As Unemployment Numbers Skyrocket, Community Change Action Urges Government To Ensure All Workers Remain On Payrolls  

April 2, 2020 2:55 pm

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 2, 2020

Contact: Domenica Ghanem, [email protected], 609.457.5663

As Unemployment Numbers Skyrocket, Community Change Action Urges Government To Ensure All Workers Remain On Payrolls  

WASHINGTON, D.C. – New Unemployment claims reached 6.6 million for the week ending March 28,  according to new data from the U.S. Department of Labor. That is the equivalent of everyone employed in New York City, plus another 1.8 million people, losing their jobs all at once.

The nine million claims during the Great Recession of 2008 — at the time, the biggest economic disaster since the Great Depression — took two years to mount. We blew past that total unemployment in just two weeks.

Community Change Action Vice-President Dorian Warren said in a Facebook live this morning:

“It didn’t have to be this way. We have chosen to build an economy that puts the interests of corporations and the 1% first, not ordinary people.  Instead, we could have and must in the long term build an economy that includes automatic and income and job guarantees that prevent the kinds of tragedies that millions of families are now suffering through. People are going to lose their homes, struggle to put food on the table, and millions will lose their health insurance.

This will hit Black and brown people, particularly women, the hardest. In most recessions, Black workers are the first to lose their jobs and always that last to get rehired. Research from the National Employment Law Project tells us that the first wave of unemployed workers included retail and restaurant industry workers, with workers of color disproportionately impacted–5 out of 10 restaurant workers are people of color. 

The federal government could say ‘not one more worker will lose their job and the health insurance that comes with it’ and put payroll insurance in place. We should do everything we can to maintain the employment relationship so people can keep getting paid and keep their health insurance. This will also help hasten the recovery when it’s safe to turn back on the lights.

The disaster relief packages coming out of Congress need to include everyone, no matter their skin color, gender, or nation of origin.  So far we have failed this basic test of our humanity. We need to meet the burden of putting people first and building rules for our economy that ensure everyone can thrive — especially in tough times.”

Community Change Action demands the federal government implement the following policies to help the millions of families who are hurting as the coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage the United States:

  • No one else loses their job. Pay employers to keep workers on their payroll and  health insurance. 
  • Put people to work making personal protective equipment such as masks, producing ventilators, and sanitizing spaces.
  • Adequately fund universal child care with billions of dollars in investments so child care providers that remain open can continue to provide safe and affordable care for essential workers, while those that must close can still pay for their food, rent and other necessities while they are unemployed.

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Community Change Action is a national social justice organization that builds the power of low-income people, especially people of color.

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