The New Jersey State AFL-CIO thanks and commends U.S. Reps. Donald Norcross, D-1st District, and Chris Smith, R-4th District, and the entire New Jersey congressional delegation for petitioning the leaders of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives to include labor-related organizations in the CARES Act, the coronavirus stimulus bill.
Currently, the CARES Act’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) assists some businesses and non-profit organizations, but not those designated as 501(c)(5) and 501(c)(6) under the Internal Revenue Service code. This injustice must be fixed, said Charles Wowkanech, President of the New Jersey State AFL-CIO, because these service-oriented groups’ staffs are actively working on behalf of workers and businesses.
President Wowkanech continued: “The state AFL-CIO is actively advocating for our union brothers and sisters on the front lines – the nurses and medical professionals, the transportation workers who get them to their jobs and get products to store shelves, the workers in the stores who are stocking and cleaning nonstop, the people in the building trades who are keeping our infrastructure in shape.
“If the CARES Act is supposed to support working families, then the PPP needs to include the organizations that support them.”
Labor organizations and trade associations are having trouble keeping their employees on the payroll because of reductions in membership dues, which historically go to pay for their staffs. Without adequate staffing, these organizations will no longer be able to play the essential role of helping workers and businesses to make their way through the unprecedented economic downturn caused by COVID-19.
According to Congressman Norcross, labor organizations are designated as 501(c)(5), and they count nearly 16% of New Jersey’s workforce as members. Labor organizations such as the state AFL-CIO and local unions play a vital role in helping the thousands of New Jersey workers who have lost their jobs navigate the new and necessary federal benefit options such as the Pandemic Unemployment Program. These workers rely on 501(c)(5) staff to support and guide them.
Similarly, trade organizations are designated as 501(c)(6). Trade associations aid their member companies – businesses of all types and sizes – to navigate the regulatory environment and understand how they can get help through programs like the PPP and SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.
The state delegation – Sens. Robert Menendez and Cory Booker, both D-N.J., and Reps. Norcross, Smith, Jeff Van Drew, R-2nd District; Andy Kim, D-3rd District; Josh Gottheimer, D-5th District; Frank Pallone Jr., D-6th District; Tom Malinowski, D-7th District; Albio Sires, D-8th District; Bill Pascrell Jr., D-9th District; Donald M. Payne Jr., D-10th District; Mikie Sherrill, D-11th District; and Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-12th District – co-signed the letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
Please CLICK HERE to read the delegation’s full letter.