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.

protester for VSCS Thrive! with a sign and his car that has a pro-VTU slogan on the back windshield

Unionized faculty and staff at the Vermont state colleges are in a fight to defend their jobs and schools, which teach working class students mainly from rural parts of the state. Last month Chancellor Jeb Spaulding announced the immediate, permanent closure of three of the six state colleges.

A line of cars coming through a coronavirus testing site in a parking lot. Site has tents.

This is a time of deep uncertainty. The coronavirus has been the leading cause of death in the United States since April 7, but scientist and doctors are only just beginning to understand it. It turns out that COVID-19 is much more than just a respiratory disease; it also attacks the brain, kidneys, heart, and blood vessels. Science, one of the world’s top academic journals, said that “the virus acts like no pathogen humanity has ever seen.”

NewsGuild members standing together in yellow, smiling holding signs with arms up

In a cataclysmic health crisis, it’s plain to see how essential the work of journalists has become. The public is turning to news media sources in record numbers, particularly online, to answer burning questions:

Crowd of UTLA strikers in red in January 2019 strike

In United Teachers Los Angeles, our 34,000-member union, we used Contract Action Teams (CAT) in every school to build up to our winning strike in January 2019.

handwritten signs "we miss you" hang on the fence outside a brick building labeled Hartford University School

My first teaching assignment was in a special education classroom in an elementary school basement; above the door in red were the words “Shelter Inside.”

I read those words every morning on my way in. The relationships inside the classroom were our shelter, and the community we built together made learning possible.

Nurses marching at Jacobi Medical Center

For most nurses and other health care workers it's been the most traumatic month of our careers. We knew we were going into this world-historic challenge with a crippled, fractured, understaffed, and under-capacity health care system. What we didn't quite realize was that there would be no real plan to protect us.

UIC picketers on sidewalk

UPDATE: On May 1 graduate employees won free summer 2020 housing in the dorms for all international students who need it. The union continued to pressure the university administration after winning its MOU earlier.

Unions at the three hospitals on the University of Washington campus asked management for protective Plexiglas barriers similar to what we are seeing at grocery stores. When management said no, we built them ourselves.

Libraries are one of the last social services to normally be open to all. Our labor affects the community health in many ways. But New Orleans library workers understood that our workplaces’ social role also made libraries a potentially massive infection site for the at-risk populations we overwhelmingly serve.

More than 50 health care workers and supporters held a socially distanced rally in front of Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center on April 15 as part of a national day of action for healthcare workers.

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