WHEREAS, we have entered a deep and what is a lengthy recession, resulting from the COVID- 19 shutdown, and we must enact policies that will help the well-being of millions of individuals, families and communities across the country and the economy overall; and
WHEREAS, health insurance should not be tied to employment because as people lose jobs they also lose their employer provided health insurance; since the Covid-19 shut down an estimated 16.2 million workers have lost their health insurance; further, these workers employer based health insurance often covers their family members so the tot al number of people who have lost coverage is likely twice as high, let's not forget COVID-19 becomes a medical pre-exiting condition; and
WHEREAS, a National Universal Program, not tied to employment, that would guarantee health insurance for every American would have numerous benefits; it could boost wages and jobs leading to a more efficient labor market that better matches jobs and workers, and it could boost wages and salaries by allowing employers to redirect money they are spending on health care costs to their workers' wages; it could support self-employment and small business development by eliminating the expensive and often prohibitive cost of health care from startup costs; and it would lessen the stress and economic shock of losing a job, or moving between jobs, by eliminating the loss of employer based health care that now accompanies job loss and job transitions; and
WHEREAS, we must establish a Federal Unemployment Insurance System, as unemployment insurance is a crucial financial safety net for those out of work and those who have their hours reduced; further as a state run program, many states provide the standard maximum 26 weeks of benefits, however 7 states do not provide those weeks of benefits including North Carolina - 12 weeks, Florida - 12 weeks, Missouri - 13 weeks, Alabama - 14 weeks, South Carolina - 20 weeks, Arkansas - 20 weeks and Idaho 21 - weeks, we need a federal unemployment insurance system that provides a minimum of 26 weeks of coverage that can be expanded; and
WHEREAS, we must establish Universal Paid Sick Leave for all employees; data reveals that over 30 million workers do not have paid sick leave which, is an astounding number, where higher wage workers are the ones with paid sick leave benefits seeing 93% of the highest -wage workers receiving paid sick days and only 30% of the lower-paid workers able to earn sick days; in this way access to paid sick days increases with wages among workers disproportionately excluding workers at lower levels this vital security; and when worker s, or their family members, are sick they shouldn't have to decide between staying home from work to care for themselves or their dependents and paying rent or putting food on the table; and
WHEREAS, that unemployment insurance should not be tied to state budgets where unemployment programs/services have been inadequately funded for decades resulting in, and shown by, system wide glitches and total malfunctions experienced during the COVID-19 demand; and
WHEREAS, that unemployment insurance should be fully covered by federal funding, with increased benefits as current benefit levels only stand for 32.7% of the average wage; and
WHEREAS, that a weakened economy always undercuts state and local tax revenues affecting government budgets, and to address the financial deficit we must put in place measures to protect state and local budgets that are essential for jobs, public health, and other important public services.
THEREFORE, BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) reaffirm our policy positions advocating for and continuing to urge Congress to pass legislation that establishes lasting economic policy measures making Unemployment Insurance a sustainable federal program; establish Universal Paid Sick Leave and non-employer based Health Insurance that will protect our workforce and their families from the devastation of economic collapse ensuring stability and equal access; and protect state and local budgets from devastating cuts in programs, services and jobs.