Weekly Update: Let us fight for equality
Dear friends and allies,
Our partners and allies are working tirelessly toward a #JustRecovery for all from COVID-19, and we continue to work alongside them to ensure that all workers are treated fairly. Whether it is an au pair working in your house providing child care, former Four Seasons workers laid-off without a severance package or communities of color at the risk of being evicted due to COVID-19, we must come together to recognize the weight of this pandemic on all our people, and create and execute solutions that truly help all of us. Remember, we are #InThisTogether.
This week, we are sharing details about our campaigns’ recent wins and our partners’ groundbreaking work. We hope that you will take action and stand in solidarity with the workers and families who are most at risk during this pandemic. You can help us promote these efforts to your network by sharing our Facebook posts and by following and retweeting us on Twitter. You can also receive regular updates from CLU by registering on our website.
REOPENING MASSACHUSETTS AND A JUST RECOVERY FROM COVID-19
Six Policy Proposals for Child Care Equity and a Just Recovery
Last week, in association with the Care That Works coalition, we released our report on the six steps the State should take to rebuild our child care system. The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the critical need for child care services. We must bail and build out our family child care businesses for working families. Read WBUR’s coverage of our report to learn more about the investments needed in our child care system.
Victory: Laid-off Four Season workers win a full severance package
In May 2020, nearly 200 Four Seasons workers received brief phone calls notifying them of their termination due to the pandemic. The notice they later received informed them that they were not allowed back onto the premises and that their severance was less than what was stated in the company handbook.
Forty-six of the fired Four Seasons workers reached out to UNITE HERE Local 26 and the Chinese Progressive Association for support. Shortly after, workers sent their response to the Four Seasons, along with their photos. In June 2020, the hotel reversed its controversial decision to not pay in full its employee’s severance package. Workers won up to 26 weeks of severance and medical benefits through the end of May.
We salute our partners, Chinese Progressive Alliance, and UNITE HERE Local 26 for engaging in this community-labor partnership to uplift workers’ rights. It is only through multiracial solidarity that we were, together, able to achieve this victory. Read Boston Herald’s interview with Karen Chen from the Chinese Progressive Association to learn more about the impact of such partnerships on our community.
Evictions in Boston: The Disproportionate Effects of Forced Moves on Communities of Color
City Life/Vida Urbana’s recent report on evictions shows the true picture of the housing crisis in Boston and how it disproportionately affects communities of color. It reveals that during the COVID-19 pandemic and before the evictions moratorium, more than 78% of all evictions filed in Boston were in census tracts where the majority of residents are people of color. Read the report to learn more about the housing crisis. You can also register to receive housing stability action alerts.
Tell the Senate: We Demand Racial and Economic Justice NOW. Pass the Bill Today.
Essential property service workers, such as janitors, residential staff, security officers, airport workers, warehouse, and laundry workers, each day are putting their health and well-being on the line to keep our communities safe, secure, and healthy.
That’s why we’re taking action. Together we’ve sent more than 100,000 emails to the U.S. House of Representatives, made thousands of phone calls, and held essential worker caravans in seven cities throughout the country. The House listened. The Heroes Act, passed by the House on May 15, would allow essential workers like us to receive up to $10,000 IN PREMIUM PAY for the dangers we are facing every day. Now we’re demanding the Republican-controlled Senate pass similar legislation to give essential workers what they deserve: at least $10K Premium Pay, layoff prevention, and PPE. Take action now.
MBTA Racial Justice & Police Brutality Petition
We continue to fight for racial justice and against police brutality. While we are grateful the MBTA has discontinued the practice of using MBTA buses to transport police officers (other than MBTA police) to and from demonstrations against systemic racism and police brutality, we know that there is much more work to do. Transit is a public good and necessity at all times. The T must remain a safe and reliable provider of access for all, whether through the course of a public health crisis or during lawful protests. Freedom of movement is a human right.
We are calling on MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak, MassDOT Secretary Stephanie Pollack, Fiscal and Management Control Board (FMCB) Chair Joe Aiello, and all FMCB members to commit to implementing the six actions to advance racial equity and police accountability within our transit system. Learn more about the actions here and sign our petition to advance racial equity and hold police accountable within the transit system.
PANDEMIC PROFITEER WATCH
Liberty Mutual’s Two-Faced Strategy in the COVID-19 Pandemic
In many industries, small businesses are going out of business because of social distancing requirements to protect public health. Insurance — paid for by owners with crisis protection in mind — could help them remain open. Liberty Mutual’s denial of their claims on the basis of the virus-exemption clause puts its own short-term financial interests first and threatens to worsen the long-term effects of the stay-at-home orders. United Policyholders, a non-profit advocating for insurance consumers, has called for insurance companies like Liberty Mutual to stop blanket denials of COVID-19-related claims.
Meanwhile, Liberty Mutual is angling for positive press attention following its donations to COVID-19 relief efforts, including $15 million in aid to Boston-based groups. But how much is that $15 million compared to what countless small businesses may be losing when Liberty Mutual denies their claims? This kind of opportunistic insurance practice is a serious threat to economic recovery as we continue to grapple with the pandemic. Small businesses and their owners deserve to be protected from business lost as a result of government-ordered shutdowns. Liberty Mutual’s behavior is a clear example of the need for greater consumer protection and public oversight over the insurance industry. Legislation was filed in Massachusetts that would limit insurers’ denials of business interruption claims. Find out more in our blog post.
Thank you for reading and have a safe weekend!
Community Labor United