Got a message for Senator McConnell? Slip it under his door
Story - Mary Potter, Photos - Berry Craig
(Paducah KY) - On Thursday, Western Kentucky union leader Jeff Wiggins went to Senator Mitch McConnell's Paducah office to deliver a letter.
The Majority Leader was still in Washington working on a sorely needed compromise with the House on legislation. But Wiggins wanted to put his concerns about passage of the HEROES Act in writing in hopes staff would share with the Senator.
Berry Craig, a union activist and writer, was with Wiggins. He said they were pretty sure there was someone in the office.
Wiggins rang the doorbell of the office. No answer.
Several tries later, Wiggins slid his letter under the door.
Wiggins wrote "The $600 stipend, set to expire tomorrow, has quite literally meant life or death for millions of America's families. It's given families the ability to pay for their rent or mortgage, to make a car payments or afford groceries and prescriptions.
Let's be clear. Nobody wants to be unemployed. A job is about more than a paycheck-it's a source of dignity. Millions are out of work through no fault of their own..."
Wiggins told the Senator that "Unless the Senate passes the HEROES Act, which proposes continuing payments into January, Americans will needlessly suffer. Our economy will continue to spiral downward and any recovery will take longer..."
In a press release, Lt. Col. Amy McGrath, who is running for U.S. Senate in Kentucky, called on McConnell to stop holding aid for American families and the legislative process hostage.
"Mitch McConnell, time and again, has prevented the Senate, the once greatest deliberative body in the world, from doing its job," McGrath said. "Now, during a pandemic, he is holding up aid for families in his push to ensure big corporations can jeopardize workers' well-being without concern."
McGrath said McConnell's insistence on weakening liability standards so that employers could be "grossly negligent" would lead to more workers becoming sick, especially since the Senate refuses to set workplace standards that employers must follow to protect workers during the pandemic.
"Mitch McConnell has attacked and undermined working Kentuckians every chance he has had throughout his career," McGrath said. " Just like he showed no concern for coal workers as companies put their lives at risk, he has released a bill that, if signed into law as it is, could endanger the health of workers across Kentucky."
Maybe the Senator will read it. Maybe he won't.
In any case, those losing the $600 federal bump to unemployment as of July 31st will have to hope somebody in Senator McConnell's office reads it and takes it to heart. At this writing, no deal has been reached and the Senate has gone home.