AFL-CIO Government Affairs Director, Bill Samuel spoke with America’s Work Force Radio Podcast on June 25 about the HEROES Act.
Samuel spoke about the HEROES Act and how it could be the strongest relief bill yet. The bill was passed in the House but is awaiting Senate approval. Samuel explained that without the bill being passed, there are no updated Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards, no new COVID-19 relief legislation for companies, shortness of personal protective equipment and no new stimulus. With the uncertainty of what might come next as the pandemic continues, he stressed that the HEROES Act needs to be passed to ensure companies, workers and the economy are protected should the pandemic shut everything down again. Samuel then spoke about protecting the United States Postal Service (USPS). He said the USPS needs more government funding in order to stay operational. Lastly, Samuel spoke about the importance of investing in infrastructure.
American Federation of Musicians, Local 4 President, Len DiCosimo spoke about how union musicians have fared during the COVID-19 pandemic. He said when the shutdowns first started, the American Federation of Musicians participated in virtual concert series. DiCosimo then spoke about venues across the United States where union musicians would play at and the impact it will have on the industry with them not being able to open. Due to new social distancing restrictions, concert halls and other major music venues will not be able to hold any crowds, eliminating performances. The musicians rely on drawing a crowd to get paid. If there can’t be a crowd, the musicians won’t play. Finally, DiCosimo said that major music venues across the country are collectively bargaining for new contracts with the union musicians for when they are able to play in front of crowds again.