Information Alert

2020, Latest News

By Joseph Smith

Protecting Our Nation’s Workers
Information on emergency legislative responses to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Our nation is facing an unprecedented crisis. As Congress debates measures to address the health and economic concerns that impact all of us, our union is working diligently to make sure we have a voice in that process. So far, two bills have passed through the House and Senate, and both are now signed into law.
Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act – This is an emergency spending bill that was signed into law March 6. It allocates $8.3 billion for help to fund vaccine development, treatment, and public health efforts. You can find a breakdown of where that money is going HERE.
Families First Coronavirus Response Act – This is a critical first step in making sure working people facing serious health and financial risks receive the assistance we need.
Provides for Free COVID-19 Testing – Private insurance companies and government programs like Medicaid/Medicare/TRICARE are now required to cover testing of COVID-19 with no cost and no cost-sharing, and reimburse labs for testing of the uninsured.
Implements Emergency Paid Sick Leave – Employers having less than 500 employees are now required to provide up to 80 hours of paid sick leave at the employee’s regular pay for quarantine, treatment or care of a family member related to the coronavirus.
Provides for Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion – This legislation ensures 12 weeks of protected job leave for workers to care for a child whose school or child care facility is closed as a result of the coronavirus.
Provides Additional Resources for Unemployment Insurance – An additional $1 billion in 2020 for emergency administration grants will be available to states for activities related to processing and paying unemployment insurance benefits.
A third measure to address the pandemic is being debated now. We hope to see more workers covered under paid sick time, and if bailouts to industries are being considered, there must be conditions attached such as ensuring the money doesn’t go to CEO pay or stock buybacks. We also are pushing for an OSHA standard to protect front-line workers and other provisions to protect our members.
Additional Union Resources
Our union has also put together some resources to help you stay safe and healthy. Find those HERE. You can also find USW coronavirus-related position statements on trade and health and safety. We will continue to get information to you as the situation changes, and please stand ready to act if needed to ensure these legislative measures have workers’ best interests front and center.
Stay safe, Steelworker siblings.

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