Working People’s Demands in Response to Coronavirus
PRIORITIES OF THE LABOR MOVEMENT TO ADDRESS THE CORONAVIRUS:
PROTECT FRONT-LINE WORKERS
- Streamline approaches for allocating and distributing personal protective equipment to working people in greatest need.
- Issue a workplace safety standard to protect front-line workers and other at-risk workers from infectious diseases.
- Provide workplace controls, protocols, training and personal protective equipment.
- Provide clear, protective federal guidance for different groups of workers with different needs.
- Increase funding for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Mine Safety and Health Administration for additional inspectors and health specialists, and for developing and implementing an infectious disease standard.
MITIGATE THE BROADER PUBLIC HEALTH CRISIS
- Guarantee 14 days of paid sick leave for all working people.
- Provide federal resources and guidance to increase capacity of the health care system, including hospital beds.
- Use emergency federal authority to expand production of medical supplies and equipment.
- Increase capacity to provide testing for everyone, starting with a priority for front-line workers that includes health care workers, firefighters and paramedics.
- Provide testing, treatment and vaccination (once approved) at no cost.
- Remove barriers to testing, treatment and benefits for immigrant workers.
SUSTAIN PEOPLE THROUGH THE CRISIS
- Reimagine the unemployment insurance system by dramatically broadening eligibility and increasing both benefit levels and administrative funding.
- In addition to paid sick days, guarantee 12 weeks of paid leave.
- Provide relief for payment on rent, mortgages and student loans.
- Issue a moratorium on foreclosures, evictions and student loan defaults.
- Increase funding and remove restrictions on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), and the school lunch program.
SUSTAIN WORKERS IN SEVERELY AFFECTED SECTORS
- Severely impacted sectors include airlines, other transportation, construction, retail, manufacturing, entertainment and hospitality.
- The federal government should offer to assume payroll costs of idle or hibernating firms to ensure they stay in business and workers stay employed.
- Additional targeted assistance to private firms in particular sectors should be conditioned on providing paid sick days, with no layoffs, pay cuts, benefit cuts or reopening of union contracts, and including workers on corporate boards.
- Provide aid to workers’ pension funds comparable to the aid available to business.
- Provide funding for public transit and Amtrak to keep workers on the job, and financial relief and flexibility for the U.S. Postal Service.
SUSTAIN STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS
- Provide federal funding for the full cost of Medicaid for one year.
- Provide federal grants to state and local governments.
- Pass the Students in Response to Coronavirus Act (H.R. 6275).
- REBUILD THE ECONOMY AND PUT PEOPLE BACK TO WORK
- Reauthorize the Surface Transportation Act.
- Pass a $1 trillion infrastructure package.
- Pass the Protecting the Right to Organize Act and guarantee comparable rights and protections for public employees.