Latest COVID-19 Coverage from Labor Notes

Here is the latest reporting and analysis from Labor Notes on the COVID-19 pandemic. For organizing resources and more, click here. Want help organizing your workplace to respond to the pandemic? Email us at organize[at]labornotes[dot]org.

Workers wearing masks descend the stairs of the New York City subway.

The COVID-19 pandemic has killed nearly 25,000 New York City residents. The worst of the public health crisis may have passed, but its dire toll has triggered a second crisis. Shutting down huge swaths of the economy was necessary to save lives, but the deep freeze on economic activity has plunged the city into its worst fiscal crisis since the troubled 1970s.

Detroit bus drivers, the first essential workers in the country to strike for safety during the pandemic, pulled a wildcat work stoppage again Friday, angry over escalating violence against drivers.

A group of teachers marches on the sidewalk in downtown Andover, Massachusetts.

The pandemic has made me see more clearly why it works when workers get together to solve problems collectively.

With no public health system to access and a disorganized, inept, and neglectful response from the government, individuals have been cast out alone to deal with the pandemic. Decisions about working—and risking one’s health and safety—have become individual.

Workers at home are isolated and workers at worksites are afraid.

Our health care employer announced hundreds of unnecessary layoffs this spring. Outraged at its poorly disguised greed, we didn’t just rely on negotiations. Instead, the members of our union voted unanimously to take the fight to the streets and into the community. We spent the summer fighting back—including holding our local’s first-ever pickets.

Restaurant workers in Nashville are experimenting with new forms of organizing in response to years of management abuse and the new threat of COVID-19.

Outside the gates of Brooklyn’s P.S. 139 hung a poster with a report card for the Department of Education. Teachers frustrated with the ever-evolving plan to reopen schools had issued the DOE the following grades:

21 adults in masks outside a school. Together they hold "CAUTION" tape. Handmade signs say "100% remote start," "no mas muertes," "ready or not," "we demand safe schools," "no more martyrs for the DOE #Remote until it's safe" and "people got sick in this buidling."

The push to reopen schools and campuses is hitting educators with a brutal fact: your employer will place you in deadly danger for the sake of the economy.

You knew this already if you worked in a meatpacking plant, an Amazon warehouse, or a construction site. But until 2020 you didn’t think a school or university job might kill you.

On Friday a Cook County judge filed a partial injunction against nearly 5,500 health care workers preparing to strike the University of Illinois at Chicago’s hospital, clinics, and other campus divisions. The judge cited a “clear and present danger” to patients, reducing the number of union members who could participate in the strike.

My school district put me on administrative leave for organizing workers at my school. Then students and community members led a huge campaign that forced my reinstatement in just three days.

Educators in Andover, Massachusetts, set up lawn chairs, folding tables, and laptops in the shade of trees and next to school tennis courts and got to work on their first day of professional development August 31.

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