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.

When the Orlando Sentinel’s newsroom employees won our election in May with 81 percent voting for The NewsGuild, the organizing committee had not seen our co-workers in person for nearly two months. The election was conducted entirely by mail. Supporters watched the vote count at the National Labor Relations Board’s Tampa office by videoconference.

A line of people outside a Detroit homeless shelter

One reason today's horrific recession feels so familiar is that we're still digging out of the last one. When the housing market collapsed in 2008, 10 million people lost their homes and 9 million lost their jobs.

Nurses in Michigan protesting lack of PPE and calling for the nationalization of the healthcare system

Workers this spring were forced to find new ways to assert their rights when faced with a deadly foe and employers indifferent to their lives.

A video taken by an auto worker and obtained exclusively by Labor Notes shows a rowdy and chaotic scene inside Ford’s Dearborn, Michigan Truck Plant on Wednesday as workers refused to work after a co-worker tested positive for COVID-19.

Some stood by the lines; others simply went home.

woman in front of the back of her car, trunk open, standing with a save usps sign.

Read more here about the crisis in the postal service.

caravan of cars to support USPS in Detroit

The U.S. Postal Service is in deep trouble. The postal Board of Governors has asked Congress for $75 billion to keep the agency afloat; without it, the outgoing Postmaster General said, USPS could “run out of cash” by September.

A big drop in letters during the emergency shutdown has intensified the budget crunch, but the underlying crisis predates the pandemic. The good news is, the problem is mostly artificial—Congress created it with the stroke of a pen, and could fix it the same way. If it wanted to.

The federal government squandered the time the states spent in lockdown. We still face a national shortage of COVID-19 test kits and PPE and there is no nationwide testing or contact tracing program. The United States has 4 percent of the world’s population, but about a third of the world’s coronavirus cases.

What will happen to all the people who catch the coronavirus but never get a positive test? As states gear up to send workers back to work, the number of infections will skyrocket.

Woman with fist up amidst farmworkers on strike

Since this article was written, apple packinghouse workers at two more companies have joined the strike: at Hansen Fruit and Columbia Reach. Six worksites in Yakima County have now seen production shut down. The county has the highest rate of COVID-19 cases on the West Coast. The strikes are women-led, multigenerational, and multiracial, according to Edgar Franks of Familias Unidas por la Justicia, a local farmworkers' union. —Editors

Part 2 of a joint series in Labor Notes and Dollars & Sense on the economics of the coronavirus crisis. Part 1, “Not Simply a 'Natural Disaster,'” is here.

Pages

Subscribe to coronavirus