Our members have endured so much during the COVID-19 pandemic; therefore, we are happy to highlight a major legislative victory for all essential workers.
As a result of the hard work of all our members who contacted their Senators, the recently passed American Rescue Plan Act (ARP) includes important benefits for UFCW members and all working people.
Most significant among these benefits is the opportunity for governors to use ARP funds to provide premium pay of up to $13.00/hour to essential workers in their state.
“With the American Rescue Plan, we now have an opportunity to call on state governors to use funds from the legislation to provide hazard pay to our members who have served on the frontlines of this crisis for the last year,” said Mark Federici, President of UFCW Local 400. “We will call on each and every governor in our jurisdiction, as well as the mayor of Washington, to implement hazard pay immediately.”
Cash, social safety net programs, paid leave, and assistance with childcare expenses are also part of the package, aimed at helping our members and others providing essential services throughout the COVID-19 emergency. Assistance with housing costs and utility bills are provided, as are educational and broadband resources for remote learning.
Also, the Plan includes a presumption that all COVID-19 cases are work-related, removing a hurdle many employers have put up against workers who have contracted the virus and struggled to obtain their hard-earned benefits and medical support.
What’s in the American Rescue Plan for UFCW Members:
- Relief Payments: Provides $1,400 per person for individuals making $75,000 or couples making $150,000.
- Child Tax Credit: Provides $3,000 a year for each child ages 6-17 and $3,600 a year for each child under the age of 6 (depending on household income).
- Childcare Assistance: Funding to provide childcare assistance to essential workers.
- COVID-19 Vaccine and Testing: Expanded coronavirus testing and contact tracing and funding for vaccine supply and distribution.
- Retirement Security: Funding to strengthen the entire pension system.
- Worker Safety: Provides $150 million for increased workplace protections, increased funding more money for enforcement through OSHA and establishes a presumption that a COVID-19 diagnosis is work-related.
- Paid leave: Includes tax incentives for employers to provide paid sick days and paid leave benefits for workers impacted by COVID-19.
- Premium Pay: Allows state and local governments to use their pandemic relief funds for hazard or premium pay for essential workers.
- Unemployment Benefits: Extends emergency unemployment benefits of $300 a week until September 6, 2021.
- Food and Nutrition: Provides a 15% increase in SNAP benefits for 2021 and more money for states to handle higher-than-normal demand.
- Misclassification: Cracks down on gig work, by requiring so-called “gig employers” to report taxes to the IRS on all earnings over $600.
If you have any questions about this monumental relief package, please do not hesitate to contact us.