Labor Day caravan held in Miami Springs to honor local frontline workers

Hope is for Congress to agree on stimulus relief package soon

The Miami Springs community is paying tribute to the healthcare heroes who have been working so tirelessly during the pandemic.

MIAMI SPRINGS, Fla. – The Miami Springs community is paying tribute to the healthcare heroes who have been working so tirelessly during the pandemic.

Rain-soaked balloons beat against cars in a caravan to celebrate South Florida workers battered by a pandemic-fueled economic storm and caught in a partisan tussle over another stimulus relief package, with Democrats supporting the Heroes Act and Republicans backing the Heals Act.

“I would like them to get together and put a bipartisan bill together like they used to in Washington DC because people are suffering,” said Jeffrey Mitchell, South Florida AFL CIO President.

On this Labor Day, amid a pandemic, it’s been a year where many became familiar with the term ‘essential workers’ to talk about our frontline community members.

“For a long time these workers just did their jobs and nobody really noticed until a pandemic and everybody knew that they needed these people to do their jobs for them to go about their daily lives,” said Mitchell.

Democrat elected officials at Monday’s event included Congresswomen Donna Shalala and Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, Miami-Dade County Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava, State Senator Jose Javier Rodriguez and State Representative Javier Fernandez.

When asked about the two stimulus packages, a spokesperson for Republican Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) told Local 10 News:

“Senator Scott is looking at every option to help individuals and small businesses across the nation that are suffering because of the coronavirus, while also making sure we aren’t bankrupting the country and leaving an unmanageable burden on future generations. The best way to do that is to get our economy re-opened and support businesses by cutting taxes and regulations.”

From healthcare and transit workers to retail clerks, union leadership hosting a news conference in Miami Springs to express gratitude.

“It has been a really hard time with the pandemic going on,” said Jackson Memorial Registered Nurse Grace Oruwari.

Added Mitchell: “We have people out of work on Labor Day, people worried sick,” people not sure how to make ends meet.

There is also concern about the compounding issues of unemployment, pending evictions and mounting food insecurity.

“This is an economic crisis that has metastasized into the worst humanitarian crisis we have seen since the Great Depression,” said Grant Thornton Chief Economist Diane Swonk.

While some local municipalities have been working to fill the vacuum with rental assistance programs and industry targeted relief packages, Swonk said it’s not enough.

“We can’t do this piecemeal, we do need national effort out there,” she said.

Added Mitchell: “Labor Day becomes a different monster during the pandemic we got to look at what needs to happen. Right now, local, state and municipality governments are having to pick up the reins because we don’t have a national plan. Without a national plan all of the good work that is happening with our legislatures down here at the local level seems to grind to a halt. We need the big picture, everybody in the country working together...Let’s push these two bills together and come up with a bill that is going to help the American people this Labor Day and beyond. Let’s get back to work, let’s get it done.”

Congress is set to take up COVID-19 relief when it resumes Tuesday following weeks of being at an impasse.

About the Author:

Christina returned to Local 10 in 2019 as a reporter after covering Hurricane Dorian for the station. She is an Edward R. Murrow Award-winning journalist and previously earned an Emmy Award while at WPLG for her investigative consumer protection segment "Call Christina."