"Turner resists push for paid sick leave ordinance in Houston during coronavirus pandemic"
Houston Chronicle, 4/27/2020
Labor leaders say the COVID-19 pandemic has bolstered their argument for a paid leave mandate, arguing such a policy would slow community spread of the disease here.Mayor Sylvester Turner largely has ignored the push, making clear he will not take action on paid sick leave while the health and economic crisis continues to play out.
"Houston union leaders call for emergency rent relief amid pandemic"
With unemployment numbers climbing and the country at an all-out economic standstill, a group of Houston pastors and union leaders want more protection for the city's renters. The group is calling on Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner to pass a city ordinance that provides emergency relief to help working tenants, according to a statement by the Texas Gulf Coast Area Labor Federation.
"Housing, labor advocates press Houston for more protections for renters during pandemic"
Houston Chronicle, 4/16/20
Their proposals include a 60-day grace period to allow those who fall behind on rent to catch up, a cap on late fees, and a ban on notices to vacate, which advocates said some landlords have deployed deceptively.
"As Texans flood state with unemployment apps, reserves to pay benefits are dangerously low,"Houston Chronicle, 3/21/2020.
"Shutdowns have hit the local economy hard. People who work at local theaters and event venues were “99 percent unemployed in a matter of days,” said Hany Khalil, the executive director of the Texas Gulf Coast Area Labor Federation, which works with unions across the Houston region.
"2 Port of Houston terminals close after worker tests positive for COVID-19,"Houston Chronicle, 3/19/2020.
Workers on ships - who work in close proximity to one another - are concerned about higher rates of infection, and those working at the port fear that the frequent handling and trade of goods may also leave them more exposed, said Hany Khalil, executive director of the Texas Gulf Coast Area Labor Federation. At the same time, workers fear what the two terminal shutdowns portends for the port’s economic future...“Given how important the port is to the Houston regional economy, it’s going to be a real challenge.”
"In this trying time, Houstonians need paid sick leave," Op-ed, Houston Chronicle, 3/18/2020.
As local, state and federal authorities take belated action to slow the spread of COVID-19, the city of Houston must use its authority to enact a paid sick leave ordinance immediately.
"Hidalgo orders bars to close, restricts restaurants to takeout for 15 days,"Houston Chronicle, 3/17/2020.
"In the bar and restaurant sector, we're talking about low-wage workers, often uninsured, with little savings to weather the health and economic storm," Khalil said. "And we need to make sure that they are provided for. They're not responsible for the situation."
"Fighting Coronavirus, Houston is The Largest U.S. City Without Paid Sick Leave Law,"Houston Public Media, 3/16/2020.
Amid community spread of the coronavirus, organizations will be calling on Houston officials to pass an ordinance similar to those in Austin, San Antonio and Dallas, despite the opposition they’re facing in courts, according to Hany Khalil, executive director of Texas Gulf Coast AFL-CIO.