The days of COVID-19 continue on, and as we join together (through social distancing) to fight this, the strength and support of our union members continues to grow.
A lot has been happening federally and locally to cope with this pandemic. On the federal level,
Here is what we know:
· Protecting workers is the only way forward. We are on the frontlines of this outbreak.
· Congress passed a $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief package. On its own, this bill will not be enough to revitalize our economy and keep people safe as the pandemic expands, but it is a step in the right direction. Congress will still need to act to protect workers.
· Through strong workplace protections and safety measures, we can continue doing our job and keep the rest of us healthy.
So far, the wins for workers in the deal include the following:
· We significantly improved this legislation in favor of working families compared to what Senator Mitch McConnell introduced late last week. All Senate Democrats stayed united in lockstep with us and rejected McConnell’s disgraceful bill on Monday.
· Senator McConnell’s bill was nothing more than a corporate power grab and giveaway to lobbyists and CEOs. It offered insufficient unemployment insurance, failed to expand emergency paid sick leave and required no accountability for bailed-out businesses.
· Thanks in large part to Senator Schumer and Speaker Pelosi, this bipartisan deal now allocates $150 billion for state and local governments and $130 billion for hospitals, who are competing for personal protective equipment for frontline workers, ventilators for patients, and other resources in short supply.
· The final agreement also creates a much-improved package to ensure airline workers stay on the job.
What workers still need from Congress:
· While this deal is certainly a step in the right direction, this is not the bill our unions and workers would have written. It fails to guarantee 14 paid sick days for all workers and does too little to protect worker health and safety.
· Congress must immediately do much, much more.
You can read a simplified break-down of the bill and what it does by clicking here: Coronavirus CARES Act Break down.
With that being said, there is still much to learn and much to do to protect workers and their rights; so,
Here are a few more resources that you can send out to your members that can help walk members through support during the hardships they may endure.
- Paycheck Booklet: When the Paycheck Stops: An AFL-CIO Survival Guide to Unemployment
- Union Plus Benefits
- State-by-state links to UI and other COVID-19-related assistance
- AFL-CIO COVID-19 Resource Page (Including sector specific information)
Please stay up-to-date with closings and other resources, such as unemployment insurance, etc. via government websites and/or signing up for department specific alerts, as they have the most accurate and timely information. You may find the following resources useful:
1. Virginia Department of Health: http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/
2. Virginia Employment Commission: http://www.vec.virginia.gov/
3. Virginia Retirement System: https://www.varetire.org/
4. Department of Labor and Industry: https://www.doli.virginia.gov/vosh-programs/coronavirus-covid-19-resources/
5. Virginia Department of Education: http://www.doe.virginia.gov/
6. Virginia Department of Veteran Services: https://www.dvs.virginia.gov/benefits
In other news:
IBEW 666 has taken a step to help combat COVID-19 and partnered with the Red Cross, as one of the few places that can hold a blood drive with the appropriate social distancing precautions. They will be hosting a blood drive on Thursday, April 9th, between 1 PM and 7 PM, and are short on the number of appointments needing to be filled. If you would like to participate, please e-mail Charles Skelly: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Should you have any further questions or need information or assistance with anything, do not hesitate to reach out. Thank you for keeping up the fight for workers and their rights, stay safe, and have a wonderful week!