Service union president: ‘We need to value care work’

Service Employees International Union President Mary Kay Henry discusses the impact of the pandemic on service workers and debates over minimum wage and immigration.
6:24 | 03/06/21

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Transcript for Service union president: ‘We need to value care work’
Well march is women's history month and one woman making history right now leads the union representing two millions service and care workers goes so often deemed essential workers who were hardest hit during the -- would condemn such Mary Kay Henry is the international president of the Service Employees International Union French the first woman to hold that position in the union's 100 year history should thank you for joining us marriage and glad to be made you well let's talk about who makes up the SCI you for your members and and what unique challenges that they faced during the pandemic. Our members are on the front lines of Peltier in every shouting hospitals nursing homes and home and community based here. We are in air or downtown office buildings. His janitors and security officers. And rearing public services many of our unemployment claims processors. Overnight in their offices to process and in any scenes during the pandemic and we have our best restaurant workers who are demanding fifteen and union. And yet I suspect that they suffered disproportionately. Throughout the pandemic. Yes in wis very very tough year and daily I would receding names are members. Our local leaders and see all across the country ending Canada and Puerto Rico. We're getting reports that infection and death. And at our convention we scroll a video for it for a minute with individual named. To honor the lives that we lost and to rededicate ourselves to organizing on their behalf and making sure every service here workers respected and protected and paid went there were. Each and yet during the pandemic so many of the jobs lost were by women infected and many were calling it does this she session bush on the SE IU is such overwhelmingly female in fact almost 70% female child what it take do you think to get women back to work. I think it's really important test in the next action of government. And there's an investment in your job child year and you're so they. Women who are working are in need with ease of mind knowing their children and that their parents or this family members with disabilities. And Stacy usually at home in your war by any provider. Can also cure for herself we need to valued at your infrastructure in this country like we did auto in EO job of the last century and that's a way for every Shanle truly benefits. Prominent Arab recovery. You mention minimum wage and as you well know the senate is currently debating the carbon released bill and now raising the minimum wage is off the table. Won't raise in the minimum wage have meant for people that you represent an eye on what is next in the fight to secure an increase. He is transforming it to go from 725. An hour and nine dollars and when he and which was going to be good first step. In raising her rage up to eighteen dollars by twenty when he arrived and already. Region percent of the American work on that pass. We need congress do its job and raise wages for the other 60% of essential workers six in Canada through our women. I'm need more money in their pocket so they can provide for their families and let our children can do better than. We know the federal coven released bill will offer assistance to millions of Americans except for one group and that is undocumented workers who are not eligible and you've argued strenuously for path to citizenship for those who harsh share in the US undocumented what SCI you dude to move to citizens ship act forward. Well we've I only our demand for. He unions include a path to citizenship we made a change of order under rumor worrying and honoring the sacrifices are essential workers by creating a citizenship or five million essential workers who've been showing up during that action endemic who remain on document in. And we police important have linked arms with our immigration movement racial just as women's groups. In demand. Comprehensive immigration form in this country and we're any use this moment. Where we showed up in record numbers in November when he should demand from elected she shall all of us. Parties Republican independent endeavor and now trying. To make sure that the eleven million undocumented families in this country ever. Ship we can't virus. If we have a workers and families excluded from public and actions and she health care in this nation and we have to raise wages. For all workers across or resign or sector including every immigrant worker. And before I let go I want to ask you about some news involving Amazon one of the biggest employers in the US should come as you know nearly 6000 Amazon warehouse workers in Alabama will be voting whether to unionize the first time this has happened that the companies his sure I'm it d.s warehouse workers do you have enough votes to form unions well listening for the future and cameras on and and for the future of the labor movements. I think he does Amazon workers represented fearlessness and courage and workers who are on the frontlines. Are showing up to work every day and doing their very best to make sure those of us who the privilege of seeing at home remote and packages. I don't mean me and I think when they are to ordinary union in the largest corporation in the world. On they must send a message of our every Amazon where her hand frankly I'll lose 33 million workers are just deny each age eighteen it's a message of hope that when you joined together you can makes things seem impossible possible and they each going to be able to counted about bargaining table and create a job that they can raise their Stanley on an expect that she will do better than based on an issue chef or tree the American labor. While a CIU international president Larry Henry thank you so much for your time for your insights. Thank you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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