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Commentary
US Senate must join House and pass HEROES Act investments

From the Minneapolis Labor Review, July 24, 2020

By Chelsie Glaubitz Gabiou, President,
Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation

Collectively, the world is rethinking what we know about work and our economy. From the front lines to the unemployed, workers across this country are reeling. With this new reality, many of the labor movement’s top priorities are in the spotlight.

We are fighting to save lives. We are fighting to make sure every family is safe at home and at work. We are fighting for a collective voice. We are fighting for economic justice for all impacted by shutdowns, closures and layoffs. We are fighting for racial justice. And we are fighting for our very democracy.

As we work on a path towards recovery, we need to take a moment to recognize the sacrifices of both our essential workers and those who have lost their jobs.

Not all workers during this time of COVID-19 disruptions have had the privilege to sit safely at home working at their computer while still collecting their paycheck.

We are fighting to save lives. We are fighting to make sure every family is safe at home and at work. We are fighting for racial and economic justice.

Some workers’ jobs require they report to their jobsites everyday, potentially putting themselves — and their families — at risk of contracting COVID-19.

Other workers, meanwhile, received layoff notices back in March and still face months of unemployment.

We in the labor movement, together with our neighbors and our fellow working people, are the ones who are going to put this country back together.

While we come together locally to overcome these obstacles, the U.S. Senate must pass H.R. 6800 — the HEROES Act — to address some of our most pressing needs on the path to recovery.

The HEROES Act, which passed the U.S House May 20 by a vote of 208-199, is the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act.

This wide-ranging legislation would make investments in many critical ways to boost the nation’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, to support workers and families, and to stimulate the economy.

We need national investments in our state and local governments, our public schools and the U.S. Postal Service. These vital public services allow us to watch over each other and care for each other during this time and they are at a breaking point.

We need the federal agencies which are supposed to protect workers to do their job. They are failing to keep all workers safe and healthy on the job. The agencies designed to do this work are putting heroic front-line workers at risk every day.

The promise of safety in the workplace, a right which many workers have lost their lives for, is just not a reality today. When workers do try to advocate for themselves, they usually are led straight to a 1-800 number. Hotlines are not protection for workers.

We need investments in infrastructure. Investing in capital projects in our local communities will reinvigorate our local economies and provide safe, efficient public services.

Finally, we need economic security through unemployment insurance, retirement security and healthcare benefits for all. We need this economic security not just now, but as a critical piece of the brighter, more resilient future we envision.

Together we keep this nation running everyday. We must call for the Senate to pass the HEROES Act.

Chelsie Glaubitz Gabiou was re-elected December 11, 2019 to a second four-year term as president of the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation, AFL-CIO.

Contact MRLF president Chelsie Glaubitz Gabiou at 612-321-5670 or chelsie@minneapolisunions.org.

 



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