March 19, 2020
WHEREAS, the COVID-19 pandemic threatens the well-being of working people across the world. As the epicenter of the outbreak in the United States, King County, will be hit especially hard. In the US the predicted death toll will exceed 2 million without the implementation of social distancing and other policies that strongly slow transmission of the disease. It is crucial that people follow public health protocol which calls on most to stay at home. This extremely disruptive situation will lead to hundreds of thousands of workers in King County losing all or part of their household income. And
WHEREAS, during an economic downturn, people of color especially and workers, in general, have historically suffered the greatest cost. The response of policy-makers has focused on bailing out businesses and shareholders, with little concern for working people and union members. Benefits like unemployment insurance often exclude people of color because their work does not qualify, and
WHEREAS, the working class is on the front lines of the response to COVID-19. Health care workers and first responders are risking their lives to care for the sick. Janitors are responsible for cleaning public spaces that could be contaminated with the virus. Retail and grocery workers interact with hundreds of strangers daily in order to get people what they need to survive. And many other essential workers who have no option to work from home continue to serve our community despite the risk to their health. And
WHEREAS, King County is one of the most expensive places to live in the world. Many working families cannot afford to miss a single paycheck due to the high cost of housing, child care, and other expenses. According to a study done by the University of Washington in collaboration with the King County Workforce Development Council, a family of four needs $1,657/week ($86,193 annually) to survive in King County.1 According to the US Census Bureau, the 2018 Seattle Area Median Income was $1,645/week ($85,562 annually)2. In order to prevent societal and economic collapse, income replacement commensurate with families actual expenses will be necessary.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the MLK Labor work with the labor community to advocate for a bold economic response to the impact of COVID-19 that prioritized the needs of working people, including:
- $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
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that MLK Labor continue engaging with individual unions to determine additional measures to protect workers in their industry and advocate on their behalf.