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AFL-CIO to Congress: Pass this bill, then do much more

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 26, 2020) — AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka made the following statement Wednesday in response to a deal on the coronavirus response bill:

Make no mistake, working people and our allies took last week’s corporate grab bag and made substantial improvements.  We are thankful to Senator Schumer and Speaker Pelosi for their intense effort on behalf of working people.

This deal includes a number of things America’s workers must have immediately, including an expansion of the unemployment insurance program, increased funding for schools, hospitals and state and local governments and relief for the airline industry that protects worker rights. Given the urgency of the situation, Congress should pass this bill and President Trump should sign it today.

However, the package does not address critical aspects of the coronavirus crisis — issues that threaten the lives of working people and the integrity of our democracy.

The package fails to provide front line workers with the health and safety protections necessary to keep them from contracting COVID-19.  It includes no workplace standard, no increased funding for OSHA and not enough resources to frontline workers. And because of Senator McConnell’s obstruction, the deal is silent on the multiemployer pension crisis.

Though this bill is urgently needed, as the epidemic intensifies it will not be enough to keep our economy healthy and our people safe.  America’s working people, our businesses, and our state and local governments will have to have more support.  There must be another effort.

So our message to Congress is this: Pass this bill. Then do much more.

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