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.

Update 2:00 p.m. EST, March 18: Following a number of wildcat strikes bubbling up in auto plants with confirmed cases of the coronavirus, the Big Three automakers announced they will begin temporarily suspending production until at least March 30. Honda, a non-union company with several plants in North America, had already announced they were suspending production for a week at full pay.

Amazon warehouse with goods on shelves and workers in orange vests working.

Employers, like the government, have been slow to respond to the crisis. Amazon initially limited its response to its tech offices, including in Seattle, where two workers tested positive for COVID-19. Office workers were told to work from home through March, and the company stopped employees’ “non-essential” travel.

Everybody is sharing their thoughts on COVID-19, so I thought I’d share mine. The anxiety in the air even has us laid-back folks on edge.

Last week Ford mandated that most of its global white-collar workforce is to work from home indefinitely, starting yesterday. But the company is still requiring blue-collar workers to keep the assembly plants running. Ford workers are to come in even if they are in a high-risk group, such as having a respiratory disease or being older than 60.

Across the globe, workers are taking action in the face of the coronavirus, pressuring employers to boost paid sick leave, suspend punitive attendance policies, and apply safety measures. While some companies have been proactive, too many have reacted only after workers forced them to.

A worker cleaning a yellow pole with disinfectant on a NYC bus with another worker looking on. the workers are wearing orange safety vests, helmets, and transparent visors.

If there were ever a time to say, “I'll fight for someone I don't know,” this is it. If we ever meant it when we said “an injury to one is an injury to all,” now we're seeing why that's so.

The labor movement's cherished values of solidarity and siblinghood are our only chance if we don't want to see our elders die before their time.

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