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Houston Restaurant Workers Will Protest Congress’s Inaction on Pandemic Relief Today

Among the group’s demands: an extension of federal unemployment benefits and a moratorium on evictions

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two masked women hold a white banner with the words “will I be homeless” drawn on it  in red and black paint. behind them are several people wearing black lives matter shirts and what appears to be a government building.
UniteHere Local 23 members and supporters demonstrate in Washington D.C.
UniteHere Local 23/Facebook

A group of unemployed Houston restaurant workers and hospitality industry union members will gather this afternoon as part of a National Day of Action to demand financial support from Congress for one of the pandemic’s hardest-hit industries.

Local 23 of national hospitality industry union UNITE HERE, which represents airport workers, concessions employees, food service workers at universities and museums, hotel employees and more, will gather outside Senator John Cornyn’s Houston office to demand passage of the HEROES ACT, which would expand unemployment insurance and reinstate the $600 in enhanced unemployment that expired at the end of July.

The Houston union joins demonstrations in several other U.S. cities including Dallas, New Orleans, Austin, Denver, Chicago and more.

The protests are set for September 1 because it’s the first rent-due date without action from Congress since expanded unemployment expired on July 31, said Ivy Vance, an organizer in Dallas. “The lack of change is what’s staggering to us,” Vance said. “The economic crisis is just now beginning, and neither the Democrats nor the Republicans are willing to just pass something.”

Among the groups’ demands are an extension of $600 in extra unemployment benefits, federal assistance to cover 100 percent of COBRA insurance premiums for unemployed restaurant workers, and a moratorium on evictions.

The Houston event will take place at 5300 Memorial Drive, Houston, TX 77007-8227, United States at 1 p.m.

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