Budget Recap: Crucial Wins and a Disappointing Loss

On Tuesday, the DC Council held the final vote on funding in the DC budget. DC Jobs With Justice is proud to have led and supported campaigns for working families in this year’s budget process. Although we had mixed results, we continue to center the power, value, and voices of DC’s workers throughout all of our campaigns and appreciate all workers and allies who fought together.

Wins:
$41 million for Excluded Workers: DC JWJ has led on the campaign to win funding for Excluded Workers since the very first days of the COVID crisis. This win is our largest so far, three times more than we won in all of 2020. Excluded Workers including cash economy workers, undocumented workers, and returning citizens. They will be able to access these funds through the low-barrier DC CARES program. Learn more on the Excluded Worker twitter. 
Strengthening Paid Family Leave. Having supported DC’s paid family leave program from advocacy through implementation, DC JWJ was disappointed to see the initial budget undermined the strength of the program and the dedicated funding. We were part of the coalition that fought back with a demand of not just to preserving the program, but actually making it stronger. Now the Paid Family Leave program includes more time for individuals who need to care for themselves, many program improvements, and the opportunity to expand benefits. Read more about the changes we helped win here: https://www.dcpaidfamilyleave.org/updates/vote-statement

Losses:
Hero Pay: Sadly not all of our campaigns won. The Heroes Pay Act introduced by Councilmember Elissa Silverman would have paid essential workers a one-time Hero Pay bonus for working during the pandemic. We worked hard alongside our union partners to win this bill and secure compensation for the workers who risked their lives to keep the rest of us safe. Unfortunately the initial budget put forth by Chairman Phil Mendelson eliminated the Heroes Pay Act. 10 members of the Council then voted to defeat an amendment to restore and fully fund the Heroes Pay Act. While we are deeply disappointed in the Council’s actions we are committed to continuing to organize in support of essential worker demands.

With the budget season wrapping up it’s now time for us to look ahead to future fights for justice. Stay tuned by signing up for our email list at: https://actionnetwork.org/forms/get-involved-4

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