Protecting workers is the only way forward. We are on the front lines of this outbreak. Late last night, the Senate unanimously 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.
The Labor Movement’s advocacy and mobilization of union members to call elected leaders 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, which 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. 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. The House should pass this bill and President Trump should sign it. Then Congress must immediately do much, much more.