COVID-19 is laying bare which companies and politicians actually value workers
Coronavirus continues to be not just the most important news story in the country (and the world), but the most important labor news story specifically. A record-breaking 3 million people filed for unemployment last week, for starters. Even as Republicans keep showing how much they hate workers, Congress has already passed some measures that help working people—including one surprising measure—but the next bill has to be all about the people rather than the corporations.
If you’re not sure how the coronavirus stimulus will help you, check out these resources. And below, check out more stories about work in the United States in the time of COVID-19, from companies being terrible to workers fighting back, and lessons we need to learn.
● Instacart workers are planning a strike Monday over their coronavirus working conditions. They want hazard pay, safety equipment, and expanded paid sick leave. Normally I’d say don’t cross a picket line, but in this case organizers say to go ahead. You might not want to count on your order actually arriving on time, though.
● Charter communications is giving cable techs $25 restaurant gift cards instead of hazard pay.
● “Who counts as essential?” Sarah Jaffe asks in an interview with an "essential" state worker in Pennsylvania. “But when I arrived to work I found no new rules, no guidance from anyone, everybody close together, people moving about the office from one end of the room to the other, people sharing party food, and several people coughing, one uncontrollably at one point. No changes at all,” the worker told her.
● More than 160 Boston hospital workers test positive for coronavirus. That was Thursday night. The number is higher by now.
● Gig workers and other (often misclassified) independent contractors have been left out of too many labor protections for too long. The coronavirus crisis is spotlighting how dangerous that is. The National Employment Law Project’s Rebecca Smith has policy solutions.