For immediate release
March 6, 2021
Union President: “We’re looking to the House to pass this swiftly so that essential aid and health care coverage can get to millions of workers who need it most.”
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, the union of hospitality workers, UNITE HERE, praised Senate Democrats for passing the $1.9 Trillion American Rescue Plan, including 100% funding for COBRA coverage for laid off workers. This legislation will change the lives of millions of workers by extending enhanced unemployment insurance, granting $1,400 stimulus checks, safeguarding workers’ hard-earned pensions, and providing essential health coverage to those who need it most.
UNITE HERE housekeepers, cooks, servers, and dishwashers—like millions of Americans—have endured a lot this last year, and having the security of health care coverage during the pandemic will give families much needed relief. The union is now calling on the House to follow the Senate’s lead without delay.
“We are glad that Senate Democrats recognized the needs of workers during this crisis and responded by passing legislation including 100% COBRA coverage so workers who have lost their jobs don’t also lose their health insurance in a pandemic,” said UNITE HERE International President D. Taylor. “Coming in around 1% of the total cost of this relief package, 100% COBRA to cover health care costs for millions of laid off Americans is not only essential, but doable.”
Hospitality workers have spent weeks phone banking and writing to their Congressional representatives, urging them to pass the American Rescue Plan. Workers are keeping that momentum going in this final stretch, urging the House to follow the Senate’s lead.
“This coverage would be a tremendous help for me and my 23-year-old daughter, Arlet, who was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in October,” said Xiadira Rubi, a 20-year chef at the Diplomat Beach Resort in Miami. “She requires $1,600 injections every month among other healthcare costs, but since I am relying on unemployment insurance to get by right now, I have not been able to afford her treatment since December. With this relief package passing the Senate, we are one step closer to all of this changing.”
Continuation coverage is critical to 13 million Americans who have lost health insurance as a result of being laid off during the pandemic. UNITE HERE hospitality workers faced 98% layoffs at the peak of the shutdowns and more than 75% are still unemployed today.
The deal reached by Senate Democrats fulfills a promise to the hard-working Americans who helped put them in power. During the presidential election, 1,700 laid-off hospitality workers knocked the doors of 3 million voters in four battleground states, making a critical difference in the results. Then UNITE HERE joined Stacey Abrams and others in Georgia to take back the Senate, knocking on over 1.5 million doors to win back our future.