Walker County workers need HEROES now

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to upend working families’ lives and our economy. 

For too many of us still working on the front lines of this pandemic, simply going to work could mean getting sick, losing time, or even losing our lives. Millions of workers are now unemployed as this pandemic has ripped across our country. Even those at work have reduced hours due to temporary shutdowns. Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz must act with urgency to pass the HEROES Act, which will put our country on the path to recovery.

The HEROES Act is the road map to rebuilding America and saving working families.

We need to keep all workers safe and healthy on the job by demanding that government agencies charged with keeping us safe at work do their job and function properly. As front-line workers heroically put themselves and their health at risk every single day, we will stand up and say with conviction that workers are essential, not expendable.

Every worker would rather earn a paycheck than receive an unemployment check. We must ensure that working people are kept on the payrolls for the duration of this crisis, and we demand that the government protect our earned pension benefits.

While this pandemic continues to unfold, our vital public services are being stretched to the breaking point. Congress needs to invest in our state and local governments, our public schools and the U.S. Postal Service.

America is going through a health crisis, yet the first thing millions of people are losing is their health insurance. We cannot have a healthy economy without a healthy workforce. We need to expand health care coverage by stressing the need to make COBRA benefits available and affordable for all workers who are now out of work.

With the highest number of unemployed Americans since the Great Depression, we need to provide good jobs for all workers. This is a wake-up call to make long-overdue investments in a key pillar of the economy: our infrastructure. There is no better time than now to reinvest in the vital infrastructure we need to protect our country and boost the creation of good jobs.

It’s been more than two months now since the US House of Representatives passed the HEROES Act. Since the Senate left for a vacation over two weeks ago, COVID-19 cases have exploded. The HEROES Act has been sitting on Mitch McConnell’s desk since May 15 -- and has gotten only more important in the two months since. After the House passed it, he told us to “pause” and see if more coronavirus relief is necessary. It is.

Now McConnell wants us to wait even longer as he scrambles to draft his own legislative proposal, in which he cares only about shielding big business from liability if they put workers’ health at risk.

With over 140,000 Americans dead and unemployment at Depression-era levels, coddling big businesses will not save lives or livelihoods.

The HEROES Act deserves a vote—now.

We demand that John Cornyn, Ted Cruz and the rest of our elected leaders in the US Senate step up during this time of unprecedented challenge.

Workers built America. We keep this nation running every day, and we will rebuild America’s prosperity. Now we must stand up and demand action from our government; we must call for the Senate to pass the HEROES Act.

Lacy Wolf is the president of The Texas Gulf Coast Area Labor Federation.