(NEW YORK) — While U.S. stock markets took a breather on Thursday, hospitality workers had the wind knocked out of them after the leading labor union for hospitality workers gave a dim forecast of how the COVID-19 pandemic will affect employment numbers.
It’s estimated that the hospitality industry will shed between 80 to 90 percent of jobs, saying that is what they predict for their 300,000-member strong union.
The majority of Unite Here’s members are women and work predominantly in areas that are closed due to government-mandated shutdowns — hotels, airports, and casinos.
Unite Here International President Donald Taylor told reporters on Thursday, “Workers face potential loss of their health care, they will be food insecure, they’ll face housing insecurity. Workers generally still don’t have sick leave available to them.”
Taylor said Congress needs to act now. “This is the time for Congress and for the White House to act. The American worker must be the top priority in this recovery,” he said.
Already, several states are seeing unemployment cases swell and overload their systems.
The New York Department of Labor reported it was “experiencing an unprecedented increase in the volume of calls and web traffic for Unemployment Insurance claims.” The New York DOL intends to hire more employees to meet demand.
Meanwhile, Pennsylvania says 121,000 state residents filed for unemployment since March 16.
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