As businesses continued to shut down throughout the region in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus, area political leaders took steps to ease the financial burden on local workers.
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced that utilities will not be allowed to cut off services, including phones, cable TV, gas or water, and evictions will not be allowed until the emergency is over. And though the Maryland General Assembly will shut down today, they’ll focus on their highest priorities: passing a state budget and coronavirus legislation to protect the jobs of people who are quarantined, as well as temporary unemployment benefits to people who lose pay because of the pandemic.
In the District of Columbia, the City Council was expected to pass legislation yesterday that expands the definition of unemployment to those temporarily unemployed because they’re quarantined, or if they cannot work because their employer stopped or reduced operations. The legislation also included funding for a Small Business Grant Program, a ban on price gouging and prohibitions on utility disconnections and evictions.
Meanwhile, in Congress, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which passed with bipartisan support in the House last weekend, had bogged down on its way to a vote in the Senate. The bill includes paid sick days, emergency paid family and medical leave. We’ve got a link at dclabor.org to the campaign to put pressure on the Senate to pass the bill immediately.
In today’s labor history, on this date in 1970, a strike against the Post Office – the first in nearly 200 years -- began in Brooklyn and Manhattan and spread to over 200,000 of the nation’s postal workers. Mail service was virtually paralyzed in several cities, and President Nixon declared a state of emergency. A settlement came after two weeks. You can hear more about this historic strike on the Labor History Today podcast; search for Union City Radio on your favorite podcast app.
Today’s labor quote is by Barack Obama, who, earlier this week, said:
“Not everybody can stay home, and we owe a big debt of gratitude to health professionals, transit and airport workers, first responders, and everyone keeping our communities going. Leaders have to step up to support people whose lives and livelihoods take a hit in the weeks ahead.”
Union City Radio is supported by our friends at Union Plus, which stands up for union members and their families. At unionplus.org you’ll useful links to coronavirus resources from the AFL-CIO, staying informed through the CDC, as well as lots of discounts for union members. Check it out at unionplus.org
Union City Radio is proud to be supported by UnionPlus, which has been working hard for union families since 1986.
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