Workers in the hard-hit hospitality and events industry need our support
From the Minneapolis Labor Review, March 27, 2021
By Chelsie Glaubitz Gabiou, President,
Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation
COVID-19 has wreaked havoc across every sector of our workforce. A new future is on the horizon with the promising distribution of vaccinations. While we still don’t know the long-term economic effects of this pandemic across all of our industries, we do know that the road to full recovery will be long. This is especially true in the hospitality and events industry.
The hospitality and events industry was effectively shut down overnight in March of 2020, when the gravity of this pandemic was finally understood and the emergency stay-at-home orders were announced. Travel was halted, restaurants were shuttered, events were immediately canceled, and hotels were emptied.
The workers who drive this important industry were left in a very uncertain situation. And even today, one year later, it is not clear when these workers will be back at work.
Unionized workers in this industry were able to win some workplace protections through their contracts and some extensions of healthcare benefits. Non-union workers had zero protections.
And while unemployment insurance was helpful for some workers in the industry, many workers were left ineligible for unemployment and other forms of state assistance.
Back in March of 2020, the dire situation for the workers of this industry quickly became clear.
Together with our hospitality and events unions and our community partners, we launched the Twin Cities Hospitality and Event Workers’ Relief Fund within a month of the shutdown. This fund provides important community navigation and referral services and offers small individual grants on a needs basis.
The Twin Cities Hospitality and Event Workers’ Relief Fund is available to both union and non-union workers and is housed in our very own Working Partnerships. With the on-going need… we’re asking all our sisters and brothers to consider an individual donation or union contribution.
This fund is available to both union and non-union workers and is housed in our very own Working Partnerships. Many of the families we are working with are workers of color and women.
The fund also is serving as a hub of empowerment for these workers. When they have nowhere to turn, someone is there to answer the phone and help them get answers. Our Hospitality Fund staff troubleshoot workplace problems and help identify organizing skills and strategies for the long-term recovery of workers in this industry.
For the last year, the Twin Cities Hospitality Fund has received funding from local governments, non-profits and other unions to support the work. We have hired a team of navigators and we’ve served more than 1,500 families.
Now, one year later, the needs remain high for workers in the hospitality and events industry. We have hundreds of workers still trying to access the fund each week and we have had to create a wait list of workers who need our support.
Hospitality and events jobs touch all sectors of our labor movement. They generate significant revenue for our public sector and help drive private investment in our local economy. Solidarity with impacted workers in this industry is important for all of us.
With the ongoing need as we pass the one-year mark of COVID-19, we’re asking all our sisters and brothers in the labor movement to consider making an individual donation or union contribution to the Twin Cities Hospitality Fund.
Please support this important work!
Donations by check:
Memo: Hospitality Fund
312 Central Ave. SE, Suite 542
Minneapolis, MN 55414
Contact Doug Flateau
Chelsie Glaubitz Gabiou was re-elected December 11, 2019 to a second four-year term as president of the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation, AFL-CIO.
Contact MRLF president Chelsie Glaubitz Gabiou at 612-321-5670 or firstname.lastname@example.org.