The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Justin Henry,, MSA Contact: Sarah Crozier,


Advisory for Zoom Press Conference

Workers' rights, small business advocates to demand stronger protections from Congress in new COVID-19 relief bill.


Tomorrow, Thursday, July 30 at 1:00 PM ET, the Center for Popular Democracy and the Main Street Alliance will hold a virtual press conference to demand that Congress provide greater protection for workers, families, and small business owners in the new COVID-19 relief bill. The proposal recently released by Senate Republicans would significantly reduce unemployment benefits, which have been a lifeline for working families, and double down on small business loans like the Payroll Protection Program that has largely excluded Black and Brown business owners.

Workers and small business owners are expected to speak to the urgency of prioritizing measures that put cash in the hands of workers and families through Pandemic Unemployment Insurance, cash assistance for all taxpayers, and a comprehensive set of programs to support small businesses for the long term.


  • Ana Maria Archilla, Co-Executive Director at the Center for Popular Democracy
  • Amanda Ballantyne, Executive Director at the Main Street Alliance
  • ReShonda Young, Founder of Popcorn Heaven and Waterloo, IA resident
  • Andrew Volk, Owner of Portland Hunt and Alpine Club and Portland, ME resident
  • Latrice Wilson, KY resident and worker
  • Tonya Hughes, MD resident and worker

WHEN: TOMORROW, Thursday, July 30

1:00 p.m. ET

WHERE: The press conference will stream live via Zoom here. All attendees are encouraged to register here.

QUESTIONS? Members of the media can direct questions to Justin Henry by emailing

As the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact workers and small business owners, families face a great deal of financial uncertainty. Life-saving unemployment benefits, which have kept families afloat in the face of economic downturn, are set to expire this Friday, July 31. And with little assistance from the federal government, small businesses have had to lay off staff -- exacerbating the unemployment crisis -- or been forced into closure.

But despite the plight of working families, Senate Republicans are refusing to increase federal assistance in the newest COVID-19 relief bill. The current proposal reduces unemployment benefits by $400 a month and continues centering business support on piecemeal loan-based programs that will not address equity or the length of the crisis and continue to largely benefit big corporations.

Tomorrow, workers and small business owners from several states around the country, including Iowa, Kentucky, and Maine, where Senate Republicans are blocking federal assistance, will join national advocates at the Center for Popular Democracy and the Main Street Alliance to demand stronger protections. Speakers are expected to call on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernest in Iowa, Rand Paul in Kentucky, Susan Collins in Maine, and other Republican lawmakers to extend unemployment insurance, address racial disparities in access to business relief, strengthen small business infrastructure, and support other solutions to uplift working families.

In addition, Unemployed Action, a workers' rights campaign by the Center for Popular Democracy, is partnering with local organizations across the U.S. to hold leaders accountable for failing to protect American workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout the week, hosting online and in-person actions throughout the week. The list of events is below:

July 29

July 30

The Main Street Alliance (MSA) is a national network of small business coalitions working to build a new voice for small businesses on important public policy issues. Main Street Alliance members are working throughout the country to build policies that work for business owners, their employees, and the communities they serve.