HOUSTON - 150 cars full of workers formed a caravan today, urging Texas' U.S. Senators to pass the HEROES Act and police reform.
The "Workers First Caravan for Racial and Economic Justice" was part of a national day of action.
Cars wrapped around the offices of Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, hoping for action on three fronts: protecting public health during the pandemic, preventing further economic freefall, and creating racial equality.
These workers, from postal employees to janitors to teachers, say they need the Republican-led Senate to pass the HEROES Act to provide more stimulus, unemployment, and economic aid.
The Democratic-led House passed the bill last month.
"We need to survive. We have been on the front lines for everything, not just this pandemic, for years," said postal worker Michael S. Williams.
Alicia White, speaking for janitorial workers with SEIU Texas, said, "No one has trained us on new cleainng procedures or taught us how to protect ourselves from this potentially deadly disease."
The Texas Gulf Coast Area Labor Federation lead the group of unions and community organizations as they cruised by Senator Cornyn's and Senator Cruz's offices with a message.
"As the pandemic continues, millions are losing their jobs and their health insurance while coping with devastating public health concerns of their own," said Hany Khalil, Executive Director of the Texas Gulf Coast Area Labor Federation.
They want job security, frontline workers protected from COVID-19 exposure, and more healthcare coverage for workers.
"I think we're not making enough money because they're demanding from us to sanitize everything, besides the normal cleaning, but sanitizing, because of COVID-19," said janitorial worker Anna Rivas.
In response, Senator Ted Cruz's office referred us to a tweet he published, reading, "Speaker Pelosi's $3 trillion monstrosity is a windfall for her radical liberal agenda, not relief for the workers, families and job creators hurting from COVID-19."
Senator John Cornyn's office sent us a statement of what he previously said about the bill: "This is not a serious effort. This is more of a messaging offer, but it's not really a serious offer. I'm confident there will be a next bill, but it won't look anything like what Nancy Pelosi has floated out there. There is no arbitrary timeline, but a lot of the money that we've already voted for it isn't even out the door yet. So we want to see how what we've done is working, and then we will respond to the additional need.”
Cornyn's office also announced that he proposed a police reform bill today that would provide federal grants to encourage local and state police to stop using chokeholds and no-knock warrants.