Unions representing players in top professional U.S. sports leagues have come out against a coronavirus "liability shield" that would protest businesses from lawsuits.
Senate Republicans are pressing for the protections for businesses, hospitals and other entities to be included in a new coronavirus relief package.
CNN reported Monday that a letter signed by the heads of players' associations representing pro basketball, football, hockey and baseball was sent to leaders of both parties in the House and Senate urging them against including liability shields for companies that ask their employees to return to work.
"We question whether any such type of special immunity is warranted at all, as there has been no showing that state laws are inadequate," reads the letter.
"There is still much that is unknown about this disease, how it spreads, and the long-term consequences of exposure. It makes little sense during these uncertain times to both ask employees to return to work and, at the same time, accept all the risk for doing so," it said.
"We understand there are no perfect solutions, at least not yet," it reportedly continues. "At the same time, we also recognize the importance for the country for many of us to return to work, and to find ways to return to the office, the factory, and arenas and stadiums. We do not believe, however, that the risk of doing so should be borne exclusively by employees."
The letter argues that employees should not bear the brunt of responsibility for safeguarding their health at work should their employers require them to continue working during the pandemic. Senate Republicans have argued that a provision shielding companies from lawsuits over employees or others exposed to coronavirus is a necessary part of any stimulus package to pass the chamber.
"Ultimately if we get a deal I'll be the one to put it on the floor in the Senate. I assure you it will have liability protection in it," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellFord to bolster electric vehicle production in multi-billion dollar push On The Money — GOP blocks spending bill to kick off chaotic week in congress Overnight Health Care — Presented by Alrtia — Booster shots get bipartisan rollout MORE (R-Ky.) told a Kentucky radio station last Friday.
"There was some rumor that they were prepared to negotiate it away. That's not going to happen," he added of White House negotiators.
Senate Republicans have debated the logistics and provisions for a second economic stimulus package in response to the growing coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. for weeks, with McConnell warning that as many as 15 to 20 Republican senators may vote against any package.
Democrats in both chambers have slammed Republicans for delays in passing a second stimulus package, while rejecting offers from the White House for short-term extensions to some programs.