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.

Travis Watkins, chair of an Auto Workers (UAW) bargaining unit in Wyoming, Michigan was fired March 18. The charge was violating Shop Rule #2: “Assaulting, fighting, threatening, intimidating, coercing, or interfering with employees or supervision.”

Nurse engaged in activity in laboratory

A national network of rank-and-file activists from New York State Nurses Association, Michigan Nurses Association, Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals (PASNAP), Service Employees 1021, National Nurses United Chicago, and other nurse unions is organizing a National Day of Action on Tax Day, April 15.

Health care workers are encouraged to participate by taking on the actions below—or come up with your own ideas. Be creative! Other unions should contact local nurses unions to see how you can help.

Dalit sanitation worker in a PPE suit accepting trash in yellow bags by hand from the home of a coronavirus patient

Workers in South and Southeast Asia are facing challenges from the coronavirus and their governments’ responses to the crisis like job loss, being robbed of wages, and lack of control over when and how they work in a time of social distancing. Here's a round-up.

This shop floor plan where workers organize each other to protect themselves could be adopted in any workplace where workers are still on the job. It was developed by postal workers; click here to read more about how they are self-organizing.—Editors

Postal Service management has failed tremendously in handling the coronavirus pandemic. For weeks after it was clearly a public emergency, there was essentially no response at all from management. Some safety talks about personal precautions were distributed to supervisors, though from what I can tell, they were never read in most places.

Two construction workers looking down in building construction site with wooden scaffolding around them.

The Danish government has struck a historic deal with unions and employers’ associations to stop mass layoffs during the pandemic.

quarter of roulette wheel

When this is all over, will we be able to patch up the economy and get things back to normal? Trump certainly claims so. But he’s wrong.

Weak attempts to patch up the problems of capitalism—as much as the coronavirus itself—are what got us into the current economic meltdown in the first place.

Let’s define some terms. When we talk about the health of the economy, there are two parts: the “real economy,” which includes all the goods and services that we produce, and the “financial economy”: money, stock markets, banks, and credit.

A nurse holds a sign showing "NNU COVID-19 Checklist: patient properly isolated, adequate PPE for nurses, notification to staff about case, adequate staffing for patient, adequate testing, nurses properly placed on leave"

I am a registered nurse at Cook County Hospital, the safety-net hospital in Chicago and the busiest hospital in the state. The people who come to this hospital are some of the most underserved patients, mainly people of color, immigrants—many undocumented, the uninsured and underinsured, the homeless, and the incarcerated.

Amazon workers picketing in the parking lot of their warehouse.

“Quite a way to start your week off, right?”

Bekin Mehmedi was watching a long line of car protesters, all blaring their horns, drive through the gates of Amazon’s main delivery facility in Chicago. He and 20 or so workers and their supporters walked a socially distanced picket line, their fourth in six days, early on Saturday, April 4.

Farmworker in hat bent over in field, picking.

Restaurant worker and painter José Garcia says “positive thinking makes everything easier.”

He has a lot to make easier.

Prior to the coronavirus crisis, the Mexican-born Massachusetts resident was working nearly 60 hours a week. He earned $29,000 last year.

Together, he and his partner earned $49,000. On that money, they supported themselves, their young daughter, and his partner’s children from a previous relationship.

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