In Central America, maquila workers are challenging employer attempts to use the coronavirus as a way to cut wages, layoff workers and even stop worker efforts to form unions. Across the Middle East and North Africa, unions and worker associations are mobilizing to educate workers about their rights during the COVID-19 crisis, provide them with resources to protect themselves and their families, and push for fair treatment at the workplace. Find out more about how workers and their unions are taking action around COVID-19 at the Solidarity Center.
“We don’t want to see a health care system devoid of health care workers.”
Ross, the president of National Nurses United, was warning of the risk to our nation if nurses don’t get the protective equipment they need.
This week’s Labor History Today podcast: COVID-19: An injury to one is the concern of all
Al Neal’s “Silent streets: Life halts, but not for all workers,” and Joe McCartin on “Class and the Challenge of COVID-19.” Plus Saul Schniderman and John O’Connor remember the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire.
Last week’s show: The Great Postal Strike, Watergate and “Casey Jones, the Union Scab”
San Francisco brewery workers begin a 9-month strike as local employers follow the union-busting lead of the National Brewer’s Assn. and fire their unionized workers, replacing them with scabs. Two unionized brewers refused to go along, kept producing beer, prospered wildly and induced the Association to capitulate. A contract benefit since having unionized two years earlier, certainly worth defending: free beer - 1868
Photo: Beer deliverymen in San Francisco; San Francisco History Room, San Francisco Public Library, San Francisco, CA, courtesy Found SF
“It’s very bad," John Boardman, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of UNITE HERE Local 25, told Union City yesterday. "We've got 97% of our members out of work. About half of our hotels are mothballing. They're closing entirely. The ones that are operating, are operating in the low single digits around three to 5% occupancy.”
UNITE HERE Local 25 represents more than 7,000 DC-area hotel workers; UC checked in with John yesterday to see how his union and its members are dealing with the COVID-19 crisis.
“We are fully operational even though our office is closed," Boardman said. "We are in the process of contacting all of our members directly, by phone. We have a very robust text communications backbone in place. Almost 90% of our members are capable of receiving text messages from us. We have our website up. We're in the process this week of launching an email newsletter. So we're keeping people posted. We are all isolated now, so anything that we can do to do what we as humans need, which is create a sense of community, all of those little things will be important. So, call a friend, call a member, Keep in touch. Email, text message somebody. We're trying to do that as much as we can with our membership, so that they know what's going on.”
Click here to hear John on this morning's Union City Radio and catch more of our conversation on this week’s edition of Your Rights At Work, Thursday at 1pm on WPFW 89.3FM.