March 19, 2020
Seattle Labor Leaders Call for COVID-19 Response That Puts Working People First
Unions outline recovery demands, including $1,500 per week income replacement
The Executive Board of the Martin Luther King County Labor Council (MLK Labor), which represents more than 150 unions, outlined a set of policy demands to be part of the economic response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The proposed policies are designed to prioritize the immediate needs of working people and people of color, who will be most severely hurt by the virus. The plan draws a sharp contrast to the response of the Trump administration, which seeks to bail out corporations and is covered in xenophobia and anti-Asian racism.
The demands are:
- $1,500 per household, per week income replacement for all, without barriers and regardless of citizenship
- Healthcare benefits extended through the crisis
- “Hero Pay” for frontline workers (i.e. grocery, janitorial, healthcare, public safety, etc)
- Emergency childcare assistance of $2,500 per family per month
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for all frontline workers (i.e. grocery, janitorial, healthcare, public safety, etc)
- Debt freeze for all mortgage, student loans, and car debt
- No evictions
- No utility shutoffs
- National paid sick leave
MLK Labor Executive Secretary-Treasurer Nicole Grant had the following statement on the Labor Council’s worker-centered response.
“The Trump administration and corporate America have failed working people. Years of putting profit before people’s health have left us completely unprepared for this pandemic. Now it’s time for a bold recovery plan that puts the needs of working people first. We need a bailout for workers, not CEOs.
“By providing each family, regardless of employment or citizenship status, a $1,500 per week income replacement check, we can ensure people can stay home from work and still make ends meet. This is a fair and equitable plan that puts money into the hands of those who need the most. Working people should not pay the price for a crisis they had no role in creating.
“Our plan couldn’t be more different than the racist rhetoric and corporate bailout plans being floated by the Trump administration. During an economic downturn, the working-class, especially workers of color, suffer the greatest cost. This is a time to lift people up and work to reduce inequities and we strongly encourage policymakers at all levels of government to adopt these proposals.”