While a rel­a­tive­ly small num­ber of covid­iots have been able to stage media-friend­­ly events for var­i­ous out­lets, what’s get­ting a lot less atten­tion are around the one hun­dred and nine­ty strikes and work­er actions tak­ing place with­in the Unit­ed States due to COVID-19, and how some busi­nesses are fail­ing to react respon­si­bly to ensure the health and safe­ty of their employees.

Pay­Day Report has been track­ing these activ­i­ties, which includes work­er absen­tee actions at a Tyson Meats pro­cess­ing plant in Wal­lu­la, Wash­ing­ton; employ­ees refus­ing to show at the re-open­ing of oper­a­tions at the Boe­ing com­mer­cial air­craft man­u­fac­tur­ing facil­i­ty in Ren­ton, Wash­ing­ton; and employ­ees on strike at the Mon­delēz-Nabis­­co facil­i­ty in Port­land, Ore­gon.

They are track­ing the num­ber of meat­pack­ers who have fall­en ill under sub­stan­dard work­ing con­di­tions at the best of times – over 4,400 and counting.

With Don­ald Trump deter­mined to use the Defense Pro­duc­tion Act to keep meat­pack­ing plants open, Repub­li­can Gov­er­nors threat­en­ing to end unem­ploy­ment ben­e­fits for any employ­ee that refus­es to return to work after COVID-19 restric­tions are lift­ed with­in their state, and recal­ci­trant employ­ees like­ly to be fired from their jobs as a result, we can expect the num­ber of sick and dead meat­pack­ers to rise sub­stan­tial­ly over the com­ing months.

They are also notic­ing such out­landish actions as fir­ing en masse strik­ing con­tract trash haulers in New Orleans and replac­ing them with pris­on­ers, how hos­pi­tal work­ers are orga­niz­ing in the midst of both COVID-19 and union bust­ing tech­niques, and how Mex­i­can immi­grants mak­ing Per­son­al Pro­tec­tive Equip­ment at LSL Health­care in the north­west Chica­go sub­urb of Niles walked off the job, demand­ing paid time off to go into quar­an­tine after a work­er died of COVID-19.

One of Pay­Day Report’s two beat­ing hearts are Kat Calla­han, who until recent­ly was the Asia Cor­re­spon­dent at Jalop­nik and LGBT Edi­tor at Jezebel, and who present­ly also writes arti­cles for Kinja.

The oth­er is Mike Elk, a pro­tege of the late William Grei­der who has cov­ered the drug war in Brasil, spent years cov­er­ing union orga­niz­ing in the South for the Guardian, and marched one hun­dred and ten miles with strik­ing teach­ers across the state of Okla­homa. Togeth­er, one of their most viral efforts has been this excel­lent piece in March regard­ing Nis­san employ­ees being forced to work in dan­ger­ous con­di­tions for poten­tial infec­tions of COVID-19 at a facil­i­ty in Can­ton, Mis­sis­sip­pi, where oper­a­tions were even­tu­al­ly sus­pend­ed.)

Esquire, NPR’s On the Media and Vice mag­a­zine has pro­vid­ed some vis­i­bil­i­ty toward Pay­Day Report’s efforts, and we are proud to do the same.

We hope pub­lish­ers, edi­tors, and reporters at oth­er media out­lets will ded­i­cate more resources to chron­i­cle the dai­ly suf­fer­ing of those who help pro­vide for our dai­ly needs and less for those who use fear and hatred to push tox­ic agendas.

Adjacent posts

One reply on “Laborers fight for safe working conditions while the media chases right wing protesters”

  1. It is just crim­i­nal that front­line work­ers are being asked to con­tin­ue to come in to work with­out ade­quate PPE. We need to get this sit­u­a­tion under con­trol. But with­out com­pe­tent fed­er­al lead­er­ship, how will we do that? 

Comments are closed.