By TIM ROWDEN
As Congress fumbled the latest version of a COVID-19 economic relief package, hundreds of thousands of laid-off hospitality and food service workers, who received their final check of $600/week in federal unemployment insurance on July 25, are struggling to put food on their tables.
While some parts of our economy may be re-opening, the hospitality industry remains largely shuttered, says D. Taylor, international president of UNITE HERE, which represents roughly 300,000 workers in the hotel, food service, laundry, warehouse, and casino gaming industries.
“Most of these workers don’t know when they’re going back to work, or if they’ll even have a job to return to,” Taylor said.
UNITE HERE has been demanding that Congress pass the HEROES Act to support working families, both in car caravans and with online and call-in political actions. In the meantime, hospitality workers need financial support now.
“By far, food assistance has been the most common need of workers during this health and economic crisis,” Taylor says. “Thanks to the past support of nearly 55,000 contributions, the UNITE HERE Education and Support Fund has extended a lifeline to tens of thousands of working families.
You can help by making a donation to the Support Fund at secure.actblue.com/donate/unite-here.
85 PERCENT OF LOCAL 74 MEMBERSHIP OUT OF WORK
In St. Louis, UNITE HERE Local 74 has more than 85 percent of its membership out of work, with few prospects that their jobs will return anytime soon. More than $56,000 has been raised by local donations to the UNITE HERE Education and Support Fund to help these local working families in need.
“We deeply appreciate the solidarity shown by our Brothers and Sisters,” said Local 74 President Kevin McNatt. “It’s been a true lifeline for our members. Every penny donated goes directly to our members and their families in need.”
DONATIONS HELPING WORKERS NATIONWIDE
Donations to the UNITE HERE Education and Support Fund have helped the families of hotel, food service, laundry, warehouse, and casino workers nationwide, but without the extra $600/week in unemployment assistance, the future looks dire.
- In Orlando, the Support Fund has distributed food to 650 families weekly since May.
- In Atlantic City, bi-weekly food distributions have supported over 13,500 families.
- In Las Vegas, the Helping Hand program has distributed 58,656 bags of groceries during the pandemic, each containing 40 lbs. of food designed to feed a family for 7-10 days.
“The financial support that allies have so generously extended has been vital in keeping food on the table for the hardest-hit working families,” Taylor said. “Without the extension of the extra $600/week, we’re now facing a food crisis of overwhelming proportions. And without a guaranteed political solution in sight, we must act now.”
Working families need your help now more than ever.
If you’re able, you can donate to the UNITE HERE Education and Support Fund at secure.actblue.com/donate/unite-here. Your contribution will go directly to helping working families in need.