We urge all members of Congress to strongly support the “HEROES ACT” Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act.
June 29, 2020
Hon. Mitch McConnell
United States Senate
Hon. Charles Schumer
United States Senate
Hon. Nancy Pelosi
U.S. House of Representatives
Hon. Kevin McCarthy
U.S. House of Representatives
RE: “HEROES ACT” Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act
Dear Leader McConnell, Speaker Pelosi, Leader Schumer, and Leader McCarthy:
The Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO and the undersigned labor unions represent tens of thousands of shipbuilder’s, shipbreakers, harbor construction workers, longshore workers, and other essential port and maritime workers. We build, maintain and operate the ships and facilities that provide our nations supply chain and national defense. We are the American workforce that continues to perform their duties diligently and with distinction, regardless of risk or exposure to COVID-19, ensuring that food and medical supplies are unloaded and delivered to combat this heinous virus.
Unfortunately, a number of our nation’s essential maritime employees have already passed away from COVID 19. Many more in the maritime and its related workforces have been hospitalized due to coronavirus illnesses and now face long term consequences to their health and family finances.
We strongly support the changes in the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act embodied in the “Heroes Act” passed by the House of Representatives on May 15, 2020. The Act, in separate sections, creates a presumption of causation of workplace illness arising from virus exposure for certain federal workers and for workers covered under the Longshore and Harbor Worker’s Compensation Act. It is imperative that maritime industry “Heroes” receive the temporary or permanent disability benefits provided by the Act, as well as reasonable medical expenses and death benefits. The legislation does not blame employers or insurance carriers for the pandemic. The only legislative requirement of employers is that they comply with applicable safety and health regulations. Employer experience ratings or premiums will not be affected, as insurance carriers are provided relief through the legislation that allows them to recoup losses for COVID-19 related expenses.
This provision among many contained in the “Heroes Act” is an important next step in our country’s response to the COVID-19 crisis, providing compensation and critical health and safety protections for workers. The affiliates of the Metal Trades Department, and their partners in the labor movement, strongly urge the Senate to adopt the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act provision(s) in the House of Representatives Heroes Act.
As you begin to complete your work on the next round of stimulus and worker protection legislation, the undersigned organizations urge you to enact bipartisan policy provisions that will guarantee the health and safety of all American workers.
Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO
Maritime Trades Department, AFL-CIO
Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO
Federal Workers Alliance
International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers
International Brotherhood of Boilermakers
International Brotherhood of Teamsters
International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers
International Longshoremen’s Association
International Longshore and Warehouse Union
International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots
National Association of Government Employees-SEIU
National Federation of Federal Employees
Operative Plasterers’ & Cement Masons’ International Association
Laborers’ International Union of North America
The Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO joined multiple labor organizations in a joint letter to Congress urging leaders to act swiftly to pass legislation that ensures every eligible voter is able to participate in the 2020 elections amid COVID-19 and that future elections are resilient to national emergencies – including natural disasters and pandemics.
See the pdf of the full letter below.
June 9, 2020
Mr. Richard Trumka
815 16th Street NW
Washington, DC 20006
Re: Committee on Human and Civil Rights and Legislation and Policy Resolution
Dear President Trumka,
On behalf of the Metal Trades Department, please be advised that I applaud the work of the Committee on Human and Civil Rights and Legislation and Policy, and I wholeheartedly urge the Executive Council to adopt the proposed resolution.
The past weeks have been ones of deep reflection for me. I have listened to the statements of our members, activists, and the American people engaged on all sides of the conversation about racial equity. It is not lost on me that as a white man, who has benefited from the privilege of being so, that I cannot fully understand the struggles and obstacles overcome by our brothers and sisters of color. But I have learned that I can and must listen to their voices, and that I can and must do better.
Our nation and our movement are at a crossroads. Years of being under attack by special interests and corporations with unlimited resources have necessarily led to the devotion of significant resources into preservation rather than progress. This resolution represents a measured and appropriate first step in the right direction.
We must do more than renew our focus on empowering our members of color. We must also listen and welcome with open arms the statements and ideas of our brothers and sisters in the Black Lives Matters movement. It’s far past time that all in labor roll up our sleeves and join these marches for justice and equality. Let’s open our doors and welcome the Black Lives Matter movement as a partner for social change. Let’s devote our experience and resources in organization and strategic campaigning to empowering and supporting this movement.
With warmest regards, I remain