For immediate release
March 14, 2020
UNITE HERE President Blasts GOP Leader McCarthy, Business Leaders for Shafting Workers on Paid Sick Leave
Statement from UNITE HERE President D. Taylor on passage of H.R. 6201, Coronavirus Response Agreement
“On behalf of nearly 300,000 UNITE HERE members, I applaud Speaker Pelosi and the House Democrats for negotiating and passing this round of legislation to expand unemployment insurance, fund food access like WIC, require coverage of testing and care related to COVID-19, and increase funding for Medicaid. Swift and broad access to these programs is essential to address and prevent an economic and health care catastrophe among working people and the general public.
“At the same time, I am disgusted that Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, the US Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and a number of US business leaders actively worked to strip a real paid sick leave policy from this bill. During a health emergency such as this international pandemic, their actions are morally reprehensible and a national disgrace. No one should have to choose between paying the bills and their health.
“McCarthy, the Chamber, NAM and the 40 GOP members are playing politics at a time when there are literally life and death implications for people across the country. It’s time for them to move out of the way and do what’s right. It is ironic to note that Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), who decided to self-quarantine after coming in contact with the coronavirus, was himself out on on paid sick leave and wasn’t able to vote yesterday. If it is good enough for a member of Congress to miss work and get paid, you’d think it is good enough for every American worker to have the same benefit. These folks are foul hypocrites. We should already have a national policy on paid sick leave, and one must be included in the next House bill. The lives and livelihoods of millions of US workers depend on it.”
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.
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