Welcome to this week's Florida AFL-CIO E-Messenger, your weekly round up of labor news across Florida and the country. Let's dive in.
Help Us Send a Message to Governor DeSantis: It's Time to Fix Our Broken Unemployment System.
In 2011, then-Governor Rick Scott and his cronies in big business went out of their way to gut Florida's Unemployment Insurance system. Thanks to them, Florida now has some of the lowest unemployment benefits in the nation as well as some of the strictest eligibility rules. Thousands of Floridians have already lost their jobs as the COVID-19 pandemic continues and our unemployment system is ill-prepared to meet the challenges facing our economy and public safety.
The Florida AFL-CIO is calling on Governor DeSantis to repair our damaged insurance system. Over a week ago over 100 labor leaders submitted a letter to the Governor's office in support of providing unemployed Floridians with real relief. We've also launched a website, www.FLWorkersNeedRelief.com, where thousands of workers have submitted their stories and signed a petition to Governor DeSantis to fix our broken system.
Please take a minute to lend your voice in support of Florida's workers and their communities by clicking here.
Theses changes are desperately needed as more and more Floridians find themselves out of work and faced with a program that provides insultingly low relief if a worker's claim is accepted. Unfortunately, most workers can't even get their foot in the door in the first place, as the Department of Economic Opportunity has been woefully unprepared for our current economic crisis.
The Lakeland Ledger has more on the havoc COVID-19 continues to wreak on Florida's economy and an Unemployment System that wasn't ready for the exponential increase in cases.
Unfortunately the system was designed to fail by Rick Scott, who purposefully moved the system to be entirely web-based.....on a website that barely worked in the best of times.
The Orlando Sentinel has a look at the difficulties the unemployed are having with the faulty system.
The Governor has made some moves towards fixing the problem, lifting some of the more draconian work requirements and moving to hire staff to handle the deluge of requests. While it's a start, more needs to be done.
DeSantis Issues State-Wide "Safer At Home" Order
Wednesday, Governor DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-91, which orders Floridians to stay at home except to either participate in or provide essential activities. The order closes all "non-essential" businesses and social gatherings and recommends that all work that can be, should be done remotely. The Order is set to last until April 30th.
The Palm Beach Post has a good overview of the order and what activities and businesses have been deemed essential.
While the Governor is encouraging telecommuting in any and all industries possible, state employees have unfortunately been hearing another story. Many state employees are still expected to come into the office where remote work is possible, due to no clear guidance from state agencies.
The Tallahassee Democrat has more on the story.
Stay Safe During The Pandemic and Know Your Rights:
The Florida AFL-CIO has Resources Relating to The COVID-19 Pandemic.
During this crisis, it's crucial that you stay informed of your rights on the job, what to do if you're laid off and how to stay safe. You can find a list of national, statewide and local resources on our website.
Click here for our resource list.
AFL-CIO Releases National Guides for Navigating Unemployment for Workers Affected By Pandemic
This week, the National AFL-CIO released guides for workers dealing with the national response to unemployment. You'll find them below.
Workers Across the Nation are Keeping Their Communities Safe Amid Pandemic
Across the country, Union members are on the front lines working to help keep the country running.
Grocery workers have continued to keep our communities fed at great risk to themselves. Organized Labor is working to make sure grocery workers are safe at their job.
The New York Daily News has an excellent op-ed on the protections grocery employees need by Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union.
Janitors and custodial workers across the nation are keeping vital services clean and helping to stop the spread of disease.
NBC News has more on the critical work they're doing.
Each week, the AFL-CIO highlights some of the workers putting themselves at risk to perform essential duties as part of their series, Service+Solidarity. This week, the spotlight is on Shekina, a member of AFGE and lead transportation security officer for the Transportation Security Administration at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson Airport.
Click here to watch her story.
As the country faces shortages of critical supplies for medical workers, members of United Steel Workers in Maine have answered the call, switching from manufacturing clothing to vital resources like masks.
Click here for their story.
Take Action: Sign the Petition!
As we discussed earlier, Florida is facing a huge unemployment crisis with a system that's not prepared in the slightest. Your message to the Governor helps us move towards a system that provides Floridians with actual relief.
Click here to sign the petition!
Please be sure to share the website, www.flworkersneedrelief.com with anyone who would be interested in supporting the cause. The more signatures, the louder the message.
That wraps up this week's Florida AFL-CIO E-Messenger. Stay at home if you can, wash your hands and stay safe. Solidarity.
Got any tips, actions or messages you’d like to see in this email?
Please email Michael Newberger at firstname.lastname@example.org.