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.

Capitol building in daytime.

This story has been updated to reflect changes in the policy and political debate.

At 1:30 a.m. today, Senate and House leaders and the Trump administration reached a deal on an enormous $2 trillion proposal to dramatically expand unemployment benefits, provide direct payments to American households, give money to state governments and Native American tribes, and assist businesses reeling from the economic catastrophe unleashed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The coronavirus crisis is spurring record-breaking sales for grocery store chains, straining supply chains and exhausting employees.

Workers in Italy sitting outside a warehouse on strike in orange vests.

S.I. Cobas, or in Italian the Sindicati Interaziendali Comitati di Base (Cross-firm Base Committees) have done extensive work organizing in the logistics sector, principally in northern Italy. As their name suggests, base committees are formations at the “base” and are not part of the country’s three principal trade union federations: CGIL, CISL, and UIL.

In the light of this pandemic, it is imperative that we protect workers immediately, prevent the exploitation of this crisis by management, and consider how to use this moment to advance demands that last far beyond the coronavirus.

How do we do this? What is happening and what can we learn from each other?

Nurses performing drive-thru tests for COVID-19 at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan.

The COVID-19 pandemic is the biggest workplace issue of our lives. Across the country, it is throwing into relief the cold capitalist logic of American workplaces, where the health and safety of workers, their families, and the public is subordinate to the employers' need for profit.

This is an edited version of a piece by Leopoldo Tartaglia of the international department of the CGIL, Italy’s largest union federation. Read further down to see how Italian workers have fought for their health with widespread strikes. Thanks to Peter Olney for translation.

The Louvre's outside pyramid at sunset.

Direct action gets the goods. If your employer is still not acting like workers’ lives matter, take a page from union members who are putting muscle behind their bargaining—they're shutting the place down first.

A striking worker holds a sign saying "CWA and IBEW Demand Good Jobs at Verizon" during the 2016 Verizon strike.

The unions representing 34,000 workers at Verizon have negotiated paid leave for union members who can’t work during the COVID-19 outbreak. Will other unions fight for these benefits to protect members?

Like many health care workers, UPS drivers, and grocery workers, telephone workers are on the job as essential workers during the coronavirus outbreak.

UPDATE: A Detroit bus driver, Jason Hargrove, has died. Glenn Tolbert, president of the Detroit bus drivers local and quoted below, has tested positive for the coronavirus.

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.

Pages

Subscribe to coronavirus