Issued March 26, 2020
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - Service Employees International Union International President Mary Kay Henry released the following statement today on the third coronavirus response bill:
“This legislation is a good first step to address the twin economic and health challenges facing working people of all races and ethnicities in this national emergency. More money will go directly into people’s pockets and states will have additional resources as the response continues. Hospitals will also see more funding, including for personal protective equipment. However this is not a substitute for a robust, coordinated federal response by this administration to make sure our healthcare providers can safely take care of those who are sick.
“Healthcare providers are not our only frontline responders. The essential staff who clean airplanes, escort elderly and disabled passengers to their gates, and clean and secure our airports were some of the very first to encounter coronavirus. They stood together to make this a better bill and will benefit from the provisions they fought for. Thanks to them what started as a corporate bailout now includes $3 billion to save jobs for the 125,000 contracted airport workers on the frontlines of the COVID19 epidemic.
“But we still need to do more. Congress should immediately begin work on a new bill that ensures every working American has paid sick days, everyone can get coronavirus testing and treatment free of charge, no matter their immigration status, and working people continue to come before corporations. In particular, continuing to bar Dreamers, TPS-holders, and undocumented families from access to testing and medical services will have devastating public health consequences.
“Corporate leaders need to be responsible and act in the broader interest as well. The largest, wealthiest, and most powerful corporations and industries must show leadership by looking past their bottom lines to do what’s right for working people. Industries must act immediately to fill the gaps in this legislation to provide paid sick days and reimburse in full any wages lost by workers whose hours or jobs have been cut or cut back, including contracted and franchise employees.
“SEIU members, Fight for $15 and a Union leaders, and other working families from coast to coast will continue to hold both elected and corporate leaders accountable for protecting all workers, no matter what work they do, what color they are, where they are from or their immigration status.”