As reports emerge that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is delaying consideration of a COVID relief package until after the election, North Carolina workers from several key industries held a virtual press conference today to describe how the Republican-controlled Senate’s failure to pass a meaningful and comprehensive COVID-19 relief bill has affected them and their communities. The workers are calling on Thom Tillis to stop putting Mitch McConnell’s priorities, including ramming through a Supreme Court nomination, ahead of hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians who face unemployment, foreclosure and other serious economic consequences due to the COVID-19 crisis.
“I want our Senators to imagine what would happen if they suddenly could not pay for food and shelter for themselves and their families,” said President of CWA Local 3641 Zattier Marvin, an airline passenger service agent who has worked for American Airlines for 22 years. “What if their children couldn’t go to the doctor because their health insurance disappeared? What if someone told them they could have a job but they’d have to move 2,000 miles away and uproot their whole family in order to keep it? That’s what we are facing.”
“Since March, we’ve seen illness, lockdowns, and kids going to school at their kitchen tables. But many of us have survived because of the support provided in the CARES Act,” said Keedren Gantt, President of CWA Local 3640, a reservations agent at American Airlines. “When so many of us were on leave, Congress provided an expansion of unemployment insurance that allowed us to pay the rent, buy food, and keep the lights on in our homes, so we were okay. But that expansion of unemployment ran out weeks ago. New furloughs have begun and people have no idea where to turn to just survive the next weeks and months.”
"Thom Tillis and other elected officials were calling us essential back in March," said Uschi Woronin, a furloughed American Airlines flight attendant with five years of experience based in Thom Tillis’ hometown of Huntersville, North Carolina. "But if they were more honest about how they feel about us, a better word would have been 'expendable' or 'disposable' because that's how it feels we're being treated."
“We can't afford to wait while Thom Tillis plays politics with the Supreme Court. Lives are at stake," said John Motsinger, an unemployed stagehand with 14 years of experience in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. "
“As each day passes, the dire situation worsens for millions as bills for rent, car, mortgage and bill payments add up and these Republicans like McConnell and Tillis do nothing to help. Donald Trump and the GOP-controlled Senate have completely abandoned millions of families,” said CWA’s Senior Director for Government Affairs and Policy Shane Larson.
“Thom Tillis has made it clear that his allegiance to Mitch McConnell and the president trumps any allegiance he has to his constituents back home. That’s unforgivable,” said North Carolina State AFL-CIO President MaryBe McMillan. “Too many lives have been wrecked. Too many families are hurting. Too many businesses are struggling. It doesn’t have to be this way. NC workers need relief now. So what is Thom Tillis going to do about it? That’s the question North Carolinians are asking as we head into Election Day. It’s time to hold Thom Tillis accountable because NC workers deserve better.”