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COVID-19 Resources & Information: May 15

Alyssa Hansen
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Out with the old, in with the new! As we adapt to the many changes that the coronavirus crisis has thrown our way, we have some very exciting news to share. Earlier this week, we launched a brand-new website that not only refreshes the "look" of the state federation but also provides many updated resources and information for all of you. Several aspects of the old site made the move as well (including the previous URL address:, so some of the content will look very familiar! In addition to state news and updates, you'll also see much more national content to give you a sense of what's happening in Washington and throughout the country. One very important section of the new website that we've highlighted below is the "Unsafe Worksite Report" form, which is located just under the "President's Message" section on the homepage. This form allows any Tennessean (whether they are a union member or not) to confidentially report an unsafe business, worksite, etc. We encourage you to take a few minutes to explore the new site and let us know if you have any questions or feedback. Please help us spread the word about this as well; we hope that this site will serve as a helpful, much-used resource for all working families throughout our state! 

A couple of weeks ago, we outlined what we knew about the Tennessee General Assembly's tentative plan to reconvene on June 1st, which is just over two weeks away. As close as that date now is, there are still many uncertainties for both lobbyists and the general public as to what will actually happen and what bills will be taken up. Over the course of the next week, we hope to gain a better sense of what "part two" of the legislative session will look like. Lawmakers claim that they'll mainly focus on pandemic-related bills, but we aren't taking that for granted. Stay tuned over the coming days for any additional information that we learn related to the legislature's return to Nashville and how you can take action.

As a final reminder, please don't forget that deadlines for two annual scholarships are quickly approaching within days. The deadline for applicants to submit their materials for the Eddie Bryan Scholarship is THIS Monday, May 18th, while the deadline for the Summers, Rufolo & Rodgers Labor Scholarship is Friday, May 29th. Detailed instructions and application information can be found under the "Scholarships" section of our website. Please don't hesitate to let us know if you have questions or need help accessing any documents.

Once again, an updated list of resources related to the COVID-19 pandemic are listed below. It's truly amazing how much this list has grown and evolved over the past couple of months, covering such a broad range of needs and services. 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.    NEW LINKS

-COVID-19 Unsafe Worksite Report
  • Available as a confidential resource on our new website, this form allows any Tennessean (whether they are a union member or not) to report an unsafe worksite. Governor Bill Lee's "Tennessee Pledge" does not go nearly far enough to provide guidance for businesses or resources for employees to keep them safe at work during this time. 

-National Domestic Violence Hotline-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.     
-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.