For immediate release
October 2, 2020
No Emergency Funding for Employer Health Insurance Another Blow to Workers
NEW YORK—D. Taylor, International President of UNITE HERE, the hospitality union with over 95% of its members who currently are, or have been, unemployed as a result of the global coronavirus pandemic, released the following statement after the House voted to pass new pandemic legislation that leaves subsidies for COBRA health insurance extension on the cutting room floor.
“We are in a healthcare crisis yet millions are losing the one thing they need most right now: their health insurance. Health care and affordability are on the ballot, and the central issue for many Americans. That is why I am beside myself that COBRA language from the original HEROES bills passed in the Spring is now cut out of the latest House bill. While we support the effort to strengthen Medicaid and the exchanges and other elements, I find it unacceptable not to protect our members’ plans at the same time as the financial plight and well-being of workers has only become worse. Furthermore, we seem to be moving in the wrong direction – providing less support today than we did a few months ago, yet economic and health conditions are worse.
“Our opposition to this legislation is done reluctantly because we are doing everything in our power to elect a new Congress and new President to fix our health care and health insurance system once and for all. Right now, we have thousands of our members going door-to-door in Nevada, Arizona, Florida and other key states to take back 2020 from Trump and his GOP acolytes. I do praise those few Democrats who voted not to proceed, including Steven Horsford (D-NV).
“The finances of our membership are badly damaged by the economic impact of COVID-19 and the health of our workers is in jeopardy. Many of our members have fallen sick; many have died from the pandemic. And now, virtually none have health insurance. This legislation does not meet the moment in which our nation finds itself.”
UNITE HERE is a labor union with over 300,000 members working in the hotel, gaming, food service, manufacturing, textile, distribution, laundry, transportation, and airport industries in the U.S. and Canada.