Janitors And Cleaning Workers Ask For Protection Against The Coronavirus

New York – Workers affiliated with the 32BJ SEIU union, which includes janitors and cleaning employees for buildings, stadiums and schools, a large number of them Latino, have demanded that Congress consider them essential employees and include them in the protections of the next COVID-19 bill.

“Congress must do everything possible to protect essential workers so that they have full access to emergency aid such as layoff protection, infection prevention equipment and essential pay,” Kyle Bragg, president of 32BJ, which has lost 100 of its members to the coronavirus.

“32BJ members are united to demand that Congress take necessary measures and have sent 100,000 messages to its members in recent weeks,” he said at the conference, in which Democratic representatives Nydia Velázquez, from New York, and Donna participated. Shalala, from Florida, and Senator Ed Markey, from Massachusetts.

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The union, with more than 175,000 members in 11 states, recalled that “alarming” new data shows that African-Americans and Latinos are twice as likely to die from COVID-19 as white Americans.

He noted that the majority of workers performing essential services are immigrants and people of color who live in low-income neighborhoods and must travel to malls, airports, or wealthier neighborhoods to work, which puts them at risk for contagion by the virus. , as it happens to Hipólito Andón.

“I put my life at risk on the front line,” said the immigrant, the doorman of a building in downtown Manhattan.

“For this job to be worthwhile, I need a down payment and a constant supply of personal protective equipment. At the end of the day, I could be fired and then what would my family do? ”Said the worker during the conference.

Many of those workers have access to little or no protective equipment despite facing contagion in the course of work, 32BJ said.

Congresswoman Velázquez highlighted that these essential workers have put their own health at risk to carry out their jobs during the pandemic.

“Congress cannot leave them behind in future law packages. We must work to ensure that they receive an essential payment, reflecting the health risks and other challenges they face when working during a pandemic, “he said, assuring that” now is the key time to show solidarity. “

For her part, Congresswoman Shalala noted that as the number of COVID-19 deaths and cases continues to rise, “we must ensure that the next legislative package to be passed by the House protects property service workers.”

“These essential workers keep our nation functioning in our time of crisis,” he said.

Shalala headed a letter recently sent to Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi and to the Republican minority leader in that body, Kevin McCarthy, urging them to include protections for these workers in any future legislation in response to the pandemic.

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