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News

 The Union meeting that is scheduled for the month of April (6/13/2020) is currently CANCELLED until further notice, due to the concerns revolving around COVID-19.


In an attempt to protect the health of our fellow brothers and sisters, the shop here at the hall will be closed for the next few weeks. We anticipate the possibility of re-opening for normal training in June of 2020.


Follow this link: COVID-19, for more information concerning precautions surrounding this current health threat.



Highlights of COVID-19 Relief Packages Passed by Congress

Over the past few weeks, Congress has passed an unprecedented three relief packages in rapid succession in response to the impacts from the COVID-19 outbreak, with each increasing in size. This is a fluid situation, and a fourth package is expected in the coming weeks that will focus on the loss of jobs from COVID-19 and workforce development, as well as protection for health care workers and infrastructure investments. Key takeaways from the packages passed to date are as follows: 

1st Relief Package: signed into law on March 6, the $8.3 billion H.R. 6074 Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act provides broad nonpartisan emergency funding for federal agencies to respond to the coronavirus outbreak and is referred to as the “stop the bleeding” bill: 6.7 billion designated for the domestic response and $1.6 billion for international response. Most of the domestic funding would go to the Department of Health and Human Services and would include funding for coronavirus vaccine research and development, $20 million to the Small Business Administration to support the disaster loans program and $500 million for a waiver for Medicare providers to provide telehealth services. The international response would include $986 million support for the United States Agency for International Development, $264 million to the State Department and $300 million to the CDC to support global disease detection and emergency response.


2nd Relief Package: signed into law on March 18, the $104 billion H.R. 6201 Families First Coronavirus Response Act bill provides:

  • Additional funding for a variety of food assistance aid for low-income families and nutrition programs including WIC, TEFAP, Aging and Disability Services Programs and SNAP; a variety of waivers are included such as suspended work and training requirements for SNAP and WIC recipients
  • Increased funding for coverage of testing, testing, testing
  • Expansion of emergency Family and Medical Leave Act: job-protected paid family leave enables employees of employers with 500 or fewer employees and certain public sector employers to take up to 12 weeks of leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act to care for a child who is on leave from school and/or day care (employers with fewer than 50 employees may be exempt if it would jeopardize the viability of the business; also health care providers and first responders may be exempt)
  • 14 days of emergency paid sick leave for employees of employers with 500 or fewer employees and certain public sector employers to self-isolate, care for a family member who is self-isolating or care for a child whose school is closed (possible exemptions apply as listed above)
  • Refundable tax credits to employers with 500 or fewer employees who are providing paid sick and paid family and medical leave for its employees
  • $1 billion in emergency grants to states for expansion of Unemployment Insurance benefits to process and pay for claims

3rd Relief Package: signed into law on March 27, the $2 trillion H.R. 748 Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) package is considered the largest relief package ever passed in U.S. history and provides:

  • $1,200 in direct payments to individuals earning up to $75,000, with smaller payments to those with incomes up to $99,000; an additional $500 per child is provided
  • Provides an additional 13 weeks of Unemployment Insurance benefits (that includes those who have already exhausted their benefits) and a four-month enhancement of an additional $600 per week, with states encouraged to waive the one week waiting period; extends benefits to freelancers and gig workers
  • Suspends all federal student loan payments for six months and the loan would not accrue interest
  • $350 billion in partially forgivable federal guaranteed loans to small businesses if businesses are using it to pay for worker salaries, rent, utilities, etc. (501c3 nonprofits could be included in this)
  • $500 billion government lending program for distressed companies that include airlines, hotels and cruise lines
  • $100 billion to hospitals to support the COVID-19 response
  • $345 million allocated to DOL/ETA for the Dislocated Worker National Reserve available through 9/30/2022 (may replace grant funding that was previously obligated to speed up the process); provides flexibility to local workforce boards to use funding under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act to raise the existing cap for administrative costs from 10 percent to 20 percent; allows Governors to use reserved workforce funding for rapid response
  • A variety of tax benefits for business: provides for advanced refundable tax credit to small businesses passed in package #2; provides tax credits to employers of all sizes who continue to pay employee wages that are furloughed; delays employer payment of 2020 payroll taxes
  • Significant additional funding for federal agencies provided to the Department of Agriculture for the Distance Learning and Telemedicine program; FCC for the FCC Connected Care Pilot Program; Department of Homeland Security for the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and Coast Guard; Department of Education for the Education Stabilization Fund for costs related to COVID-19; the Department of Veterans Affairs to purchase, staff, and equip temporary care and mobile treatment centers; and the Department of Housing and Urban Development