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COVID-19 Resources & Information

Rick Castor
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There’s no shortage of COVID-19-related headlines, but it’s been quite a telling week as to the true priorities of our state’s leadership as Tennessee prepares (likely prematurely) to open its doors once again. Last Thursday, Governor Bill Lee announced his Economic Recovery Group which did not include a single labor or employee representative. While this news was not completely surprising, it was infuriating. The fact that working families are being deliberately excluded from these important conversations at all levels of government is inexcusable. Tennessee’s economy did not work for everyone before, and there is no way that it will begin to do so with this business-oriented group leading the charge. After issuing an initial statement on this news, we were glad to see that so many other Tennesseans agreed and that several of our state’s media outlets took notice of this omission as well. We also called upon our legislators to show their appreciation for our frontline workers by finally increasing our state’s minimum wage when they return to Nashville. While this might seem like a small gesture, it is the least that lawmakers could do to thank these men and women for their tireless work during a pandemic, especially in a state that is at the top of the list for the number of minimum wage jobs.

Please don’t forget that this upcoming Tuesday (April 28th) marks Workers Memorial Day, an annual opportunity to remember those who have been killed or injured on the job and to renew the fight for stronger safety and health protections. Given the current state of our country and world, this is more important than ever. Many of our frontline workers are still lacking adequate personal protective equipment and other items needed to keep them as safe as possible at work. Until this and countless other issues are addressed, we will continue to do our part to fight for safe jobs and workplaces.

Once again, an updated list of even more resources related to the COVID-19 pandemic are listed below. We know that you’ll continue to see a great deal of this information repeatedly and from multiple sources, but many of these are long-term resources that can be referenced even after we eventually resume our daily routines. Please look through this entire list; unless otherwise noted, all of these links are still active and applicable. We hope that this information is still helpful in providing some guidance and clarity to our brothers and sisters throughout the state.

As a reminder, the national AFL-CIO is highlighting and uplifting the stories of workers who are on the frontlines of this crisis. If you know of a fellow union member in Tennessee who would like to share what they are experiencing, please let us know. No story is too big or too small! We want to do all that we can to amplify the work that our brothers and sisters are doing to keep Tennesseans and their own families safe during these unprecedented times.



  • Tennessee AFL-CIO Members’ Assistance Program
    A resource that is always available to union members and their families, our Members’ Assistance Program provides confidential counseling services 24 hours a day, seven days a week. During this time, we know that many more of our brothers and sisters are likely in need of these resources. To learn more about the program or if you or someone you know needs help, please contact Gary Reed at (615) 651-0676.

  • Employee Assistance Program for Labor Employees (EAPLE): United Way of the Mid-South
    This program provides financial assistance to labor employees who are experiencing a current emergency due to changes that have affected their income over the last 90 days.

  • Resources for Workers Impacted by COVID-19
    A new resource from the national AFL-CIO, this link lets you explore the resources, programs, and benefits that are available by simply clicking on a specific state.
  • TN House Democrats’ Guide to Applying for Unemployment During COVID-19
    Tennessee House Democrats have created a very helpful and useful graphic to reference when applying for unemployment benefits.

  • Families First COVID-19 Constituent Service Resources Toolkit
    This guide has been compiled by the Speaker of the House’s office and outlines the three pieces of legislation that Congress has already passed and explains what each of them means for working families.

  • COVID-19 Pandemic Resources
    If you have not done so already, we encourage you to visit the AFL-CIO’s homepage and browse through the countless resources and other guidance that is available to union members.

  • COVID-19 Unemployment for Employees
    This link provides a step-by-step description of how to file for unemployment benefits through the Jobs4TN app.

  • United Way of Greater Knoxville COVID-19 Response
    To contribute directly to the response fund, please click on the link above. All funds will go to local non-profits providing essential services for those affected by the COVID-19 crisis. If you’d like to volunteer or donate food/supplies, please click here.

  • When the Paycheck Stops: An AFL-CIO Survival Guide to Unemployment
    This document from the national AFL-CIO includes tips on managing your finances, looking for a new job, and much more.

  • Union Plus COVID-19 Updates
    Union Plus has compiled a list of programs that include credit counseling, personal loans, hardship assistance, and more.

  • Labor Movement Relief Funds
    A number of unions, guilds and affiliated non-profits have established relief funds for workers devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Your donation to any of the funds listed within the link will go directly to support workers.

  • Metro Nashville Public Schools Student Meal Delivery
    With schools throughout the state now scheduled to be closed through April 24th, Metro Nashville Public Schools will be providing breakfast and lunch to children in the district. This information (pickup locations, etc.) will be updated frequently. If other school districts throughout the state are offering similar programs, please let us know so that we can include those links as well.

  • Lost a job because of COVID-19? Here’s how to get unemployment benefits
    There are additional links within this article that will allow you to apply directly for unemployment insurance benefits with the Tennessee Department of Labor. This is a breakdown of frequently asked questions and other helpful information. If you lost your job as a result of the March 3rd tornado, you may qualify for Disaster Unemployment Assistance benefits from the federal government.

  • United Way of Greater Nashville COVID-19 Response
    This is a joint effort from Mayor John Cooper’s office and the United Way of Greater Nashville to assist workers whose income has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. SEIU Local 205 President and TN AFL-CIO Executive Board member Brad Rayson is on the advisory committee.

  • EMERGENCY RELIEF FUND: Support Chattanooga Event Workers Impacted By COVID-19 Closures
    Organized by the Chattanooga Area Central Labor Council, this link allows you to make a donation to our brothers and sisters with AFM Local 80 and IATSE Local 140 in the Scenic City who have lost work as a result of COVID-19. The CALC will use the funds to provide pre-paid grocery gift cards so that impacted workers can focus on securing rent, utilities and other financial needs.