The HEROES Act, a COVID-19 relief bill, introduced by Congressional Democrats and passed by the House, would provide compensation and critical health and safety protections for workers. But Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans are likely to block it and not even put it up for a vote in the Senate.
“Speaker Pelosi and her leadership team listened to the concerns of working people, especially those who have been on the front lines of this crisis, and made protecting their health and providing fair compensation a focus of this legislation,” said CWA President Chris Shelton. “Donald Trump quickly declared he would veto the bill, alarmed that it closes loopholes that provide tax breaks to the super-rich. He needs to get his priorities straight and stop acting like the best way to recover from this pandemic is to pretend like it doesn’t exist.”
PREMIUM PAY FOR ESSENTIAL WORKERS
The wide-ranging act includes another round of stimulus payments as a successor to the cash injection measures from the CARES Act, provides premium pay for essential workers in a number of key sectors to fairly compensate them for the risks they have been taking, improves access to paid leave for millions of workers, includes new payments to individuals to offset lost pay, extends unemployment insurance and helps prevent foreclosures and evictions.
REQUIRES EMERGENCY TEMPORARY STANDARD
It requires the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to do something that should have been done at the outset of the pandemic if the Trump Administration really cared about workers: establish an Emergency Temporary Standard to protect those who have been on the front lines of this crisis, interacting with the public and risking exposure to the novel coronavirus every day. It also establishes funding and coordination to ensure that they have access to badly-needed personal protective equipment.
Finally, the bill establishes standards and funding to ensure that elections can be held safely, without jeopardizing the health of voters.