Working people at the forefront of the growing national health crisis launched Protect All Workers, a set of comprehensive health, safety and economic demands for the aviation, healthcare, fast food and other industries.
During a press call, SEIU members and Fight for $15 and a Union leaders, along with SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry, shared these demands: Fully-funded and accessible healthcare for every worker in America, including paid leave and 100%-paid testing and treatment for COVID-19; job, wage, and economic security for every worker; an immediate investment in the health and safety of every worker; and putting working families at the center of every emergency relief package. They also shared plans to mobilize thousands of working people to pressure corporate leaders and elected officials to protect all working families during the global pandemic and economic crisis.
“Whether it’s caring for the sick, cleaning airplanes and other facilities, securing buildings or serving customers, we’re all impacted, and exposed to this crisis. That’s why the demand to Protect All Workers is the immediate solution,” said Val Pappas-Brown, an adjunct professor at the Community College of Baltimore County in Maryland.
“Times of national emergency require us all to move beyond business as usual,” said Henry. “The responsibility for our national response at this moment should not fall solely on the shoulders of taxpayers and government. We demand that the largest, wealthiest and most powerful corporations and industries show leadership by looking past their bottom lines to ensure the health, safety and financial security of all workers.”
SEIU and Fight for $15 and a Union members also shared how COVID-19 pandemic has impacted their work and personal lives.
“Taking an unpaid sick day, paying for medical treatment, or even covering my monthly bills, with the little I get paid is simply impossible,” said Maurilia Arellanes, a San Jose, Calif. McDonald’s worker. “Workers like me were living on the brink before this crisis thanks to corporations like McDonald’s that keep our wages down and don’t provide healthcare. Now, we’re losing hours and being pushed over the edge.”
“We have sick days and health care here at LAX because we fought for it in our union,” said airport wheelchair attendant and USWW member Tim Maddox. “Most airport workers don’t even have the benefits we won through our union. That’s why we’re calling for airlines to provide layoff protection, paid sick days, and health care to every single airport worker in the heart of this crisis. That includes contracted airport workers like wheelchair attendants, cabin cleaners, and baggage handlers. We are the ones who make the airports run and we are putting our health and livelihood on the line.”
“It’s not safe out there. Healthcare workers are getting exposed and then have to go back home to their family members, some of whom may be vulnerable populations, exposing them as well. The state and agencies need to provide the necessary protective supplies and give us clear guidelines on protecting ourselves from COVID-19 on the job now,” said SEIU Healthcare Minnesota member Francis Hall.
To sign on to SEIU’s Protect All Workers demands, please visit https://protectallworkers.org/