Durbin, Duckworth Discuss COVID-19 Relief And Labor Protections With Illinois AFL-CIO

SPRINGFIELD – U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) discussed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic with Tim Drea, President of the Illinois AFL-CIO, and the Illinois AFL-CIO executive committee.  On a call with the Illinois AFL-CIO, Durbin and Duckworth shared their priorities for the next COVID-19 relief package, including federal assistance for COBRA health coverage, strengthening unemployment insurance, and providing state and local governments financial assistance for lost revenue. Durbin and Duckworth also discussed support for several labor priorities going forward, including implementation of an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Emergency Temporary Standard that would require all workplaces to implement comprehensive infectious disease control plans, hazard pay for essential front line workers, and expanded paid leave for all workers.

“We know countless Illinoisans have lost their jobs, or may lose them in the coming weeks.  As we address the serious health and economic consequences of this pandemic, I will push for commonsense measures like federal assistance for COBRA so laid off workers can continue to afford their health insurance during this national public health crisis. It’s also imperative that we recognize the incredible sacrifices our front line workers are making every day by providing additional relief for working families, such as increased paid leave, hazard pay, and improved workplace safety standards that can help protect workers,” Durbin said.

“I’m grateful for our nation’s healthcare workers and first responders who are on the frontlines, risking their lives every day to keep the rest of us safe, and for our janitors working in our hospitals, our cashiers pulling double-shifts at our grocery stores and every other essential employee doing the work that’s keeping our country running in the midst of a deadly pandemic,” Duckworth said. “I’ll keep working with Senator Durbin to make sure these workers have the equipment they need to protect themselves while on the job, while supporting wise investments that help small businesses stay afloat, prevent hospitals from laying off medical personnel, provide food to hungry families and ensure laid off workers continue to have health coverage and unemployment insurance.”