out of four respondents said that in the post pandemic world they would support workers having the right to engage in collective bargaining for salary increases, health benefits, paid sick leave, and worker safety [File: Emily Elconin/Reuters]
    A new survey found that three out of four respondents said that in the post pandemic world they would support workers having the right to engage in collective bargaining for salary increases, health benefits, paid sick leave, and worker safety [File: Emily Elconin/Reuters]

    Nine out of 10 Americans believe that the coronavirus pandemic presents an opportunity for companies and firms to hit the "reset" button and do right by their employees, clients, communities and the planet, a new report has revealed. 

    The poll titled Survey: What Americans Want from Corporate America During the Response, Reopening, and Reset Phases of the Coronavirus Crisis was conducted by JUST Capital in partnership with Harris Poll and spoke to 1,000 people. 

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    The majority of those polled said they think the world needs a more evolved form of capitalism. Only one-quarter of respondents said they believe the current form of capitalism ensures the greater good of society, and 29 percent said the current system produces the kind of society they want for the next generation or believe it works for the average American.

    Speaking to respondents on a bi-weekly basis, the survey found that Americans expected companies to prioritise the health and safety of workers, in addition to paid time off, flexible work arrangements, and hazard pay. They also believed that companies must do their utmost to avoid layoffs.

    Introduced back in March by JUST Capital, the COVID-19 Corporate Response Tracker looked at the COVID-19 response at 100 of the largest public employers. Since then, it has expanded the Tracker to include the nation's 300 largest public employers. 

    During the last few months, it found that 70 percent of public employers have provided flexible work and modified schedules and some 63 percent have announced implementing additional health measures to protect health and safety for workers. Only 26 percent of those surveyed, however, said that the companies have provided their workers with free protective gear. 

    The Tracker also found that some 31 percent of companies have expanded or are looking to expand their sick leave policy. More than one in 10 companies have increased hourly wage and implemented hazard pay for workers on the frontlines.

    The largest employers, however - Walmart, Kroger, Lowe's, and Costco - have already let those pay increases expire.

    When surveyed about the "Reopening" phase of the COVID-19 response, seven in 10 respondents said that CEO pay cuts is an important step in cutting company costs and, therefore, preventing layoffs. A Harris Poll revealed that 83 percent of Americans said their opinion of a company improves when top management forgoes salaries and bonuses.

    Americans prioritised healthcare above all other ways a company can help workers through the coronavirus crisis. In fact, healthcare ranked above severance pay, and payment for critical expenses. In the employer response to the crisis, respondents also ranked company transparency and communication as critical.

    Looking towards the future, and in the third phase of response to the crisis, participants ranked workers rights at the very top of the list.

    In the post-coronavirus era also known as the "Reset" phase in the report, it found that three out of four Americans said they would support workers having the right to engage in collective bargaining for salary increases, health benefits, paid sick leave, and worker safety.

    Furthermore, nine in 10 Americans said they wanted companies to hire back laid-off or furloughed employees rather than hire a new workforce. 

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera News