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Dallas Restaurant Workers Will Protest Congress’s Inaction on Pandemic Relief

With no federal unemployment assistance and rent looming, workers impacted by the COVID-19 crisis are struggling

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a masked woman in a red shirt holding a sign that reads ““over 30 million are unemployed”. Her shirt says “one job should be enough”
Members of the UniteHere Local 23 march in support of an extension of the expanded unemployment program.
UniteHere Local 23/Facebook

A group of Dallas activists and unemployed restaurant workers are planning a day of action on September 1 to protest the end of the expanded unemployment program and Congress’s inaction on providing financial support for the one of the pandemic’s hardest-hit industries.

Members of the groups Restaurant Workers United, hospitality industry union UNITE HERE Local 23, North Texas Democratic Socialists, and Dallas Stops Evictions, will gather outside of Senator John Cornyn’s Dallas office to stage a mock eviction and to demand that Congress act immediately to pass another pandemic relief bill. In addition Dallas Stops Evictions will host a drive to provide tents, sleeping bags and other necessities for people in need of temporary shelter.

The day of action follows a similar gathering on July 24 to protest the end of expanded unemployment, which expired July 31. Similar events are taking place in Austin, Houston, Denver, New Orleans, and other cities.

September 1 marks the first rent due date following the expanded unemployment expiration without any additional action from Congress, said Ivy Vance, one of the event’s organizers.

“The lack of change is what’s staggering to us,” Vance said. “The economic crisis is just now beginning, and neither the Democrats nor the Republicans are willing to just pass something.”

Among the groups’ demands are an extension of $600 in extra unemployment benefits, federal assistance to cover 100 percent of COBRA insurance premiums for unemployed restaurant workers, and a moratorium on evictions, one of the aims of the newly-formed group Dallas Stops Evictions.

“We really wanted to make the connection between the eviction crisis and the financial crisis,” Vance said. To that end, the groups will be staging a mock eviction outside Cornyn’s office. “We want to show what it looks like when someone’s furniture is thrown out on the curb.”

The event will take place at noon at 5001 Spring Valley Road. Donors can bring new or gently used tents and sleeping bags, or donate via Dallas Stops Eviction’s GoFundMe.