Despite the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has decided to cut hazard pay for state workers who are continuing to report to their jobs, reports AFSCME Maryland. “Although the state and AFSCME have been diligently working together, there is still major work to do to ensure Marylanders who come into contact with state services are safe,” said Patrick Moran, president of AFSCME Maryland. “The governor is being penny wise and pound foolish by cutting hazard pay to staff on the front lines in daily contact with the general public.” For some workers such as corrections and EMS staff, the union says that shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other resources already pose a challenge to their health and safety during this crisis. “Cutting hazard pay of these essential workers is yet another blow to those on the front lines of the COVID-19 response,” said the union.
The Navy hospital ships Mercy and Comfort were activated and deployed stateside this week to serve as referral centers for non-COVID-19 patients. The massive ships are “a hospital on the water and our members make up a good portion of the crew,” the Seafarers Jordan Biscardo told Union City. “If you were in the medical facility, you wouldn't know you were on a ship for the most part.” Comparable to some of the largest trauma hospitals in the United States, each ship contains 12 fully equipped operating rooms, a bed capacity of 1,000 and boasts digital radiological services, medical laboratories, full-serve pharmacies, blood banks, medical equipment repair shops, prosthetics and physical therapy. The crew members “are federal sector mariners,” said Biscardo. “They mobilized on 9/11, they mobilized when Hurricane Sandy hit New York. This is just what we do.”
- Chris Garlock
“We draw our strength from the very despair in which we have been forced to live. We shall endure.”
Cesar Chavez was born on this date in 1927 in Yuma, Arizona. photo courtesy Cesar Chavez Foundation
This week’s Labor History Today podcast: Socialists, suffragettes and fear at work
On this week’s show, Kurt Stand, who – at least until recently – was a bookseller at Busboys and Poets here in Washington, DC, tells us about his last days at work, Carl Goldman reminds us of the day in 1913 when 20,000 striking textile workers and their supporters gathered in front of the house of the socialist mayor of Haldeon, New Jersey, and Jessica Pauszek tells the story of Tough Annie, a woman of means who threw in her lot with working women in London during the struggle for women’s suffrage.
Last week’s show: COVID-19: An injury to one is the concern of all
President Martin Van Buren issues a broadly-applicable executive order granting the 10 hour day to all government employees engaged in manual labor - 1840
Cowboys earning $40 per month begin what is to become an unsuccessful 2 1/2 month strike for higher wages at five ranches in the Texas Panhandle - 1883
Construction begins on the three-mile Hawk’s Nest Tunnel through Gauley Mt., W. Va. as part of a hydroelectric project. A congressional hearing years later was to report that 476 laborers in the mostly black, migrant workforce of 3,000 were exposed to silica rock dust in the course of their 10-hour-a-day, six-days-a-week shifts and died of silicosis. Some researchers say that more than 1,000 died - 1930
Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt signs legislation establishing the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), to help alleviate suffering during the Depression. By the time the program ended after the start of World War II it had provided jobs for more than six million men and boys. The average enrollee gained 11 pounds in his first three months - 1933
Wisconsin state troopers fail to get scabs across the picket line to break a 76-day Allis-Chalmers strike in Milwaukee led by UAW Local 248. The plant remained closed until the government negotiated a compromise - 1941
- David Prosten. photo: CCC enrollees in the Pacific Northwest. NPS photo