March 17, 2020
On behalf of more than 600,000 active and retired members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), I urge the Senate to swiftly pass the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, H.R. 6201. As the Machinists Union mobilizes to protect our members working on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, this legislation is an urgent step in getting necessary assistance to working people and their families as we all work to quell this crisis.
It is vitally important in this time of emergency that people are provided the tools needed to keep themselves and their communities healthy and safe. Currently, many Americans do not have the necessary sick leave to stay home and avoid risk to others in the event of an illness. Rightly, this legislation would mandate that workers who are sick or affected by quarantine orders receive up to 14 paid sick days followed by up to 12 weeks of paid leave for a COVID-related illness. The bill would also encourage people to seek testing for the virus if needed by making testing free of charge to most people with employer-based health insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid.
This public health crisis will also place serious financial challenges on working families across the country. While this legislation is not a complete response to these challenges, it takes a vital first step in bolstering Unemployment Insurance (UI) by providing additional funding for state UI programs. The legislation will also help improve access to food in this time of need by expanding the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Women, Infant and Children (WIC) program, and the school lunch program.
This package is by no means a complete response to the crisis, more will need to be done, but this legislation is an important step toward stamping out this crisis. I commend the U.S. House of Representatives for passing this legislation in an overwhelmingly bipartisan manner, and I urge you to swiftly pass the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, H.R. 6201.
For more information, please contact IAM Legislative Director Hasan Solomon at (301)967-4575 or email@example.com.
Robert Martinez, Jr.
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