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Iowa’s essential workers take demands for COVID relief and $15/hr to Sen. Grassley

March 1, 2021

Workers in 20 States Come Together to Demand Congress and Employers “Respect Us, Protect Us, Pay Us.”

IOWA CITY — As the debate in Washington heats up over the American Rescue Plan, caregivers from the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics (UIHC) and other essential workers will come together today in Iowa City demanding U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley and other elected officials fight for the strongest relief package possible that prioritizes the needs of working families and includes a $15/hr minimum wage.

Essential workers will make their demands heard via car caravans, town halls, rallies, protests, art installations and other actions in Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Iowa, Maine, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Michigan and California.

In Iowa City, the UIHC caregivers, who are members of SEIU Local 199, and other essential workers will take to the pedestrian bridge over the intersection of Riverside Drive and Iowa Avenue to demand that Congress pass the American Rescue Plan, including local and state funding for essential services AND a $15/hr minimum wage. They will gather at the base of the pedestrian bridge on the west side of Riverside Drive at noon, then take to the pedestrian bridge to drop a banner, hold signs, and chant. MASKS AND SOCIAL DISTANCING ARE REQUIRED TO ATTEND THIS EVENT.

WHO: Caregivers from the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics and other essential workers

WHAT: Workers will gather at the base of the pedestrian bridge on the west side of Riverside Drive at noon, then take to the bridge to drop a banner, hold signs, and chant. MASKS AND SOCIAL DISTANCING ARE REQUIRED TO ATTEND THIS EVENT.

WHEN: Tuesday, March 2, Noon – 1 P.M.

WHERE: Pedestrian bridge over the intersection of Riverside Drive & Iowa Avenue, Iowa City

Today’s day of action comes on the heels of nationwide efforts over the last several months on the part of essential workers in SEIU and the Fight for $15 and a Union. Just two weeks ago on February 16th, fast-food and care workers in 20 cities took action and demanded a strong relief package that includes $15/hr. Fast-food cooks and cashiers also went on strike to demand that companies like McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s raise wages to $15/hr immediately.

It also follows months of action on the part of frontline service and care workers who have been in motion to raise demands for $15 and a union, racial justice, massive support for state and local essential services, a transformative investment in good union jobs in the care economy, and a path to citizenship for all immigrant families at the forefront of discussions about relief and recovery.

SEIU Local 199 represents 5,000 healthcare and public service workers across Iowa. It is an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union. SEIU unites 2 million diverse members in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. SEIU members working in the healthcare industry, public sector and property services believe in the power of joining together on the job to win higher wages and benefits and to create better communities while fighting for a more just society and an economy that works for all of us, not just corporations and the wealthy.

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