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||Compromise reached in Congress
The labor movement won some of its big demands in Congress, which passed a law that gives most workers up to $1200, plus an extra $600 per week in unemployment benefits if you are laid off (this will last four months). But Donald Trump and the Republicans gave corporations huge bailouts too, and stopped us from making sure workers keep their health care during layoffs. We’ll have more information here soon.
||Congress debates a bill – our union fights to make sure workers get help
The US Congress is considering a new law that might help working families hurt by the coronavirus layoffs and cutbacks. The law passed the Senate yesterday, but the union is still fighting to make sure that the bill helps workers first. We want to make sure that workers can keep their health care secure, even if this crisis keeps going. We also want to make sure that if the government bails out corporations, that money has to go to workers and their families – not rich investors. Of course, Donald Trump has different ideas. Thanks to all the UNITE HERE members who called their congresspeople.
Senators Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris ask people to help UNITE HERE
Both senators sent messages out to their supporters urging them to support UNITE HERE by donating to the union’s relief funds, which are being used to help the hardest hit people in our industries.
PBS News Hour interviewed Local 2 member Larrilou Carumba
Larrilou told the nationwide news show about how hard it is living with the fear of coronavirus but also about not knowing when we might get back to work.
|March 25:||SF hires first hotels to help fight against coronavirus – Local 2 reaches agreement
The City and County of San Francisco has contracted with the first hotels to provide a safe place for vulnerable people during the coronavirus crisis. As part of the deal, Local 2 has reached an agreement with the Americania Hotel and the Good Hotel to make sure that workers can return to work in a safe environment. We expect many more hotels to follow. We will be reaching out to Local 2 members in the coming days to make sure they know about these opportunities, but if you have any questions, please call your union rep.
|San Francisco health care benefits secure until July 31
Members who get health care through the union’s San Francisco fund will have coverage extended through July 31, regardless of how many hours you work. If you were eligible any month between October 2019 and March 2020, you can receive coverage for March through July. If you work at the Giants’ Oracle Park, and you received health benefits in any two months during last year’s baseball season, you are also eligible. If you’re not enrolled in benefits right now, please call the Fund office at 415-777-3707. If you work somewhere that provides health coverage through a different plan (Marriott Marquis, Virgin, Via, etc.) call your union rep. Workers in the San Mateo fund also have coverage extended through July 31.
Chronicle covers SFO airport workers facing layoffs
The SF Chronicle ran a story about Local 2 and other union workers at the airport. They interviewed Pearl Li, who talked about how she has to buy her own masks from friends in China to feel safe working at Gate Gourmet. Airline kitchen workers continue to work during this pandemic, even though their employers – Gate Gourmet, Sky Chefs, and Flying Foods Group – don’t provide them with health care benefits they can afford. This makes it even harder to know if they have coronavirus or get the care they need, which is why kitchen employees leafleted their workplace today.
|March 22:||Local 2 is working to extend health care:
If you are in the San Mateo health fund (airport concession workers, San Mateo hotel workers), your coverage will continue at least through July 31 regardless of how many hours you work. The union is asking the San Francisco health fund to extend benefits too. Check back here for more information. If you are in a company plan or are uninsured, talk to your shop steward or union representative. Local 2 continues to fight to ensure that companies do their part to make sure that all workers are protected.
|March 21:||Congress gives more sick leave if you work for a small company and aren’t laid off:
Most union contracts already provide more paid time off than any law gives you, but UNITE HERE is fighting to change the laws during this crisis. Here is the latest law passed by Congress:
If your employer has less than 500 employees, a new law gives you an extra 80 hours paid sick leave between April 2 and December 31, but only if you are not laid off. Tell HR you are requesting time off under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act. You can take this paid time off before you take any other leave you’ve accumulated under your union contract.
Union supports using hotels to protect the vulnerable; urges officials to consult with workers
UNITE HERE, the union representing over 300,000 hospitality workers in the US and Canada, said today that while it endorses the judicious use of such facilities to protect the sick and vulnerable during this public health crisis, government officials must consult with worker representatives before hotels, conference centers, or stadiums are used for emergency operations. Click here for more information.
||“America’s cleaners: fighting on the coronavirus front line”: Reuters interviews Local 2 member
…“I’m more afraid about my bills than the coronavirus,” she said, adding that she would struggle to afford groceries, her car payments and insurance, and other outgoings. “Being a single mom, you live paycheck to paycheck.”… Click here for the whole article.
||“A torrent of job losses”: New York Times interviews Local 2 member
“…Mr. Javier had worked at the hotel about six years and earned $600 to $700 a week during the winter, typically a slow season. He said he and his co-workers got word of deep cuts two weeks ago, after which his hours were scaled back…” Click here for the whole article.