For immediate release
March 13, 2020
As frontline workers in the hospitality, food service and transportation industries, the 300,000 UNITE HERE members and the families they support will be among those most affected by the unprecedented and unexpected spread of the coronavirus. Already, workers are seeing their hours reduced or are facing layoffs in the face of decreased travel, cancelled meetings, university closures, and sporting events played without spectators. While the affected industries and corporations will rebound, this could be a catastrophic event for workers who are facing down an unexpected loss of their livelihoods.
Congress must act decisively and swiftly to protect and support the workers who make our economy work and make our country great. Our leadership has been aggressively lobbying Congress and state officials for action. We are also in close contact with employers to coordinate their plans to support our members. We recognize that the potential devastation to our industries will require a robust stimulus package for affected workers that includes:
- Paid sick leave
- Unemployment benefits
- Extended health care coverage
- Supplemental nutrition programs like WIC and food stamps
- Housing assistance packages
During this time of uncertainty, we must come together as a nation to ensure that all people are taken care of without distinction. Major industries have already approached Congress to receive federally-funded bailouts. It is only right, then, that our federal officials act to put workers and the general public on the same level as corporate interests.
UNITE HERE’s top priority is to ensure that our members are not left behind—that they are able to continue paying their bills, supporting their families, taking care of their health with continued benefits and paid sick time. We will continue to monitor developments in our industries and among our membership, and will continue to press for action until the needs of workers are met and the nation begins to recover from this national emergency.