A Simple Shop Floor Organizing Plan Any Essential Worker Can Use

Essential workers can organize on the job for the protections they need. Photo: Jim West, jimwestphoto.com.

This shop floor plan where workers organize each other to protect themselves could be adopted in any workplace where workers are still on the job. It was developed by postal workers; click here to read more about how they are self-organizing.—Editors

1) You must talk to EVERYONE about The Plan

a. Find an “organizer” in each department (work station, aisle, shift)

b. Ideally, about one organizer per 10 co-workers

c. That’s your “organizing committee”

2) Agitate: “This pandemic is life and death. If not for you, for a co-worker, for your family, for their family, for our customers.”

3) Explain the Plan

a. Set up a text message group (WhatsApp or whatever works) for each department and for the organizing committee

b. Everyone agree to report if they have symptoms

c. Everyone agree to help investigate who was in close contact with the infected co-worker

d. Everyone who was in close contact agree to immediately self-quarantine for 14 days

e. Insist that management deep clean the facility if there is a confirmed case

f. Work out the “paperwork” later

DON’T WAIT for testing, doctor's orders, CDC/local health authorities, USPS Nurse, type of leave, notifying management).

4) Get agreement from each person, get their name, worksite, shift, and phone number for the text network.

5) Follow up. When a co-worker has symptoms,

a. Did they report to all? Did contacts self-quarantine? Did management deep clean?

b. Did management retaliate against anyone? How do you respond together?

c. Who needs to talk to whom to strengthen the solidarity?

d. Do you need to organize for a “refusal to work in dangerous conditions” if management doesn’t deep disinfect?

e. Keep the network together for the next struggle.

Jamie Partridge is a retired letter carrier and member of the Letter Carriers Branch 82 executive board.