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Chicago Amazon Workers Picket with Supporters—and Their Cars

Amazon workers picketing in the parking lot of their warehouse.
April 06, 2020 / Alan Maass

“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.

Posted: April 6, 2020, 7:44 pm

Undocumented Workers Hit Hard by COVID-19 Crisis

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.

Posted: April 6, 2020, 6:38 pm

Interview: Coronavirus Pandemic Inflames Anti-Asian Racism

Produce seller with his sidewalk stand in Chinatown, New York, in front of store

Labor Notes’ Saurav Sarkar spoke with New York City teacher Annie Tan on March 23 about the rise in anti-Asian racism with the emergence of the coronavirus pandemic. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Labor Notes: Can you tell me a little bit about your family background and how it connects to organizing against anti-Asian racism?

Annie Tan: I was born and raised in Chinatown and I have lived in New York City almost all my life. My family members were mostly new immigrants to America.

Posted: April 6, 2020, 3:24 pm

Fighting the Coronavirus: Service and Solidarity

Fighting the Coronavirus: Service and Solidarity

Meet Shekina Givens. She is an AFGE member and lead transportation security officer for the Transportation Security Administration and works at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Airport. She and her co-workers are in constant danger of getting COVID-19, but they show up for work to protect the traveling public every day. Learn more about her and other TSA workers during these dangerous times. 

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 04/06/2020 - 09:08
Posted: April 6, 2020, 1:08 pm

Working-Class People Hold Society Together: Class and COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted class inequalities. Commentators in the US, UK, and Australia are acknowledging that working-class people are more likely to suffer as a result of both the virus and the measures put in place to contain its … Continue reading
Posted: April 6, 2020, 11:42 am

The Steward's Guide to COVID-19

April 04, 2020 / United Electrical Workers

The following is a lightly edited version of a special edition of the UE Steward, the United Electrical Workers’ monthly publication for stewards. Labor Notes is reprinting it under the terms of the UE’s reuse policy and in our shared interest of promoting democratic, rank-and-file unionism. For more coronavirus resources for workers, visit

Posted: April 4, 2020, 6:43 pm

Will COVID-19 Be Our Triangle Fire?

Garment workers march in protest.
April 03, 2020 / David Unger

The world is in the grips of a horrible pandemic that will touch us all. But as has almost always been the case, the burden of COVID-19 will disproportionately fall on marginalized and working people. In New York, now the epicenter of the U.S. crisis, we watch as the crisis pushes the stories of previously invisible workers—the grocery store clerks and delivery persons, transit workers and hospital orderlies—squarely into the public conversation.

Posted: April 3, 2020, 5:23 pm

Economy Loses 701,000 Jobs in March; Unemployment Jumps to 4.4%

Economy Loses 701,000 Jobs in March; Unemployment Jumps to 4.4%

The U.S. economy lost 701,000 jobs in March, and the unemployment rate jumped by nearly a point to 4.4%, according to figures released Friday morning by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

In response to the March job numbers, AFL-CIO Chief Economist William Spriggs said:

Though the recent spikes in unemployment claims were not captured in the March report, we experienced our steepest monthly decline in payrolls in this report since March 2009. Especially hard hit were the lowest wage sectors of the economy: leisure and hospitality and brick and mortar sections of the retail industry. Going forward, based on the unemployment claim numbers, things will get worse.

He also tweeted:

Bad news, @BLS_gov reports drop of 701,000 in March (for the week that ended before the increase in crowd reduction orders) boosting the unemployment rate to 4.4%. The household survey reported 1.048 million increase in temporary layoff versus a smaller 172,000 permanent job loss

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) April 3, 2020

The average hourly earnings gain of 3.1% over last year is tainted because of the 701,000 jobs lost, 417,000 were in food and drinking service establishments and another 29,000 in accommodations. Leisure & hospitality is the lowest wage industry. @AFLCIO

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) April 3, 2020

Payrolls dropped (moving leftward on the graph) in almost all industries, with the biggest losses in leisure & hospitality. Higher wage industries (moving up in the graph) had fewer job losses. This change, in part boosted average wage growth to 3.1% over last year. @AFLCIO

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) April 3, 2020

There was a big spike in the household survey of people reporting being on temporary layoff (the aqua colored line at the bottom) compared to permanent job losses (darker blue line). @AFLCIO

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) April 3, 2020

The biggest job loss, 459,000 jobs, was in leisure & hospitality. The frustration is that back in January and February it was well known that it may become necessary to limit public gatherings and to shut down this industry. So, this is not a shock. It is poor planning. @AFLCIO

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) April 3, 2020

For those who do not understand American workers, and think that boosting the replacement rate of wages lost by increasing unemployment insurance, note that when Americans see massive job losses, they stop leaving jobs. This current job loss is planned, we have to plan better.

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) April 3, 2020

The monthly labor report is two separate surveys, one of households and one of payrolls from establishments. So, they don't have to always agree. The establishment survey reported a drop of 701,000 people on payroll, households (shown here) reported 1,223,000 people lost jobs

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) April 3, 2020

Last month's biggest job losses were in leisure and hospitality (-459,000), health care and social assistance (-61,000), professional and business services (-52,000), retail trade (-46,000), construction (-29,000), other services (-24,000), manufacturing (-18,000) and mining (-6,000). Federal government employment added 18,000 jobs, primarily 2020 Census workers. Employment in other major industries—including wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, information, and financial activities—changed little over the month.

In March, unemployment rates rose among all major worker groups. The rate was 14.3% for teenagers, 6.7% for blacks, 6.0 % for Hispanics, 4.1% for Asians, 4.0% for adult men, 4.0% for adult women and 4.0% for whites.

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) showed little change in March and accounted for 15.9% of the unemployed.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 04/03/2020 - 12:24
Posted: April 3, 2020, 4:24 pm

New Guidelines Aren’t Enough. Maximus CEO Bruce Caswell Needs to Meet with Workers Now

Maximus workers are calling on CEO Bruce Caswell to meet with members of their organizing committee immediately.

Posted: April 3, 2020, 4:16 pm

How Auto Parts Workers Shut Their Plant

Union members at a Detroit-area auto parts plant refused to work March 19 and 20 after learning that a management employee had tested positive for the coronavirus. Angry first-shift workers gathered outside the plant and refused to enter.

The story is a textbook example of management indifference and worker solidarity. “It was one of those moments I am proud to be in a union,” said union chairman Trent DeSenglau. “This solidified us for sure. I have never seen so much support ever.”

Posted: April 3, 2020, 4:13 pm

Big Win on Back Pay: Worker Wins

Big Win on Back Pay: Worker Wins

Our latest roundup of worker wins begins with a victory on back pay for NABET-CWA workers at CNN and includes numerous examples of working people organizing, bargaining and mobilizing for a better life. 

NABET-CWA Workers Win $76 Million in Back Pay from CNN: Locals 11 and 31 of NABET-CWA have negotiated one of the largest back pay settlements in the history of the NLRB. CNN is required to bay $76 million to hundreds of broadcast technicians who were fired when CNN terminated a subcontract with Team Video Services. NABET-CWA President Charlie Braico said: “After more than 15 years, this settlement agreement finally delivers justice for workers who experienced serious hardship in their lives due to CNN’s union-busting practices. This incredible settlement in workers’ favor should send a very clear message to CNN and to other employers that union-busting is illegal and has consequences.”

University of California-Santa Cruz Trades Workers End Strike with New Contract: Dozens of carpenters, plumbers, electricians and other trades workers at the University of California, Santa Cruz, ended a strike with victory as they ratified a new contract representing for the 49 AFSCME Local 3299 members. Electrician Joe Baxter said: “I’m just really proud of our people that we held the line and were able to get a fair and good contract. In the end, I felt like UCSC came through and gave us a fair contract.”

King County, Washington, Water District Workers Win New Contract: Members of the Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 302 capped months of negotiations with a victory as the commissioners of King County Water District 19 approved a union contract, the first in the district's history. Shop steward Dominic Jovanovich said: “It was definitely tense at first, but we knew our supporters would come out for us and show solidarity because we know that organized labor is strong together. We were happy the board made the right decision and we’re excited to move forward.”

Joliet Marijuna Workers Join UFCW: A majority of the 95 employees at the Cresco Labs marijuana cultivation facility in Joliet, Illinois, voted to join the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW). This is the first successful organizing drive in Illinois since recreational marijuana use was legalized. The workers are seeking better pay and more comprehensive health benefits.

Sports Illustrated Editorial Employees Vote for NewsGuild Representation: More than 90% of the editorial employees have voted to join the The NewGuild of New York-CWA. The new unit covers some 80 writers, editors, producers and other editorial staff in print, digital and video. Top issues for the workers are job security, severance, layoff protections, pay equity, workplace safety, diversity in hiring and advancement, and a voice in editorial strategy. Senior writer Jenny Vrentas said: "As journalists, we hold the teams and athletes we cover accountable. It is our responsibility to do the same in our own workplace. We are unionizing to ensure that Sports Illustrated is a safe, inclusive place to work, where all employees are treated equally and can continue to perform our jobs at a high level.”

Google Cafeteria Workers Join UNITE HERE: Approximately 2,300 cafeteria workers at Google campuses in the California Bay Area have voted to be represented by UNITE HERE. The workers are technically employed by a subcontractor, Compass Group, through its subsidiary, Bon Appétit Management Co. Compass and UNITE HERE are negotiating the first contract for the unit.

NewsGuild Members at The New Republic Ratify Ambitious Contract: Newsroom workers at The New Republic unionized in 2018 in the wake of the #MeToo movement. Now those workers have secured their first contract, which contains ambitious diversity provisions, progressive policy to prevent sexual harassment, and industry-leading intellectual property and privacy rights. Unit Chair Alex Shephard said: “This contract solidifies an important goal behind why we organized: To protect and live the values that The New Republic has espoused in its pages for over 100 years. The strength of our union is reflected in this contract, and I’m proud to have stood alongside fellow Guild members in crafting an agreement that fosters an environment of collaboration, transparency, growth, and sustainability.” 

St. Louis Metro Workers Secure New Contract: The negotiations took months, but the members of Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 788 won a new contract from St. Louis Metro Transit. Some 1,500 working people voted to approve the new contract, which includes higher starting pay, protections against rising insurance costs, and increased pay for night and weekend work. Overall, wages and benefits for the workers will see an increase of $26 million over three years. Reggie Howard, president of Local 788, said: “It was a long fight. But we feel really good about it.”

USW Members at Clearwater Paper Agree on New Contract: Workers at Clearwater Paper have been working without a contract since 2017. The members of United Steelworkers (USW) Local 712 approved an agreement that would cover more than 800 employees. Contract negotiations have been long and contentious with the membership almost unanimously rejecting what Clearwater previously said was its last and best offer. The new contract runs through 2025.

Food and Water Workers' Union Voluntarily Recognized: Nearly 80 workers at Food & Water Action (and its affiliated organization, Food & Water Watch) from around the country voted to be represented by the Nonprofit Professionals Employee Union (NPEU), IFTPE Local 70. Management will voluntarily recognize the new unit. The workers said: “As an organization, we advocate for union power in the WATER Act and a real Green New Deal because we recognize the critical importance of protecting union labor and not leaving workers behind in our fight for a better world. We believe that a union will allow us to truly live up to our values; will give us a tangible way to promote diversity, equity and inclusion in our workplace; and will show the rest of the world how truly invested we are in the right of workers to make a fair living on a livable planet.”

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 04/03/2020 - 12:03
Posted: April 3, 2020, 4:03 pm

’No words for this’: 10 million workers file jobless claims in just two weeks

Unemployment claims soared to a record-smashing 6.6million last week, the Labor Department reported, more than double the previous week, signaling more economic pain from the coronavirus pandemic. The rush to claim unemployment benefits occurred as the number of people testing positive for the coronavirus rose above 200,000 and government measures to contain the epidemic shut down increasing […]
Posted: April 3, 2020, 2:29 pm

Mnuchin Is Now Trying to Destroy Airline Workers’ Job Protections

This bipartisan agreement for workers-first relief could go off the rails now. At the eleventh hour, Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) tried to sabotage the program by requiring equity stakes in exchange for the payroll grants, i.e. “warrants.” A last-minute compromise to preserve relief for workers made such warrants entirely discretionary. On Capitol Hill, that’s what’s […]
Posted: April 3, 2020, 2:02 pm

So You Want a General Strike? Here’s What It Would Take.

You know that things are getting serious when #GeneralStrike starts trending on Twitter. It happened last week, when Donald Trump was publicly mulling the idea of sending Americans back to work by Easter, a move that would imperil countless lives. A general strike has long held a strong utopian allure. But what would it take […]
Posted: April 3, 2020, 1:49 pm

New COVID-19 Resources For Workers

We have been updating our COVID-19 resource page with new resources to address common questions and concerns that CWA members have as the pandemic continues to affect every aspect of our lives.

Posted: April 2, 2020, 7:54 pm

IUE-CWA Members Push GE to Manufacture Ventilators In-House and Improve Safety

On Monday, IUE-CWA members who work at General Electric issued a set of demands, calling on GE to use excess capacity to manufacture much-needed ventilators.

Posted: April 2, 2020, 7:46 pm

News Outlets Need Support to Continue Providing Life-Saving Coverage

The NewsGuild-CWA is urging Congress to adopt provisions in its next stimulus package that will protect life-saving news operations from devastation.

Posted: April 2, 2020, 7:31 pm

Maximus Call Center Workers Demand Meeting to Address COVID-19 Safety Concerns

More than 10,000 Maximus workers at 11 call centers work in close quarters helping Americans get healthcare support.

Posted: April 2, 2020, 7:24 pm

President Trump Should Keep His Promise to Keep Airline Workers Employed

The grants for the airline industry in the coronavirus relief act that Congress passed last week are supposed to fund paychecks and benefits for two million hourly workers.

Posted: April 2, 2020, 7:18 pm

CWA Healthcare Workers on the Front Lines of the COVID-19 Crisis

Hospitalizations are soaring, and facilities are suffering from extreme shortages of protective equipment, ventilators, tests, and healthcare staff.

Posted: April 2, 2020, 7:10 pm

In Memoriam – April 2, 2020

CWA has established a memorial page for members who have lost their lives to COVID-19.

Posted: April 2, 2020, 6:36 pm

World War II: When the Government Protected All Essential Workers

Strikes, work stoppages, and protests this week at Amazon, Instacart, Whole Foods, and other workplaces may not have done much to shut down the nation’s stores and warehouses, but they sent America a very loud and potent message none the less.

The thousands of men and women who pick and pack at hundreds of giant fulfillment centers, the millions who stand behind retail counters, and the legion of gig workers tasked with delivering food and medicine to your doorstep now stand at the vital heart of the world’s largest economy.

Posted: April 2, 2020, 6:31 pm

In Memoriam: Union Members Lost in COVID-19 Pandemic

In Memoriam: Union Members Lost in COVID-19 Pandemic

As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads across the United States, our sisters, brothers and friends in the labor movement are among the first casualties. It is important for us to work together during this crisis to prevent further deaths. It is important to thank those who are doing the work to keep us safe and fed. It is important to remember those who we lost because of the coronavirus.

This list includes those deaths we have currently learned of. If you aware of additional union members we should include on this list, please send details to and we will add them to the list.

Rolondo “Sonny” Aravena of New York, Communications Workers of America: "Rolando 'Sonny' Aravena passed away on Sunday, March 29, due to COVID-19. It was the day of his twin daughters' 10th birthday. Sonny left behind his wife Melody Aravena and their five children: Amberly, Jayden, Ethan, Ameera and Olivia." His co-worker Marlon Escobar said: “He came from a big and loving community. People from a lot of different places all knew and loved him.”

Mark Blum of New York, SAG-AFTRA and Actors' Equity: "Though he was perhaps best known for the 1985 film 'Desperately Seeking Susan,' in which he starred alongside Madonna and Rosanna Arquette, he most recently appeared in supporting TV roles on the HBO series 'Succession,' the Netflix drama 'You' and Amazon's 'Mozart in the Jungle.' He was a staple in the New York theater community, frequently appearing on Broadway, including the revival of 'Twelve Angry Men,' though he appeared off Broadway much more often." SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris said: “This is a painful loss to our SAG-AFTRA family. Mark Blum understood that all performers working in this industry share the same employers and that our strength depends on our unity. He was a visionary. Mark will be deeply missed, and our hearts go out to his wife, Janet Zarish, his friends and all of his loved ones.”

Alejandro Bustamante of Yonkers, New York, Transport Workers: "The union sadly announces the passing of Alejandro Bustamante, a school bus driver for the First Mile Square School Bus Co. in Yonkers. Brother Bustamante is the 11th Local 100 member, and first from our School Bus Division, to die of the Coronavirus plague."

Raul Clarke of New York, Transport Workers: TWU Local 100 President Tony Utano said: “I offer my deepest condolences to all of our Local 100 members at Big Bus here in New York and across the country. I can only hope and pray that this dark cloud over our country passes quickly.”

Priscilla Carrow of New York, Communications Workers of America: Priscilla was a member of CWA Local 1180 who worked at Elmhurst Hospital.

Oliver Cyrus of Brooklyn, New York, Transport Workers: "We have lost a second union brother to the coronavirus. [Manhattan and Bronx Surface Transit Operating Authority] Bus Operator Oliver Cyrus out of the Manhattanville Depot passed away today. Local 100 Vice President Richard Davis, who has known Brother Cyrus for most of his 21 years on the job, said he was 'a quiet, humble man. He was well liked by all his co-workers. The workers at Manhattanville are all very upset. There's a somber mood at the depot.'"

Karisma Dargan of New York, Communications Workers of America: Karisma was a member of CWA Local 1182 who worked in the New York City Police Department's Traffic Enforcement District.

Oscar Davila of Los Angeles, Boilermakers: "Nineteen years ago—just four years after emigrating to the U.S. from Mexico—Oscar Davila was working a job to nowhere in the Los Angeles area when he heard about the Boilermakers from an unlikely source—an Ironworker. That conversation changed the direction of his life. Since then, Davila, president and acting business manager of Los Angeles’ Local 92, has worked hard and smart, with both determination and ingenuity."

Larry Edgeworth of New York, NABET-CWA: Larry was a member of NABET-CWA Local 51011 who worked at NBC News.

Scott Elijah of New York, Transport Workers: In addition to his work for New York City Transit, Elijah was pastor of the Bethany AME Church in Yonkers. President Utano said: "I wish I had the words to say to bring comfort to Brother Elijah’s family, his friends and co-workers in Track. But I don’t. I can only wish that the support our union will bring to his family now and into the future will bring them strength in their moment of grief."

Alan Finder of New York, The NewsGuild-CWA: Alan was a member of TNG-CWA Local 31003 who worked at The New York Times.

Garrett Goble of New York, Transport Workers: "A viewing will be held [April 3] for hero Train Operator Garrett Goble, who gave his life serving the people of New York City."

Lev Golubov of New York, Transport Workers: "The Local 100 Car Equipment Department has lost its second union brother to the coronavirus scourge. Road Car Inspector Lev Golubov, 58, died on April 5, 2020 after being hospitalized with the virus on March 24. He had seven years on the job at Corona Barn."

Jason Hargrove of Detroit, Michigan, Amalgamated Transit Union: Passed after coming in contact with an infected person on his bus route. He posted in a video before his passing: "Ya’ll need to take this serious. This is real."

Ernesto Hernandez of New York, Transport Workers: Transit Authority Surface Vice President J.P. Patafio called Hernandez "a kind man who was loved and respected by his co-workers and [he was a] hard worker. His death is a shock to us all."

Araceli Buendia Ilagan of Miami, nurses union, SEIU: Roy Buendia said: “My dearest sister, we admired you for your dedication on your profession….You’re a true ‘hero’ in this fight against COVID-19.”

ARon Jordan of Boyd County, Kentucky, Bricklayers: "Sarah Jordan wants you to know her father’s name. She wants you to know his face. She wants you to know that the father of seven—and grandfather to seven more—had a kind heart, an unrelenting sense of humor and a passion for glam-bands like KISS. She wants you to know he loved his wife and their home in Ashland, Kentucky. Most importantly, Sarah Jordan wants you to know that her dad, ARon Jordan, just 49 years old and in otherwise good health, died Tuesday after testing positive for the novel coronavirus."

Leilani Jordan of Largo, Maryland, United Food and Commercial Workers: "Jordan’s mother, Zenobia Shepherd, tried to explain the risks of working. But she said Jordan, who had a disability that caused 'cognitive delays,' impaired her vision and left her reliant on a service dog, probably did not fully understand the potential dangers of the coronavirus. And her daughter’s desire to help others, Shepherd said, was overpowering."

Rakkhon Kim of New Jersey, National Association of Letter Carriers: "NALC is deeply saddened to learn that 50-year-old letter carrier Rakkhon Kim, a member of Branch 36 in New York City, passed away Wednesday, March 25, from complications related to COVID-19. Brother Kim was a resident of Northvale, New Jersey, and he worked at the West Farms Station of the Bronx, New York, Post Office. He recently celebrated his 23-year anniversary as a letter carrier in November."

Frank Leong of New York City, National Association of Letter Carriers: "Sixty-three-year-old letter carrier Frank Leong, a member of Branch 36 in New York City, passed away recently from complications related to COVID-19. Brother Leong was a 25-year letter carrier who worked at the Church Street Station in Manhattan. NALC mourns with Brother Leong’s family, friends, co-workers and members of Branch 36."

Joseph Madore of Rocky Hill, Connecticut, Amalgamated Transit Union: Madore, a member for two years, was a paratransit operator for First Transit.

Ellis Marsalis of New Orleans, American Federation of Musicians: Marsalis was a pianist and educator who put four musician sons on a path toward successful careers in music as well as teaching many students over decades. New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said: “Ellis Marsalis was a legend. He was the prototype of what we mean when we talk about New Orleans jazz.”

Patrick Patoir of Coney Island, New York, Transport Workers: TWU Local 100 Vice President Shirley Martin, who worked with Patoir for 29 years: "Patrick was one of the most beautiful souls I have ever known. He was always the first to help. If you wanted something done, ask Patrick. Everyone at Pitkin is in mourning. Many of his co-workers where in tears when they found out." Patrick’s brother, Wendell, is a Machinist at the Coney Island Wheel and Axle Shop. Patrick leaves behind his grieving wife and four children.

Peter Petrassi of Long Island City, New York, Transport Workers: Interim New York City Transit President Sarah Feinberg said: "Our hearts are absolutely broken. Peter was a vital member of our team, and a valued friend. We are honored to have worked with him, and our thoughts are with his family and loved ones."

Isaac Robinson of Detroit, Teamsters: Robinson served the state of Michigan as a representative in the Metro Detroit area. Prior to contracting the virus, he led the fight in Wayne County to protect the most vulnerable from the outbreak. He called for a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures, formed a Coronavirus Urban Response and Workers' Rights task force, and fought for utility rights.

Dez-Ann Romain of Brooklyn, New York, School Administrators: Allison Farrington, principal of Research and Service High School in Brooklyn, said: “She loved her kids, she loved her community, she loved service. You could see it in how she and her students would look at each other. I can’t imagine what they are dealing with now.”

Scott Ryan of Everett, Washington, Amalgamated Transit Union: ATU International President John Costa said: “The tragic reality of this devastating and deadly pandemic has now taken the life of one of our own. I hope the entire continent will join us in a moment of silence tonight at 7:10 p.m. ET to remember Local 1576 shop steward Scott Ryan, who was just 41 years old. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Brother Ryan and his sisters and brothers of Local 1576 in Lynnwood, Washington.”

Caridad Santiago of New York, Transport Workers: IB ImageStations Division Vice President Lynwood Whichard said Santiago's passing is a "terrible loss to the Local 100 family. She was a wonderful mother, loved by everyone. We are all praying for her family to get through this time of grief."

Richard Steward-Johnson of New York, Communications Workers of America: Richard worked as a parking production assistant in New York. He also was a musician and actor who worked on movies like "Crackdown Big City Blues" and "The Prince of Tides."

Warren Tucker of New York, Transport Workers: IB ImageStations MTA Bus Vice President Peter Rosconi said that Tucker's passing was "tough to take. All of MTA is in mourning." Division Vice Chair Mike Capocci said, "He was such a sweetheart. This is such a shame."

Elton Washington of Everett, Washington, Machinists: Elton's son, E.J., wrote of his father: “My dad loved his family and friends but he really loved my mom. That was his best friend, and I know that he’s back with her and they’re both watching me.”

Four autoworkers (names withheld), UAW: UAW President Rory Gamble: "Sadly, with every one of these messages I write, there is always tragic news to deliver. Today, we lost a committee person at the FCA Warren [Michigan] Stamping Plant; a member who worked at AK Steel in Dearborn, Michigan; a brother from GT Technologies in Toledo, Ohio, and a sister who worked at the Department of Corrections in Detroit, Michigan."

An autoworker (name withheld) from Wayne, Michigan, UAW: President Rory Gamble said: "I’m very sad to report that we had one more UAW member fall to the virus yesterday, from Ford Michigan Assembly in Wayne, Michigan. I want to extend our sincere sympathies to family and friends."

An autoworker (name withheld) from Sterling Heights, Michigan, UAW: Gamble said: "Today, I am so sorry to report that one of our members at FCA Transport in Sterling Heights, Michigan, has died from the virus. I, along with Vice President Cindy Estrada and the entire International Executive Board extend our heartfelt sympathies and prayers to our dear brother’s family and friends."

Two autoworkers (names withheld) from Dearborn, Michigan, UAW: Gamble said: "We have been notified today that two more members of our UAW family have fallen to the virus. One member worked at Ford Motor Company's Dearborn Stamping [plant] and a skilled trades brother who worked at the Ford Data Center in Dearborn, Michigan. Our prayers and support go out to their families and communities."

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 04/02/2020 - 10:37
Posted: April 2, 2020, 2:37 pm

Premature T-Mobile Merger Closing is an End Run Around the California Public Utility Commission

T-Mobile is trying to do an end run around the California Public Utility Commission (CPUC) approval process, declaring victory on their website for the proposed T-Mobile/Sprint merger, before the Commission completes its process.

Posted: April 2, 2020, 12:57 pm

NewsGuild: Life-saving News Needs a Stimulus

The NewsGuild-CWA is urging Congress to adopt provisions in its next stimulus package that will protect life-saving news operations from devastation.

Posted: April 2, 2020, 12:51 pm

Shut It All Down Now!

More unions are demanding that all non-essential workplaces be shut down, to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

On a Labor Notes webinar March 30, essential workers pleaded with everyone else to please stay home.

Of course, that requires compensation.

Posted: April 1, 2020, 6:49 pm

A Worker Agenda Against Coronavirus

This week and last, Labor Notes invited labor leaders and organizers to talk via Zoom about what we can do to organize during this pandemic. These are the beginning steps we came up with:

Posted: April 1, 2020, 6:17 pm

Organizing without a Union During the Coronavirus / Organizándose sin sindicato durante el coronavirus

SPREAD OUT written on a sign above a road with pillars in the background.

Workers’ health and safety matter more than anything, but workers are being forced to choose between their income and their health. It is right and necessary to be angry about how you and your co-workers are being treated.

Almost 200 people joined last night’s video call to hear from nonunion workers in agriculture, grocery, transit, and hair styling. This was Labor Notes’ first bilingual webinar! Thanks to Cesar Boc and Henry Boc for interpreting from Spanish to English.

Posted: April 1, 2020, 5:26 pm

On the Front Lines: What Working People Are Doing This Week

On the Front Lines: What Working People Are Doing This Week
What Working People Are Doing This Week

Welcome to our regular feature, a look at what the various AFL-CIO unions and other working family organizations are doing across the country and beyond. The labor movement is big and active—here's a look at the broad range of activities we're engaged in this week.

Actors' Equity:

We are proud to do our part in support of the actors & stage managers out of work due to COVID-19, and have established the #CurtainUpFund. We hope that anyone who is able to support @TheActorsFund's vital social services and financial aid will join us -

— Actors' Equity (@ActorsEquity) March 24, 2020


We've been requesting better protection for TSA officers since January.

We urge all agencies to follow TSA's example and take the necessary steps to protect front-line workers. #COVID19 #1u via @hugomartin @latimes

— AFGE (@AFGENational) March 30, 2020


In Arizona, paramedic Seth Cribb and his co-workers, members of AFSCME Local 2960, wait.

“There is a sense that it’s the calm before the storm.” But when the storm hits his community, those on the #COVIDfrontlines with Seth will need the proper equipment to fight this pandemic.

— AFSCME ✊🏽 (@AFSCME) March 31, 2020

Air Line Pilots Association:

Thank you to the House and the Senate for putting #aviation frontline workers first and passing the #CARESAct! Join us in sending a #ThankYou note to your Members of Congress:

— ALPA (@WeAreALPA) March 27, 2020

Alliance for Retired Americans:

#PandemicProfiteering will continue unless we do something. Sign our petition to demand that Congress takes action to make sure greedy pharmaceutical corporations don't do this during the Coronavirus outbreak:

— Alliance Retirees (@ActiveRetirees) March 30, 2020

Amalgamated Transit Union:

#Transit workers are heroes, too — and we need to get them protected #COVID19 #FrontlineHeroes

— ATU, Transit Union (@ATUComm) March 31, 2020

American Federation of Musicians:

Learn more about expanded unemployment—including benefits for 1099 workers.

— AFM (@The_AFM) March 31, 2020

American Federation of Teachers:

We are proud to announce the launch of, a new site to help families & educators adapt to online learning due to COVID19. A free collection of the best online learning experiences & activities for kids curated by @CommonSense & organized by grade&subject.

— AFT (@AFTunion) March 31, 2020

American Postal Workers Union:

👏 A round of applause to our postal workers, health care workers, grocery workers and other front line fighters! 👏 #ClapBecauseWeCare #APWUnited

— APWU National (@APWUnational) March 30, 2020

Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance:

The #2020census counts people where they “eat and sleep most of the time,” so incarcerated folks will be counted at the location of their prison, not their residential address.

Check out for more info#CountUsIn #AAPI2020

— Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO (@APALAnational) March 30, 2020

Association of Flight Attendants-CWA:

Airline relief is structured to put #WorkersFirst. From the UK to Denmark, countries are using government aid to keep people in their jobs w/ the continued paychecks they’ve built their lives around. Don’t let Sec. Mnuchin screw it up. Watch @AliVelshi & @sheelahk discuss w/ us.

— AFA-CWA (@afa_cwa) March 29, 2020

Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers:

The @BCTGM is deeply saddened to announce the passing of our President @DavidBDurkee.

Forever a union organizer, he often quoted Mother Jones. Today he would urge us all to: “Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living.” Our full statement:

— BCTGM International (@BCTGM) March 31, 2020


Check out this special edition IBB Update with info and resources regarding the COVID-19 pandemic: Please forward and share! To receive future issues of the IBB Update straight to your email, subscribe here:

— Boilermakers Union (@boilermakernews) March 26, 2020


In Canada, brothers and sisters of our building trades union are also donating extra masks to support frontline workers: #1u #solidarity #coronavirus #COVID19

— Bricklayers Union (@IUBAC) March 31, 2020

Coalition of Black Trade Unionists:

It is with tremendous sadness that we inform the CBTU family of the passing of Rev. Joseph Lowery, a civil rights legend and a loyal friend of CBTU and unions. He is irreplaceable. R.I.P. great warrior. Your feet can rest now. #RestNowJoeLow #CivilRights

— CBTU (@CBTU72) March 28, 2020

Coalition of Labor Union Women:

Equal Pay Day 2020: a day recognizing when the average woman in the United States will have finally earned what her male peer earned during the 2019 calendar year. #EqualPay

— CLUW National (@CLUWNational) March 31, 2020

Communications Workers of America:

.@ATT made the right decision to cancel stock buybacks & agree to boost pay during this crisis. Let's restore balance to our economy & ensure that recovery money benefits working people & doesn't just go into the pockets of CEO's and hedge fund managers.

— CWA (@CWAUnion) March 31, 2020

Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO:

Are you a professional who has lost work due to #COVID19? Here's how you access economic relief from the #CARESAct

— Department for Professional Employees (@DPEaflcio) March 31, 2020

Electrical Workers:

"Nobody knows how long this crisis is going to go on, and offering these lights is a great, out-of-the-box way to help.”

— IBEW (@IBEW) March 30, 2020

Fire Fighters:

RT @TheVaPFF: COVID-19 added to list of reportable diseases under Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act of 2009 - @IAFFNewsDesk

— IAFF (@IAFFNewsDesk) March 30, 2020

Heat and Frost Insulators:

This is the latest update (March 27) from CPWR concerning COVID-19. Please share this with your Insulators Brothers and Sisters, families and friends.

— Insulators Union (@InsulatorsUnion) March 30, 2020

International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers:

During this crisis, Local 21 members are showing the value of public service. This is especially true of our union siblings working in healthcare, who are extremely vulnerable right now. We can only protect all of us if we protect frontline workers.

— IFPTE Local 21 (@IFPTE21) March 31, 2020

International Labor Communications Association:

Historical perspective via our board member @chelseaconnor who leads this comms shop

— Labor Communications (@ILCAonline) March 25, 2020


Read General President Eric Dean's remarks in Chicago-based @inthesetimesmag about the impact of #COVID-19 on the construction industry. #COVID19 #COVID2019

— Ironworkers. (@TheIronworkers) March 27, 2020

Jobs With Justice:

Help us continue to hold bad actors like @amazon accountable during the #COVID19 pandemic.

Sign up and become a member of our #UnifiedAction Team to receive more specific actions you can do from home on behalf of working people ✊

— Jobs With Justice (@jwjnational) March 31, 2020


#LIUNA on CARES Act: Response package is a step forward but does not address many critical issues.

— LIUNA (@LIUNA) March 30, 2020

Labor Council for Latin American Advancement:

Farmworkers continue to work the fields lacking proper protections, vital safety information and training. They play an essential role in our nation’s food supply chain. LCLAA supports all efforts aimed at their protections and safety! Si se puede! #Trabajadoras #CesarChavezDay

— LCLAA (@LCLAA) March 31, 2020


Today is #EqualPayDay and we can’t forget the fact that women EACH lose an average of $10,000+ to the wage gap each year – the equivalent of several months of rent. Amidst the #COVID19 pandemic, too many families are scrambling to be able to pay rent tomorrow.

— Machinists Union ✈️🚊🚀 (@MachinistsUnion) March 31, 2020

Marine Engineers' Beneficial Association:

USNS MERCY in San Pedro on Friday. M.E.B.A., MM&P & SIU civilian mariners make this vessel go! 1,000 beds on board will help relieve area hospitals dealing with the COVID-19 crisis.

— M.E.B.A. (@MEBAUNION) March 30, 2020

Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO:

COVID-19 | Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO
The Metal Trades Department has posted new guidance regarding COVID-19 in Oregon and Washington State and guidance from the Department of Homeland Security. Visit the COVID-19 page to download the files.

— Metal Trades Dept. (@metaltradesafl) March 24, 2020

Mine Workers:

We must keep our miners, their families and communities safe! Time for @MSHA_DOL to act! #wearestillworking #protectus

— United Mine Workers (@MineWorkers) March 26, 2020

Musical Artists:

AGMA members impacted by the #COVID19 pandemic qualify for government economic support. Here’s an overview of how to access your benefits. Contact AGMA for more information. #1u #AGMAendures

— AGMA (@AGMusicalArtist) March 27, 2020

National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians-CWA:


— NABET-CWA (@NABETCWA) March 30, 2020

National Association of Letter Carriers:

Episode 6 of You Are the Current Resident Podcast is out! Executive VP Renfroe gives an update on the COVID-19 pandemic.

Listen here: #YATCRPod

— Letter Carriers (@NALC_National) March 27, 2020

National Day Laborer Organizing Network:

Immigrants, we get the job done!

Now let's make sure all immigrant workers are included in local and state responses.#WorkerMigrantJustice@chefjoseandres

— NDLON (@NDLON) March 28, 2020

National Domestic Workers Alliance:

The #COVID19 crisis is impacting domestic workers worldwide, and workers everywhere are organizing for better protections.

— Domestic Workers (@domesticworkers) March 31, 2020

National Nurses United:

THIS is why it is urgent to #ProtectNurses.

Sign the petition: #COVID19

— NationalNursesUnited (@NationalNurses) March 30, 2020

National Taxi Workers Alliance:

Here is our latest eblast on resources available to drivers.

***NYC Uber drivers can apply for unemployment benefits NOW***

Please click link for info on what’s available for all drivers - yellow, green, app

And call our office with any questions.

— NY Taxi Workers (@NYTWA) March 31, 2020

The NewsGuild-CWA:

Gannett’s furloughs jeopardize the public’s health. They should reconsider & seek support for news operations that are essential during the pandemic. We’d support them in that — with conditions that protect workers & strengthen publications. @CWAUnin #1u

— NewsGuild (@newsguild) March 30, 2020

NFL Players Association:

One of the most inspiring #AthleteAnd stories there is. Thank you @MyronRolle for tackling this pandemic with all you've got! Stay safe! #coronavirus

— NFLPA (@NFLPA) March 28, 2020

North America's Building Trades Unions:

Looks like Detroit is working to build 900 beds for hospital overflow!

“Construction at the center will be done by @TCFCenter employees and UNION labor in ‘the most efficient way possible.’”#BuildingTradesWhateverItTakes

— The Building Trades (@NABTU) March 30, 2020

Office and Professional Employees:

We MUST protect frontline professionals and the patients they heroically care for. Tell our lawmakers to use the Defense Production Act to rapidly produce crucial life-saving masks, gowns, gloves, defibrillators, and ventilators.

📝Add your name here: #1u

— OPEIU (@OPEIU) March 26, 2020

Painters and Allied Trades:

| ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄|
| Solidarity with |
| Instacart and |
| Amazon workers |
| |
(\__/) ||
(•ㅅ•) ||
/   づ#AmazonStrike #InstacartStrike

— GoIUPAT✊🏽 (@GoIUPAT) March 30, 2020

Plasterers and Cement Masons:

In this video, #OPCMIA GP Daniel E. Stepano discusses the steps your union is taking to protect the health and financial security of you and your family during the #coronavirus pandemic. Together, we will get through this — stronger than ever.

— OPCMIA International (@opcmiaintl) March 30, 2020

Pride At Work:

Workers need union representation more than ever. Sign this petition to tell the @NLRB to resume elections immediately!

— Pride at Work (@PrideatWork) March 31, 2020

Professional Aviation Safety Specialists:

PASS is proud to represent the technicians, safety inspectors, support staff & more at Fed Aviation Admin who are doing the nation's work during this natl emergency. Thank you @SecElaineChao for recognizing their dedication to the mission @FAANews #publicservice #aviationsafety

— PASS (@PASSNational) March 31, 2020

Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union:

"Workers should be protected when speaking out about safety conditions during this crisis...It is unacceptable that Amazon has terminated Chris Smalls for doing that today rather than addressing their serious COVID-19 safety problems.”

— RWDSU (@RWDSU) March 31, 2020


Be vigilant and aware of various scams during this time. We have been made aware of fake casting notices purporting to be seeking models, referencing SAG-AFTRA and the COVID-19 crisis to solicit self-tape “auditions.” #sagaftramembers

— SAG-AFTRA (@sagaftra) March 31, 2020


Includes section on #maritime Coronavirus Highlights U.S. Strategic Vulnerabilities Spawned By Over-Reliance On China via @forbes

— Seafarers Union (@SeafarersUnion) March 31, 2020

Solidarity Center:

A coalition incl @SolidarityCntr urges business & govts take steps to safeguard #migrantworker rights during #COVID19 incl providing pay to furloughed workers & protection for those still working. @afcmfa @PacificWIN @MigrantRights @GAATW_IS @GCMigration

— Solidarity Center (@SolidarityCntr) March 31, 2020


What’s in the stimulus bill for TCU members?

Here’s our breakdown of the bill:

cc: @MachinistsUnion @TTDAFLCIO @OneRailUSA

— Transportation Communications Union/IAM (@TCUnionHQ) March 30, 2020

Theatrical Stage Employees:

For International Transgender Day of Visibility, today we celebrate the beloved transgender members of our community. We will keep up the fight to eradicate the discrimination trans people still face, both inside and outside of the workplace. #IATSEpride #TDOV

— IATSE (@IATSE) March 31, 2020

Transport Workers:

NYC is the center of the #coronavirus #pandemic and the transit system is ground zero for worker exposure. @TwuSamuelsen speaks about #COVID19's impact. #PPE #PPENow #PPEshortage #WeMoveNY

— TWU (@transportworker) March 31, 2020

Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO:

Transit workers are heroes, too.

— Transp. Trades Dept. (@TTDAFLCIO) March 30, 2020


Thank you to our UAW brothers and sisters who are reentering their plants to produce vital medical supplies as hospitals across the country face shortages.

— UAW (@UAW) March 31, 2020

Union Label and Service Trades Department, AFL-CIO:

Labor Leaders Rally Behind Federalizing Medical Supply Chain

— Union Label Dept. (@ULSTD_AFLCIO) March 27, 2020

Union Veterans Council:

On behalf of the UVC, we would like to welcome all Vietnam Veterans home.
Thank you for your service!#VietnamVeteransDay #1u

— Union Veterans Council (@unionveterans) March 29, 2020


Get this: right in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis, the Supreme Court is scheduled to issue a ruling that could put 800,000 immigrant youth in danger of being deported and put their jobs at risk.


— UNITE HERE (@unitehere) March 31, 2020

United Food and Commercial Workers:

UFCW supports all @Instacart worker demands for safer workplace & right to organize. They're delivering food to families quarantined by #coronavirus outbreak & they need extra protections now. #1u

Learn more: @Sarah___Clarke @matthewtelles @hashtagmolotov

— UFCW (@UFCW) March 30, 2020

United Steelworkers:

. @tedwheeler - Need some inspiration, watch this video of how one of our locals @ARportlandmaine, w/help from @IATSE members, turned their shop into a medical-mask making operation to help during the #COVID19 pandemic: #1u #USWUnity #ServiceSolidarity

— United Steelworkers (@steelworkers) March 31, 2020

United Union of Roofers and Waterproofers:

When properly installed, guardrails can prevent falls. Learn more at: #roofersafety365

— Roofers Union (@roofersunion) March 30, 2020

Utility Workers:

Peek behind the scenes into the challenges those in the utility sector face during #COVID19. Thanks to all of you doing this important work!👏🏿👏🏽👏🏻

— UWUA National (@The_UWUA) March 31, 2020

Working America:

Working America's Exec. Director @MattMorrisonWA sat down with @TheAtlantic to talk about how Working America is adapting to #COVID19 and our vision for building a movement that shifts economic power from CEOs to working families.

— Working America (@WorkingAmerica) March 30, 2020

Writers Guild of America, East:

$600 in unemployment benefits is a lifeline during this crisis, not a vacation. @WGAEast members who aren't able to go to work during this public emergency need the economic support that @LindseyGrahamSC @SenSasse @SenatorTimScott @SenRickScott are holding up. #COVID19 #1u

— Writers Guild of America, East (@WGAEast) March 26, 2020
Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 04/01/2020 - 11:23
Posted: April 1, 2020, 3:23 pm

Millions of People Can’t Pay Rent Tomorrow. Here’s How Some Are Organizing.

As April 1 looms and the first rent payment since the start of the coronavirus pandemic becomes due, countless people wonder how they’ll be able to afford to pay. Since the start of the coronavirus crisis, millions have had their hours cut, been furloughed, or laid off. A whopping 3.3 million have applied for unemployment […]
Posted: March 31, 2020, 10:32 pm

Coronavirus is endangering the postal service when we need vote by mail. Congress needs to act now

Congress is failing the U.S. Postal Service, again, and with it, the nation. USPS warned recently that it could run out of money to operate by June because of the massive fall in the level of mail being sent during coronavirus business closures. Democrats tried to include money in the recent stimulus, but the only help that ended up in […]
Posted: March 31, 2020, 10:27 pm

Why COVID-19 Will Strain the Safety Net for Homeless Vets to the Breaking Point

Under normal circumstances, Jerry Porter would be spending his time helping the veterans he finds in tent camps and run-down housing. But the escalating threat of COVID-19 forces the community activist and retired Steelworker to remain at home for now, even though vulnerable vets need him more than ever. As the coronavirus spreads across America, […]
Posted: March 31, 2020, 10:16 pm

Garbage Collectors’ Lives Are Not Disposable

The coronavirus pandemic is ravaging our country, manifesting both as a health crisis and a jobs crisis. While the unemployment rate could soar to 30%, many workers whose industries are generally ignored or disrespected have been deemed essential, and have been putting themselves in harm’s way to keep our society functioning. No role is more critical […]
Posted: March 31, 2020, 10:05 pm

Fatalistic Grocery Workers Demand Hazard Pay, Saying “Infection Is Inevitable”

Grocery store employees find themselves the subject of widespread public acclaim for continuing to work during the coronavirus crisis. But front-line workers at grocery chains across the country say they want something more tangible than congratulations: hazard pay. And they are winning it with spontaneous organizing campaigns forged in the crucible of a national crisis. […]
Posted: March 31, 2020, 10:00 pm

The New Front-Line Workers: The Working People Weekly List

The New Front-Line Workers: The Working People Weekly List
Working People Weekly List

Every week, we bring you a roundup of the top news and commentary about issues and events important to working families. Here’s the latest edition of the Working People Weekly List.

The New Front-Line Coronavirus Workers: Grocery Clerks, Delivery Drivers: "Much of the American workplace has shut down, sending millions of employees home to wait out the coronavirus pandemic. Among those still on the job are grocery-store clerks, prison guards and delivery drivers. 'Who would have ever thought that we would be on the front lines?' said Joyce Babineau, a 67-year-old supermarket supervisor in Dartmouth, Mass., a coastal village 60 miles south of Boston."

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka Discusses the Labor Movement’s Respose to the Coronavirus Pandemic: "AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka joined Bloomberg TV this morning to talk about the labor movement's response to the coronavirus pandemic and why we need to invoke the Defense Production Act."

What Grocery Store Workers Need: "As of this writing, supermarket workers in Denver, Oregon and Washington state have tested positive for COVID-19. Here in New York City, two Trader Joe’s supermarkets have suddenly faced temporary closures after workers at the Soho and Union Square stores became confirmed cases of the disease. The closures at these stores, which have seen huge increases in customer traffic since the onset of the crisis, highlight the dangers grocery store workers—performing their jobs in close quarters with other workers and customers—are facing, typically for low pay and benefits. The situation is set to become even more precarious as more New Yorkers become ill, with the peak of the pandemic apparently still awaiting us weeks or even months in the future."

AFL-CIO's Trumka: Coronavirus Relief Package 'Not Perfect' but 'Going to Do a Lot of Good': "AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka expressed support for the coronavirus stimulus package moving through Congress, although he said it's 'not perfect'."

‘Just Keep the Faith’: Workers Are Stepping Up to Beat Coronavirus: "The Machinists union and the AFL-CIO have circulated a brief video of [Trevar] Smedal as part of an effort to highlight the role union workers have played in addressing the coronavirus outbreak. Looking into the camera, he tells an anxious America, 'Just keep up the faith. I know that my co-workers, we’re going to show up every day and we’re going to get out as many as we can.'"

Nurses Call for More Protective Gear, Training in the U.S.: "In some parts of the country, nurses are already struggling to secure the equipment and training they need to safely care for their patients, while protecting themselves from the infectious disease. Without the proper protection or training, the risk is high for nurses, especially since they have the most direct contact with patients. To understand the impact this pandemic is having on nurses, The Takeaway spoke to Jean Ross, the president of National Nurses United, the largest organization of registered nurses in the United States, and Judy Sheridan-Gonzalez, a registered nurse at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx and the president of the New York State Nurses Association."

Who Is Most at Risk in the Coronavirus Crisis: 24 Million of the Lowest-Income Workers: "This week, unemployment claims soared as state and federal officials restricted public gatherings and shuttered stores to prevent the spread of the COVID-19. Using wage data from the U.S. Department of Labor and working conditions surveys from O*NET, we analyzed those who are most vulnerable."

Unions: “Essential” Workers Need More Coronavirus Protection: "Union leaders, representing workers that have been deemed 'essential' as Illinois battles the coronavirus, called Monday for more protective gear to guard members against infection."

Women's History Month Profiles: Roxanne Brown: "For Women's History Month, the AFL-CIO is spotlighting various women who were, and some who still are, leaders and activists working at the intersection of civil and labor rights. Today, we are looking at Roxanne Brown."

Fighting the Coronavirus: Making Ventilators: "Trevar Smedal is a member of Machinists (IAM) Local 1406 employed at General Electric's Datex-Ohmeda in Madison, Wisconsin. He and his co-workers are in a race against the clock to produce ventilators needed in the worldwide fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Watch the video to hear Trevar's story."

Put Workers First: In the States Roundup: "It's time once again to take a look at the ways working people are making progress in the states."

Women's History Month Profiles: Jessie Lopez de la Cruz: "For Women's History Month, the AFL-CIO is spotlighting various women who were, and some who still are, leaders and activists working at the intersection of civil and labor rights. Today, we are looking at Jessie Lopez de la Cruz."

Talking About COVID-19: Labor Podcast and Radio Roundup: "In addition to the AFL-CIO's own 'State of the Unions,' there are a lot of other podcasts out there that have their own approach to discussing labor issues and the rights of working people. Here are the latest podcasts from across the labor movement in the United States."

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 03/31/2020 - 11:27
Posted: March 31, 2020, 3:27 pm

Coping with Coronavirus: Labor Podcast and Radio Roundup

Coping with Coronavirus: Labor Podcast and Radio Roundup

In addition to the AFL-CIO's own "State of the Unions," there are a lot of other podcasts out there that have their own approach to discussing labor issues and the rights of working people. Here are the latest podcasts from across the labor movement in the United States.

The Metropolitan Washington Council, AFL-CIO, and Chris Garlock have launched a new show, the Labor Radio/Podcast Weekly, which includes clips from various radio shows and podcasts that talk about labor, unions and working people's issues. If you are interested in getting your clips onto the show, contact for more details.

Building Bridges: "Nurses Blast Government and Hospital Readiness for Coronavirus," with Deborah Burger, practicing nurse, co-president of National Nurses United (NNU) and president of the California Nurses Association. 

CTU Speaks!Co-hosts Andrea Parker and Jim Staros speak with Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) officers, President Jesse Sharkey and Vice President Stacy Davis Gates, about the COVID-19 pandemic and its far-reaching impact on schools, the union, the city and the world. Then they interview Emily Hecht, the CTU delegate at Vaughn Occupational High School about how the school community is responding to the urgent needs of students and parents.

Heartland Labor Forum: Talking with members of the League of Women Voters about their 10 recommendations for assuring that tax giveaways actually serve the public good, not private greed.

Labor History Today: Talking to Kurt Stand about his last days of work before the COVID-19 shutdown, Carl Goldman about the 1913 textile strike in Haldeon, New Jersey, and Jessica Pauszek about Tough Annie, a wealthy woman who supported working women in London during the struggle for women's suffrage.

Union City RadioUnion City Radio is aired seven days a week during the COVID-19 crisis. Recent episodes have interviewed teachers, transit workers, firefighters and hotel workers.

Union Strong: A day in history that changed workplace safety.

Willamette Wake-Up: Talking about labor and the Green New Deal with Mike Ellison and Marty Hart-Landsberg. 

Workers Beat: The show airs 9 a.m. every Saturday morning on KNON 89.3 FM in Dallas. Hosted by Gene Lantz.

Your Rights At Work: Helping D.C. workers cope with COVID-19 and discussing whether or not the stimulus bill is good news for America's workers.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 03/31/2020 - 10:48
Posted: March 31, 2020, 2:48 pm

Women's History Month Profiles: Roxanne Brown

Women's History Month Profiles: Roxanne Brown
Roxanne Brown

For Women's History Month, the AFL-CIO is spotlighting various women who were, and some who still are, leaders and activists working at the intersection of civil and labor rights. Today, we are looking at Roxanne Brown.

Roxanne Brown currently serves as international vice president at large for the United Steelworkers (USW). She has served USW's membership for more than two decades.

During her career, she has helped advance legislation to strengthen U.S. defense procurement laws and shape environmental policies to benefit USW members with jobs. She helped build bridges between USW members and the Environmental Protection Agency to achieve mutually beneficial goals. She worked to rally 20,000 people to protect the steel industry from foreign dumping.

She was born in Kingston, Jamaica, and raised in New York. Through the And Still I Rise program, Brown wrote about her work. Here are some key excerpts.

On the challenges of moving to clean energy:

Much of the work that we’re trying to do is to help design good, sensible and reasonable clean energy policies that take my members into account on the industrial side, and in the building and construction trades. We want to ensure that all of us play a role in this new, emerging economy.

On the gender wage gap:

We have to create that equality across the board. Every wage gap that exists is money that’s leaving the pockets of women all over the country. I grew up in a single-family household. My mom was a single mom. Every penny counts when you’re a single mom. The labor movement understands that. This is why wage equality has been one of its biggest fights.

On how she got into union work:

I grew up around unions, but didn’t know what they were. I’m from Jamaica. My family settled in New York. The women in my family worked in healthcare and food services. An aunt who worked for the county hospital was a member of the Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA). She would take me to union picnics and union parties, but I had no idea what CSEA was. I just thought it was the hospital party. That was my very first experience with unions. I started with the Steelworkers when I was 19 years old. 

On why she loves her fellow union members:

My very first day with the Steelworkers, I met a group of legislative interns who were members. That is when I fell in love with my union, because I fell in love with our members. They were nontraditional and diverse. They were from all walks of life. We’re the largest union in the paper sector; the oil sector; chemicals and rubber; and the auto industry. We actually have more people working in the auto industry than the United Auto Workers because our members make the components for automobiles—steel, aluminum, seats, glass and tires—literally everything.

On diversity in the labor movement:

It is very helpful for the future and growth of our union for our members to be more comfortable with diversity, particularly as more and more public sector workers are organized and we get more nurses, bus drivers, and cab drivers in the fold. For our union to fully move into the 21st century, it needs to be inclusive. I’m part of us moving in that direction.

On the purpose of unions:

I want young people, people of color, immigrants, and women to know that unions are about power. They are about economic power. They are about educational power—because those wages allow people to send their kids to school. They are about financial power for the future, because a lot of these union jobs have very strong retirement benefits associated with them.

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 03/30/2020 - 11:03
Posted: March 30, 2020, 3:03 pm

Class, Capitalism, and Coronovirus at Disney’s Newest Attraction

Last week the Coronavirus forced Disney to announce that its American parks are now closed indefinitely, resulting in the longest interruptions of any kind since they opened in 1955 (Disneyland) and 1965 (Walt Disney World). Disney has been on my … Continue reading
Posted: March 30, 2020, 12:23 pm

Fighting the Coronavirus: Making Ventilators

Fighting the Coronavirus: Making Ventilators

Trevar Smedal is a member of Machinists (IAM) Local 1406 employed at General Electric's Datex-Ohmeda in Madison, Wisconsin. He and his co-workers are in a race against the clock to produce ventilators needed in the worldwide fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Watch the video to hear Trevar's story.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 03/27/2020 - 14:37
Posted: March 27, 2020, 6:37 pm

‘Now, I’m Unemployed’: How Coronavirus Killed Off the Capitol Hill Internship

They thought they were getting their foot in the door for a career in politics. Now, their internships have abruptly ended — and their ambitions are on hold. Congress’ frenzied effort to respond to the coronavirus crisis has been one of the most furious sessions of lawmaking in history. Just days after a congressional staffer […]
Posted: March 27, 2020, 3:50 pm

N95 masks pour in from unions, corporations, schools, churches … while the federal government lags

Donald Trump keeps coming up with excuses for why the federal government is not providing medical professionals with the protection they need as they fight coronavirus. And other groups keep coming up with the N95 masks that are so badly needed. On Thursday, SEIU-UHW, a union representing healthcare workers, announced it had located 39 million N95 […]
Posted: March 27, 2020, 3:40 pm

Put Workers First: In the States Roundup

Put Workers First: In the States Roundup
In the States

It's time once again to take a look at the ways working people are making progress in the states. Click on any of the links to follow the state federations on Twitter.

Find state-by-state COVID19-related resources here.

Alaska AFL-CIO:

Here’s what we are watching today as part of our #AtHomeAction.#akleg #akgov

— Alaska AFL-CIO (@AKAFLCIO) March 24, 2020

Arizona AFL-CIO:

Our @afscme2384 Brothers and Sisters need Personal Protective Equiptment (PPE’s) to SAFELY do their jobs! @MayorGallego @CityofPhoenixAZ @PHXDistrict5 @PhxDistrict8 @Pastor4Council @PhxDistrict7

— Arizona AFL-CIO (@ArizonaAFLCIO) March 23, 2020

Arkansas AFL-CIO:

Please call your Senators and ask that they put workers FIRST. Workers are keeping this nation together right now. Workers MUST stick together. #1u #ARLabor #ARUnions

— Arkansas AFL-CIO (@ArkansasAFLCIO) March 23, 2020

California Labor Federation:

.@Uber's proposal drew sharp criticism from labor unions. “A ‘third way’ is just a euphemism for creating a new underclass of workers with fewer rights and protections,” said @ArtPulaski executive secretary-treasurer of the California Labor Federation

— California Labor Federation (@CaliforniaLabor) March 25, 2020

Colorado AFL-CIO:

With the freedom to join a union, public service workers have the voice on the job they need to advocate for better resources & training to respond to #Covid_19. Call your Representative @ 1-877-682-6145 & tell them to support the Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act #PSFN

— Colorado AFL-CIO (@AFLCIOCO) March 12, 2020

Connecticut AFL-CIO:

The #COVID19 pandemic has exposed the shortcomings of our worker protection and health care systems. Contact the Governor and your legislators to urge them to ensure the health and economic security of all working people in Connecticut:

— Connecticut AFL-CIO (@ConnAFLCIO) March 23, 2020

Florida AFL-CIO:

The current administration has quietly pushed for rules making it harder for public sector unions during the pandemic.

There’s nothing more disgusting than union busting, especially during a crisis!

— Florida AFL-CIO (@FLAFLCIO) March 24, 2020

Georgia AFL-CIO:

.@BrianKempGA grocery store, pharmacy, and food production workers ARE emergency service providers. Include us in your emergency declaration so we can keep on feeding America during this crisis. Send a message to Gov Kemp & share this link: #1u #gapol

— AFL-CIO Georgia (@AFLCIOGeorgia) March 25, 2020

Indiana State AFL-CIO:

Using power and privilege to exploit the weak and vulnerable in the face of a common threat is morally repugnant. #1u #coronavirus

— Indiana AFL-CIO (@INAFLCIO) March 25, 2020

Maine AFL-CIO:

How many will die before @GDBIW & the @USNavy begin taking the #COVID19 crisis seriously?

Tell Assistant Navy Secretary James Geurts, GD CEO Phebe Novakovic, BIW President Dirk Lesko & BIW VP @jonfitz207 to protect workers & the public! #mepolitics

— Maine AFL-CIO (@MEAFLCIO) March 24, 2020

Massachusetts AFL-CIO:

A message from President Steve Tolman regarding the working people's priorities during COVID-19 response efforts:

(1/x) #mapoli #1u

— Massachusetts AFL-CIO (@massaflcio) March 24, 2020

Metropolitan Washington (D.C.) Council, AFL-CIO:

“It’s very bad”: DC hotel workers cope with COVID-19 - Metro Washington Council AFL-CIO

— MetroDCLaborCouncil (@DCLabor) March 25, 2020

Michigan AFL-CIO:

Please help our brothers and sisters fighting on the frontlines to #stopthespread. If you have any of these critical materials, please ship or drop them to the regional emergency management coalition site that’s closest to you: #coronavirus #COVIDー19

— Michigan AFL-CIO (@MIAFLCIO) March 23, 2020

Minnesota AFL-CIO:

With N-95 collection drive, @mnnurses gear up for challenge ahead (via @unionadvocate) #1u #COVID19

— Minnesota AFL-CIO (@MNAFLCIO) March 25, 2020

Missouri AFL-CIO:

🚨 Gov. Parson continues to drag his feet on decisive action that will help workers and protect our communities. Working families across Missouri are hurting during this crisis. We need Governor Parson to lead. We need you to take action now! ✊

— Missouri AFL-CIO (@MOAFLCIO) March 25, 2020

Montana AFL-CIO:

It took a pandemic for the world to realize how grossly irresponsible billion-dollar corporations like @McDonalds are by not giving their workers paid sick leave.

— Montana AFL-CIO (@MTaflcio) March 23, 2020

Nebraska State AFL-CIO:

While public health officials work to limit the spread of the #coronavirus (#COVID19), we're asking for your help with another potential public health issue: a severe shortage of blood for patients. Healthy donors are urged to make an appt w/ the @RedCross

— NE State AFL-CIO (@NEAFLCIO) March 23, 2020

New Jersey State AFL-CIO:

Today the State Senate passed over two dozen bills to assist residents, workers and businesses during the coronavirus pandemic. Of particular interest to the New Jersey State AFL-CIO and its members are bills assisting workers.

— New Jersey AFL-CIO (@NJAFLCIO) March 19, 2020

New York State AFL-CIO:

Learn more about the #COVID19 relief available to workers at

Stay safe, Stay #UnionStrong!

— NYSAFLCIO (@NYSAFLCIO) March 20, 2020

North Carolina State AFL-CIO:

ICYMI: the House Select Committee on #COVID19 wants your input on how they should act during this unprecedented time. Public comment portal here: #ncpol #ncga

— NC State AFL-CIO (@NCStateAFLCIO) March 25, 2020

North Dakota AFL-CIO:

Call 1-866-832-1560 and Tell @SenJohnHoeven and @SenKevinCramer to put working people like us first, not big business and the 1%. Now is not the time for crony capitalism.#1u #ndpol #aflcio

— North Dakota AFL-CIO (@NDAFLCIO) March 22, 2020


That’s our Senator! Always and forever standing up for working people.

— Ohio AFL-CIO (@ohioaflcio) March 25, 2020

Oregon AFL-CIO:

.@OregonGovBrown issued an executive order today urging Oregonians to stay home. Here's 4 ways you can help fight #COVID19 and protect workers while social distancing: #1u #UnionStrong

— Oregon AFL-CIO (@OregonAFLCIO) March 23, 2020

Pennsylvania AFL-CIO:

We want protective equipment and hazard pay, because our co-pays are so high.- @Teamsters Local 249 #COVID19 @AlleghenyLabor

— PA AFL-CIO (@PaAFL_CIO) March 25, 2020

Rhode Island AFL-CIO:

Visit our website for Coronavirus COVID-19 resources. #coronavirus #COVID19

— Rhode Island AFL-CIO (@riaflcio) March 19, 2020

Texas AFL-CIO:

"There’s so much we could have done, and should have done, that would have made our ability to respond so much more effective. There’s nothing inevitable about what’s happening right now; we’ve been warning the state about this for years.” - @RickTxAFLCIO

— Texas AFL-CIO (@TexasAFLCIO) March 25, 2020

Virginia AFL-CIO:

#SocialDistancing is not social isolation.
Safe activities:
🌻Yard work
🎲Family game night
🚶‍♀️Going on a walk
📲Calling or texting a friend or older neighbor
🍝Cooking a meal
💻Virtual trivia nights
📕Reading a good book
🎮Playing video games
📺Streaming a show#COVID19VA

— Virginia AFL-CIO (@Virginia_AFLCIO) March 25, 2020

Washington State Labor Council:

Get the latest information on how to apply for unemployment benefits in Washington state, including eligibility for workers temporarily laid off due to the governor's "stay home" order. @ESDwaWorks

— WA State AFL-CIO (@WAAFLCIO) March 25, 2020

West Virginia AFL-CIO:

1/2 Members of IUPAT District 53 (construction trades) are gathering N95 Respirators & protective suits, distributing to local healthcare/nursing home facilities. This load of 75 masks/150 suits headed to facilities in Parkersburg area. Keep up good work, stay safe👊! #wvpol

— West Virginia AFLCIO (@WestVirginiaAFL) March 23, 2020

Wisconsin State AFL-CIO:

Evers Administration Issues 'Stay-At-Home' Order For Wisconsin,

— WI AFL-CIO (@wisaflcio) March 25, 2020
Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 03/26/2020 - 09:03
Posted: March 26, 2020, 1:03 pm

The Class System of Higher Ed Goes Online

Most American colleges and universities moved courses online over the last week. That shift highlights the class disparities of higher education. For example, at Georgetown, by the time the University President announced that classes were moving online, more than 30 … Continue reading
Posted: March 23, 2020, 12:24 pm

Class and the Challenge of COVID-19

COVID-19, the coronavirus that is spreading across the world, is wreaking havoc on working people and their families.  Weeks after it burst onto the world scene, the end of this deadly threat is still not in sight.  Although it is … Continue reading
Posted: March 16, 2020, 12:13 pm

A Punishment with No End: The Journey of a Working-Class Criminal into Academia

We call ourselves the flower pot kids after the floral themed street names the local council assigned in a vain if well-meaning attempt to brighten up an otherwise dreary area. The council-owned social housing consisted of tattered prefabricated buildings from … Continue reading
Posted: March 9, 2020, 10:57 pm

Class Anxiety: Parasite and Joker

A couple of weeks after the South Korean film Parasite won both Best Foreign Film and Best Picture, Donald Trump went on what the Washington Post called a “nationalistic cultural” rant about the film’s awards. He was upset that a … Continue reading
Posted: March 2, 2020, 12:51 pm

Precarity Goes to the Movies

Two recent events, vastly different in scale and importance, nonetheless point to the importance of the concept of the precariat, a relatively new coinage for the class of exploited, underemployed and temp workers of the world. The Oscars’ celebration of … Continue reading
Posted: February 24, 2020, 12:42 pm

How Polarized Are We?

When I talk with relatives who are not only Trump voters but Trump enthusiasts, I feel pretty damned polarized – especially when I lose my temper and find myself saying some of the things my tribe often hatefully says about … Continue reading
Posted: February 17, 2020, 12:23 pm

Is There a Working-Class Cable News Channel?

The country just began its long march through caucuses and primaries toward the presidential election in November. How will this political story spin out on the major cable news networks, and what will it look like to working-class viewers? The … Continue reading
Posted: February 10, 2020, 12:36 pm

The Class Culture War

New York Times columnist David Brooks has proven himself both interested in and repeatedly confused by the working class. A few weeks ago, in a piece arguing that Bernie Sanders is wrong to blame capitalism for economic inequality, Brooks wrote … Continue reading
Posted: February 3, 2020, 12:43 pm

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