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Corporations are using COVID-19 as an excuse to treat low-wage workers as disposable

Story Transcript

Jaisal Noor: Welcome to “The Real News”. I’m Jaisal Noor. As the COVID-19 death toll surpasses 190,000 and Senate Republicans continue to block additional unemployment relief, workers are hoping to push local governments to enact protections against corporate greed.

Speaker 2: And during a pandemic, this is where we need to be stepping up as leaders in the city of Baltimore, where we need to be putting out legislation to protect these workers.

Jaisal Noor: Over a dozen workers held a socially distanced rally at Baltimore City Hall to support a bill that would defend the labor rights of thousands of laid-off hospitality workers who are disproportionately women and people of color.

Speaker 3: I work at the Baltimore Hilton. I’ve been there for 13 years, and I am a lobby attendant. My job is very important to me. It helped me support myself and my family and my grandchildren.

Speaker 4: My name is [inaudible 00:00:59]. I’ve been at the Hilton for four years, and I’m supporting 20 people, family and friends.

Cole Taylor: My name is Cole Taylor. I’ve work at the Hilton for 10 years. I just recently had a grandson last year.

Jaisal Noor: As coronavirus restrictions begin to ease, workers rally to support a bill that would require employers to rehire laid-off staff first.

Speaker 6: … Has invested very, very heavily in the hospitality industry, giving large subsidies and tax breaks. For example, the Marriott Waterfront, which is owned by private equity group UBS, over the last 20 years has only paid $1 a year in lieu of taxes.

Jaisal Noor: Similar measures have been passed in California, in Oakland, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. And, on Thursday, Baltimore city council will consider two bills, council bills 20-544 and 20-543.

Speaker 2: We know that in the city of Baltimore, we haven’t done enough to protect our communities of color and make sure that they have everything that they need to thrive in the city of Baltimore. So, yes, this is absolutely a racial justice issue, an economic justice issue.

Jaisal Noor

General Assignment Reporter

Jaisal is a host, producer, and reporter for TRNN. With his expertise in education policy and systemic inequity, he focuses on Baltimore, Maryland. He mainly grew up in the Baltimore area and studied modern history at the University of Maryland, College Park. Before joining TRNN, he contributed print, radio, and TV reports to Free Speech Radio NewsDemocracy Now! and The Indypendent.

Jaisal's mother has taught in the Baltimore City Public School system for the past 25 years.