CHARLOTTE — Labor Day holds a lot of significance for hard-working Americans, especially ones who’ve lost their jobs this year during the coronavirus pandemic.
That’s why one group decided to rally in uptown Charlotte this holiday.
Chanting “workers run the world” while holding megaphones and signs, members of the Charlotte Workers Assembly demanded more protection for essential workers.
Jessica Moreno from Action NC, which is a nonprofit organization that works to empower low-income communities, helped organize the event.
“This year is not a day of celebration,” she said. “We have frontline workers who are literally dying.”
The group is demanding better worker protection, hazard pay, a raised minimum wage and affordable healthcare for everyone.
“I know what it’s like to struggle to find affordable housing, the struggle for healthcare, for childcare,” Moreno told Channel 9. “And right now, during the pandemic, all of those things are elevated and escalated.”
She said that relying on workers to provide essential services without added protections is simply unfair.
Dominic Harris works for Charlotte Water. Although he claimed the working conditions have improved since the start of the pandemic, he told Channel 9 there is more work to do.
“Just to set a minimum bar of a quality of a life across America versus the system of inequality we’re in now,” Harris said.
He said he is watching the proposals at the federal and state level for things like halting evictions, increased unemployment pay and possibly another round of stimulus checks.
But he also said the change needs to be overwhelming, not just temporary fixes.
“I think it’s a step in the right direction. It’s what they should have done, but it’s really just kicking the can further down the road,” Harris said.
Moreno told Channel 9 that people shouldn’t have to choose between their health and safety and affording the basics, like housing.
“We’re here to demand equality for workers,” she said.
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