News from the Daily Kos Labor
- Senate Republicans brag about unemployment ‘lifeline’ they voted against
April, 2 2020
Senate Republicans made a giant stink about the $600-per-week boost to unemployment insurance included in the novel coronavirus stimulus. It was just too much money for low-income people, they said. Nurses might decide not to work, said Sen. Lindsey Graham, because they could get so much money being unemployed. Nurses!
So obviously now some of the very same Senate Republicans who voted for stingier benefits are bragging to constituents about those same benefits. That they tried to cap.
- Coronavirus is endangering the postal service when we need vote by mail. Congress needs to act now
March, 31 2020
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 the final bill was $10 billion in loans that are subject to approval by the Treasury Department.
The decline in mail being sent doesn’t mean mail is less important—it means, in large part, that the people who rely most on mail are now the most vulnerable people. People who need their prescription medications. People who live in rural areas not well served by other delivery services. But democracy also needs the mail. Vote by mail will be more important than ever if COVID-19 remains a threat in the fall.
- Hospitals to doctors and nurses: Shut up about equipment shortages or you’re fired
March, 31 2020
Hospital staff have been frantically trying to get the word out: They are slammed with COVID-19 patients and they don’t have enough personal protective equipment to handle all the patients safely. But in some cases the effort to let the public know the severity of the situation is running up against hospital administrators who want to muzzle front-line healthcare workers, Bloomberg reports.
An emergency room doctor in Washington state was fired after doing a newspaper interview about inadequate protective gear and testing. NYU Langone Health has told workers that talking to the media without permission could cost them their jobs. And in Chicago, a nurse was fired for emailing her colleagues—not even the media—about wanting better protective gear.
- GE workers call on company to make ventilators in jet engine factories
March, 30 2020
General Electric is one of the nation’s largest ventilator manufacturers, so you would think that the desperate need for more ventilators would be a big business opportunity. Instead, the company has announced layoffs and workers are staging protests calling on GE to use its jet engine factories to manufacture ventilators.
“If GE trusts us to build, maintain, and test engines which go on a variety of aircraft where millions of lives are at stake, why wouldn’t they trust us to build ventilators?” said Jake Aguinaga, president of IUE-CWA, which represents workers in a Kansas factory that’s suffered major layoffs.
- COVID-19 is showing which companies and politicians value workers, this week in the war on workers
March, 28 2020
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.
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