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COVID-19 Resources & Information: May 1

Alyssa Hansen
01 May, 2020
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From honoring our brothers and sisters who have been killed or injured on the job, to highlighting the collective power of workers and the strength of our solidarity on May Day, we have been inspired by the actions that many of you have undertaken in the past week. In the midst of a world that's been upended in so many ways by COVID-19, all of you have continued to amplify labor's voice throughout your communities. None of us would be able to fight for safe jobs, ensuring workers' rights, and many other pillars of the labor movement alone; we truly are strongest when we all come together and support each other. Thanks to all of you for what you've done and continue to do for working families throughout our state. We are both proud and honored to be on this journey with you. 
As of right now, the Tennessee General Assembly is still scheduled to tentatively reconvene on June 1st, one month from today. Legislative staffers will be back to work at the Cordell Hull building on Monday, and we hope to have a better sense in the coming weeks of how things could play out once the calendar turns to June. For a recap of where legislators left things in mid-March, click here. Please keep in mind that the scaled-down budget that was passed will likely have to be amended quite a a bit, especially as local and state governments continue to deal with the effects of COVID-19. Lawmakers claim that they'll mainly focus on pandemic-related bills, but we aren't taking that for granted. ANY legislation that we were watching (remember Senator Kelsey's quest to enshrine Right to Work in the state constitution?) has the potential to be heard as well.  Stay tuned for more details throughout the month about what we're expecting and how you can help us take action! Once again, an updated list of resources related to the COVID-19 pandemic are listed below. This week's addition is particularly helpful for families with school-age children who have been learning from home for quite some time now. 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.  NEW LINKS-Resources for Parents During COVID-19 School Closures
  • A comprehensive, detailed resource compiled by both the national AFL-CIO and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), this page provides many helpful links for parents and families with school-age children. Intended to support what teachers and school districts have already provided, these lessons and tools can be used by students in pre-K through 12th grade. Separate links are also included for supporting students with disabilities, English language learners, and how to support grieving students.     
 PREVIOUS LINKS
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KNOW YOUR RIGHTS: The Families First Coronavirus Response Act Paid Leave & Paid Sick Time FAQ
  • A Better Balance has compiled this very helpful list of common, frequently asked questions regarding the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and the CARES Act. The organization also has a fact sheet about both laws and a page that focuses on COVID-19 and workplace rights during this pandemic.
-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.