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U.S. Rep. Newman (IL-03) Announces Virtual Guest For President Biden’s Address To A Joint Session Of Congress

April 27, 2021

CHICAGO, IL – Today, U.S. Representative Marie Newman (IL-03) announced that Jesús Morales of UNITE HERE Local 1, Chicago’s hospitality workers’ union, has been invited to be her virtual guest for President Biden’s Address to a Joint Session of Congress. Thanks to the passage of the American Rescue Plan, laid off union workers are now able to stay on their employer health plans until the fall, providing critical relief to workers like Jesús who was struggling to pay for the daily medicine and care that his family needs. 

“Millions of union workers like Jesús saw their jobs lost to this pandemic only to see their employer health plans be taken away too. Without work and without relief from their government, these workers struggled between paying their families’ urgently needed medicine and putting food on the table,” said Congresswoman Newman. “Thanks to the American Rescue Plan, workers like Jesús are now able to stay on their employer health plans at no cost through the end of September. Our union workers have given everything to our city and country, and it’s time we honor them in return. That is why I’m proud to honor Jesús this week as my virtual guest to President Biden’s Address to a Joint Session of Congress. We will not stop fighting to ensure our workers and struggling families are receiving the relief they need to survive this pandemic.” 

“My wife had major surgery several years ago and needs daily medication. Being able to get my health insurance back through 100% free COBRA in the American Rescue Plan means that my wife can get the medicine she needs to stay alive,” said Jesús Morales. “On behalf of myself, my family and thousands of hospitality workers in Chicago, I want to thank Congresswoman Newman and President Biden for listening to us and fighting for us.” 

An executive board member for UNITE HERE Local 1, Morales worked for 33 years as a banquet server at the Drake Hotel in Chicago. In March of 2020, he was laid off as conventions were cancelled due to the pandemic. Unable to work, Morales was forced off his health care plan, facing an uphill financial battle to pay for medicine and care that his wife requires daily due to a health condition.  

In March, Congresswoman Newman helped pass the American Rescue Plan, which included a 100% subsidy of COBRA health insurance premiums to ensure that laid off workers like Jesús could remain on their employer health plans at no cost through the end of September. Thanks to the passage of President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, Morales has now been able to stay on his health plan until the fall to ensure his family can receive the care they deserve.  

Jesús Morales lives in the Garfield Ridge neighborhood with his wife and three children.