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Leaders Of Major U.S. Unions Praise Senate Democrats For Blocking ‘Corporate Power Grab’

Published Wednesday, March 25, 2020
by Steve Wishnia/
Leaders Of Major U.S. Unions Praise Senate Democrats For Blocking ‘Corporate Power Grab’

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - Leaders of major U.S. Unions are praising Senate Democrats for initially blocking a $1.8 trillion Economic Stimulus Package, calling it a “corporate power grab” that would have done little to help Workers laid off during the COVID-19 Coronavirus Epidemic.

“This is not a moment for corporate power grabs or crony capitalism,” National AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said in a statement praising Sen. Charles Schumer (Democrat-New York) and the 46 other Democrats who voted against a procedural measure to advance the Bill.

“Now it is time for the Senate to bring forward a better deal that addresses the public health crisis, keeps Workers on the job, creates a real safety net for the unemployed, and prohibits companies from using government assistance to lay us off, cut our benefits, or enrich themselves,” Trumka said. 

“Airline Employees and Fast Food Workers are already feeling the sting of layoffs, while Security Officers fear they will be next,” Service Employees International Union (SEIU) President Mary Kay Henry said.

“It was unconscionable for Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans to think they could prop up multi-billion-dollar companies while telling millions of struggling Americans that they were on their own.  Senate Democrats did the right thing by standing up to McConnell, President Trump and every other elected official who turned their back on Working People,” she said.

With Democrats filibustering the Bill, a cloture vote failed by a 47-47 party-line vote, well short of the 60 votes needed.

Republicans argued that it was necessary to pump money into the economy - immediately

Democrats objected to numerous provisions in the GOP-sponsored Bill, particularly a $425 billion loan program they said had no way to ensure that companies didn’t dump Workers after taking the money.

The loans would be disbursed by the Treasury Department and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin would not have to reveal who the recipients were for six months.

The measure also would have given $1,200 to adults making less than $75,000 a year and $500 each to their children.

It would have extended Unemployment Benefits for 13 weeks, one month less than Democrats wanted.

It included $58 billion in grants and loans to airlines and freight carriers, but did not contain provisions to protect laid-off Airport Workers who had been employed by contractors instead of directly by the airlines - almost one-third of the airport workforce.

“You know the old saying: half a loaf is better than none,” Sen. Doug Jones (Democrat-Alabama) posted on Twitter. “But the vote today was not even 1/2 a loaf for hospitals, city & county gov’ts, small businesses & working folks, who would have got just a couple of slices while most of the bread goes to bailouts. That is why I voted NO!”

Several other Unions had also urged a no vote.

“We have to reject the Trump-Mnuchin ‘power grab and defend’ Workers,” the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees told its Members.

Communications Workers of America (CWA) President Chris Shelton called it “a monumental failure by a shameless group of privileged politicians who have no idea what Working People are going through in this moment of national, international and human crisis.” 

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