Week Ending February 19, 2021

New Worker Friendly Bills to Watch and What You Can Do to Support Them

  • Fund the Front Lines Updates
    • American Rescue Plan Moves Toward the House Floor
    • Member Spotlight: Liz Sabin and Rachel Lamet
    • Call to Action – Call Your Representative to VOTE YES on the American Rescue Plan
  • New Bills in Congress 
    • Three bills were reintroduced recently that passed the House last year but were stonewalled in the Republican Senate
      • PRO Act Introduced; Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act Coming Soon
      • Pregnant Workers Fairness Act
      • Equality Act
    • U.S. Citizenship Act is a new bill

American Rescue Plan Moves Toward the House Floor

The full U.S. House of Representatives will vote on the American Rescue Plan the week of February 22, and the Senate will vote soon afterward. The $1.9 trillion package includes $350 billion in aid for states, counties, cities, and towns, in addition to funds for vaccines, schools, unemployment, nutrition and more as detailed here. We need your help to cross the finish line and secure this long-awaited relief.

Call Your U.S. Representative
at 1-855-329-5629 and say:

“More state and local aid is needed to beat this pandemic and get our economy back on track. I urge you to support the $1.9 billion American Rescue Plan. We can’t afford anything less.”

Member Spotlight – Liz Sabin and Rachel Lamet Urge Federal Aid for Child Care

The American Rescue Plan includes $39 billion in child care funds, needed aid for families and child care providers. Among those child care providers are Oregon AFSCME (Council 75) members Liz Sabin and Rachel Lamet. Sabin is a nurse who has struggled to find child care for her young children. “You can’t leave small children alone. That’s just not an option,” Sabin said.

Lamet runs a child care business out of her home and has faced rising costs for food and cleaning expenses, along with new regulations and a significant loss of business from the beginning of the pandemic. “I’m not making any money at all. I’m probably losing money,” she says. “I’m in my home and my husband pays the bills. That’s the only reason I’m still up and running.”

PRO Act and Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act

The Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act (H.R. 842) has been reintroduced in the House with 208 bipartisan co-sponsors. This labor reform bill will strengthen and extend private sector workers’ rights to organize and collectively bargain. We anticipate that the Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act that will allow public sector workers the ability to join or form a union will be introduced soon.

The Equality Act

The Equality Act (H.R. 5) amends the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex and LGBTQ status in public accommodations and federal programs. It explicitly declares that anti-LGBTQ discrimination is a form of sex discrimination in employment, education, housing, jury service and credit. The House could vote on the bill as early as next week. AFSCME supports H.R. 5, which would codify principles our union has bargained for—to be treated fairly regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (H.R. 1065) reintroduced to protect pregnant workers from being forced out of their jobs or denied reasonable accommodations to continue working while maintaining healthy pregnancies. AFSCME supports passing these needed protections.

U.S. Citizenship Act

The U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 was introduced in the House and Senate with the support of the Biden administration to create an eight-year pathway to citizenship for the nearly 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States. The current immigration system is broken and AFSCME supports a comprehensive fix.

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