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    Center on Policy Initiatives

CPI’s COVID-19 Response: A Message from our Executive Director

March 30, 2020

Dear Friends of CPI,  

As you know, these are difficult times. I hope that you and all the people you hold dear are doing well.  am amazed by how we as a community are finding ways to be together while apart, show up, and support each other as we all navigate the impacts of COVID-19: mutual aid groups, response funds, virtual hangouts, calling in on loved ones and community elders to name a few. We may be practicing physical distancing, but in some ways, we are less socially distant as a community. 

These are unprecedented times and our policy advocacy is more important than ever. The challenges we are facing now are not new, but are amplified in this moment by the crisis. CPI is committed to figuring out how we can make life better for San Diegans not only in this moment, but also when things “go back to normal.” 

Together with our coalition partners, we are working to ensure that working people and those most vulnerable in our communities are protected and supported. It is abundantly clear that our fights for living wages, affordable housing, access to healthcare, paid sick leave and good governance were and are the right fights to be in. We are also thinking about how to hold virtual town halls and other spaces to protect grassroots democracy. 

Our lives depend on workers who are paid very low wages and are provided limited health and safety provisions. During this public health crisis, it’s even more crucial that our local and state government protect San Diego families. Working people make our lives, our cities, and our regions function, now and beyond this crisis. 

Learn more about our COVID-19 Response at cpisandiego.org/take-action. See below for our policy recommendations for the City of San Diego, County of San Diego, and State of California.  

City of San Diego: 

  • Universal mandatory paid sick leave of at least 112 hours (14 days) for everyone who works in the City of San Diego, regardless of immigration status or employment classification.  
  • Protect and enforce workers’ rights, strictly enforce and prohibit retaliation against workers who take sick leave or who are in isolation or quarantine.  
  • Immediate moratorium on evictions and foreclosures. Rent and mortgage payments must also be frozen for as long as people are not able to work because of COVID-19 and any rent and mortgage debt accumulated during this period must be forgiven.   
  • Just cause termination policy and ensure workers facing layoffs and cut hours can return to their jobs at the same level.  
  • Ensure all workers in the City of San Diego have proper workplace health and safety measures, including access to supplies, masks, gloves, sanitizers, handwashing stations, and other personal protective equipment. Ensure workers have sufficient breaks to wash hands. 

County of San Diego: 

  • Universal mandatory paid sick leave of at least 14 days for everyone who works in the County of San Diego, regardless of immigration status. 
  • Protect and enforce workers’ rights, strictly enforce and prohibit retaliation against workers who take sick leave or who are in isolation or quarantine.
  • Immediate moratorium on evictions and foreclosures.  Rent and mortgage payments must also be frozen for as long as people are not able to work because of COVID-19 and any rent and mortgage debt accumulated during this period must be forgiven. 
  • Childcare support and benefits for workers less able to take time off during a public health crisis. 
  • Relief fund to supplement loss of income, prioritizing lower paid workers, misclassified, gig workers, non-traditional and self-employed workers, including street vendors, house cleaners, home-care and childcare workers. Fund to provide emergency rental and mortgage assistance. 
  • House all unsheltered residents. 
  • Just cause termination policy and ensure workers facing layoffs and cut hours can return to their jobs at the same level. 

State of California: 

  • Universal, mandatory paid sick leave of 14 days, with provision that during a public health emergency all workers have immediate access to sick leave. 
  • During the crisis, increase unemployment insurance to 100% of salary for lower wage workers, and to at least 80% of salary for higher income workers. Make unemployment insurance immediately available to workers who are laid off, had their hours cut or otherwise cannot work, regardless of immigration status. 
  • Increased enforcement of local paid sick leave policies, including company-wide audits and misclassification determinations. 
  • Expand paid family leave, including higher replacement rate for lower paid workers. 
  • Expand Medi-Cal coverage to all uninsured workers and their families (including those who lose job-based health insurance due to layoff) without regard to immigration status. 
  • Remove work requirements for receiving California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs). 
  • Statewide rent freeze and rent and mortgage forgiveness. 
  • Income supports to supplement loss of income, prioritizing lower paid workers, misclassified, gig workers, non-traditional and self-employed workers, including street vendors, house cleaners, homecare and childcare workers. 

We will continue our fight for working families throughout the San Diego region, including those members of our community that arspecially impacted by this emerging situationSince March 13th, all of CPI’s operations have been conducted remotely and online. Follow us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter to stay updated on the latest news and resources. 

In these difficult times, we must remember that we are one community and together, we will get through this.  

In Solidarity,  

Kyra R. Greene, PhD
Executive Director

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CPI San Diego
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Written by CPI San Diego

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MY VOTE COUNTS

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This election, we have the chance to elect 3 of the 5 Supervisors. Will you vote?