March 24, 2020
The Honorable Charles E. Schumer
322 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Dear Senator Schumer,
We are living through unprecedented times. In Workers United’s 100 years of service to our more than 10,000 members and retirees in Upstate New York, no single event or moment has been this disruptive, this fast, without warning. Millions of jobs are at risk nationally. As of today, thousands Workers United members in Upstate New York are out of work. We are planning for 75-80 percent of our members to be out of work by the end of the month in New York.
Capitol Hill is not working for workers. We need money in the hands of workers, not no strings attached slush funds for corporations.
Congress must act, NOW. We demand sweeping solutions from the federal government to protect health, wellbeing and livelihood.
- To remedy the loss of business and the subsequent layoffs, we are urging the federal government to guarantee 100% wages to our workers. Our members in the hospitality industry need the federal government to guarantee pandemic pay: 100 percent of wages paid during layoffs. Pandemic pay helps dull the public health crisis by allowing workers to stay home, and avoid as much person-to-person interaction as possible. Any economic stimulus package must direct wages to workers who are laid off to keep money circulating the American economy.
- Healthcare: Fully funded and accessible healthcare for every worker in America, including 12 weeks’ paid leave and 100 percent-paid testing and treatment for COVID-19.
Rapidly deployable financial support from the federal government to workers is essential so our members’ lives are stable until they can return to work. Avoiding evictions, utility cut-offs, and other dire realities this crisis has created is essential. I implore you to support this measure of save the livelihoods of our workers.
These emergency measures should vector into a new social compact. The COVID-19 pandemic only underscores the needs of workers; those needs have always been there. Too many working families stricken with health problems or loss of income live without a stable social safety net. There should be medical care for all in a single payer system not just for COVID-19, but for all health conditions. And there should be income support for workers who lose their jobs regardless of their employment sector.
I would be happy to meet virtually with you or your staff to share our reality. Thank you for your attention.
Gary Bonadonna Jr.
Link to PDF of letter.