AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka talks about the coronavirus’s impact on American workers
C-SPAN, March 19, 2020
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka talks about the coronavirus’s impact on American workers & what he expects ahead. He talks about the U.S. economy more widely as well, labor’s relationship with Congress & the Administration, & presidential politics.
AFL-CIO President Trumka on our response to the Coronavirus (Audio only)
Bloomberg Radio, March 20, 2020
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka was on BloombergRadio discussing our response to the coronavirus and our demands moving forward.
Unions Mobilize to Press for Worker Focus in Virus-Relief Bill
Bloomberg Law, By Andrew Wallender and Louis C. LaBrecque
March 20, 2020
Labor leaders said Senate Republicans’ $1.3 trillion stimulus package to aid businesses reeling from the coronavirus pandemic would face heavy opposition from unions because there’s no guarantee money would flow to workers. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, head of the country’s largest federation of labor unions, called the proposal “an utter disgrace.”
As economic tsunami grows, Senate coronavirus plan comes under fire from all sides
The Washington Post, By Erica Werner and Jeff Stein, March 20, 2020
Organized labor leaders slammed the legislation. “The Senate GOP package is an utter disgrace,” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said via Twitter. “It gives free money to corporations, ignores the health crisis and does nothing to keep people working or help the unemployed. The labor movement will oppose this Main St bailout of Wall St with everything we have.” The debate over the legislation comes as the impacts of the coronavirus on the U.S. economy and American life cascaded in nearly unimaginable speed.
AFL-CIO Calls On Federal Government To Protect Entertainment Industry Workers
Deadline, By David Robb, March 20, 2020
With hundreds of thousands of entertainment industry workers suddenly unemployed by the coronavirus shutdown, unions and guilds affiliated with the AFL-CIO’s Department for Professional Employees are calling on President Trump, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and Congress to quickly pass emergency relief legislation to enhance and expand state unemployment benefits and send direct cash to the impacted workers they represent. “Arts, entertainment, and media workers have been hit hard by this public health and economic crisis,” said DPE President Jennifer Dorning.
SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Details Union’s Coronavirus Response
Variety; By Dave McNary; March 21, 2020
SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris has issued a video detailing the union’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. “Make no mistake: We are in this together,” she said. “I want you to know that we, SAG-AFTRA, are responding to this and taking action in real time, and I mean that’s morning and night and into the wee hours.”
‘At War With No Ammo’: Doctors Say Shortage of Protective Gear Is Dire
With coronavirus cases soaring, doctors, nurses and other front-line medical workers across the United States are confronting a dire shortage of masks, surgical gowns and eye gear to protect them from the virus.
Some bosses requiring presence despite coronavirus, workers say
The Columbus Dispatch; By Mark Williams; March 20, 2020
Workers expected to show up at the office, the factory floor or the store during the coronavirus pandemic are getting worried that they could get sick or spread the virus to others if they already have COVID-19. Some employees say they could do their job from home but are still being expected to report to their workplace as if things were normal.
The Delivery Workers Who Risk Their Health to Bring You Food
The New York Times; By Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura and Jeffrey E. Singer; March 19, 2020
As New Yorkers barricade themselves in their homes to practice “social distancing,” delivery workers, typically an overlooked group, have now taken on outsized significance and are on the front lines of the outbreak.
Last Week One Paramedic Was Infected. Now Over 150 Are in Quarantine.
The New York Times; By Ali Watkins; March 20, 2020
It began last week when an Emergency Medical Services worker contracted the coronavirus from his girlfriend. Three days later, more than 20 of these workers, who form part of the New York City Fire Department, were in isolation for potential exposure to the virus, either through their colleagues, patients or off-duty contacts. The speed with which the coronavirus has affected the department’s ranks has rattled New York City’s ambulance crews at a time when these workers may be pivotal in managing a surge of patients with the illness.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker to issue order requiring residents ‘shelter in place’ starting Saturday, sources say
Chicago Tribune; By Dan Petrella, Gregory Pratt, Stacy St. Clair, Jamie Munks and John Byrne; March 20, 2020
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker plans to issue a “shelter-in-place” order for the entire state starting Saturday, essentially commanding residents to stay in their homes as the officials take drastic measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus, sources told the Tribune. Pritzker is expected to announce the directive at a 3 p.m. Friday news conference along with Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot. Details are still being worked out, sources said.
Airline Union Leader: ‘The Casualties Are Starting To Pile Up’
HuffPost; By Alexander C. Kaufman and Dave Jamieson; March 20, 2020
The airline layoffs that began this week will snowball and cripple the industry’s ability to recover once the novel coronavirus pandemic is contained unless federal lawmakers act swiftly to prop up payrolls, the leader of the nation’s top flight attendants union said Friday. “The casualties are starting to pile up,” Sara Nelson, the powerful leader of the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA-CWA), told HuffPost by phone Friday. “We’re just working as fast as we can to keep as many people strong.”
1,200 Airport Workers in N.Y.C. Area Abruptly Laid Off With No Severance
The New York Times; By Patrick McGeehan; March 21, 2020
More than 1,200 of these laid-off workers were employed in restaurants and stores operated by OTG at La Guardia, Kennedy International and Newark Liberty International airports, according to the union that represents them, Unite Here Local 100. OTG said the closings and layoffs were necessary because of the travel restrictions that had virtually grounded airlines. One of its senior executives is Lawrence Schwartz, a close ally of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.
Total Cost of Her COVID-19 Treatment: $34,927.43
Time; By Abigail Abrams; March 19, 2020
Like 27 million other Americans, Askini was uninsured when she first entered the hospital. She and her husband had been planning to move to Washington, D.C. this month so she could take a new job, but she hadn’t started yet. Now that those plans are on hold, Askini applied for Medicaid and is hoping the program will retroactively cover her bills. If not, she’ll be on the hook.
Under the Virus’s Cloak, Trump Pursues Long-Sought Policies
The New York Times; By By Zolan Kanno-Youngs and Annie Karni; March 20, 2020
From border controls to anti-union efforts, the Trump administration is using the coronavirus to seek policies that the president wanted before the pandemic.
LABOR AND ECONOMY
'An Utter Disgrace': GOP Stimulus Plan Would Cut Taxes for Corporations While Denying Benefits to Poorest
Common Dream; By Jake Johnson; March 20, 2020
"Heartless," "cruel," and "appalling" were just some of the adjectives progressive critics and analysts used late Thursday to describe the Senate GOP's newly unveiled trillion-dollar economic stimulus package which—by design—would completely deny direct cash payments to the poorest Americans while cutting taxes for corporations, dishing out tens of billions in bailout funds to major industries, and restricting paid leave benefits that were just signed into law this week.
A Torrent of Job Losses Threatens to Overwhelm the U.S. Economy
The New York Times; By Patricia Cohen; March 19, 2020
In an early sign of the coronavirus pandemic’s devastating impact on American workers, the Labor Department on Thursday reported a 30 percent increase in unemployment claims last week, one of the largest spikes on record.
Trump Administration Asks States to Keep Quiet About Jobless Figures
The Wall Street Journal; By Sarah Chaney; March 19, 2020
The Trump administration asked states to abstain from releasing unemployment-claims figures prior to the publication of a national compilation of weekly U.S. jobless claims, according to a state labor department official.
Coronavirus and Poverty: A Mother Skips Meals So Her Children Can Eat
The New York Times; By Manny Fernandez; March 20, 2020
The power of the coronavirus to produce upheaval in people’s lives depends in part on income. Americans with fewer financial resources have fewer options as they navigate the new normal of school closings, shuttered businesses and shelter-in-place orders.
Broadway League and Unions Reach Tentative Agreement as Coronavirus Pandemic Keeps Broadway Dark
Playbill; By Ryan Mcphee; March 20, 2020
The Broadway League and the Coalition of Broadway Unions and Guilds—a collective of several unions representing employees of Broadway productions—have reached an agreement that will provide emergency funds and protections for its workers impacted by the coronavirus crisis.
Unionized Stop & Shop workers get raises, more paid sick leave amid coronavirus crisis
NJ.com; By Rebecca Panico; March 21, 2020
Certain unionized employees at Stop & Shop and Peapod in New Jersey are getting a 10% pay increase and two additional weeks of paid sick leave during the coronavirus crisis. The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) labor union, which represents employees in industries such as grocery and retail, announced on Saturday that the agreement was reached with Stop & Shop. The union said the deal will affect 70,000 workers across New England, New York and New Jersey.
IN THE STATES
Pennsylvania AFL-CIO Calls on Legislature to Expand Unemployment Compensation
WFMZ News 69; By Pennsylvania AFL-CIO; March 20, 2020
How Trump’s Attacks on the Fed Have Made Its Job Harder
The New York Times; By Jeanna Smialek, Jim Tankersley and Alan Rappeport; March 19, 2020
President Trump has spent two years publicly attacking the Federal Reserve and undercutting its chair, Jerome H. Powell. That animosity is making it difficult for Washington to project a united front as it stares down the most significant economic threat since the Great Recession.
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