Essential workers at major retailers will be striking tomorrow to bring attention to unsafe conditions amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. If this escalates beyond Friday and turns into a movement, be very afraid.
WASHINGTON – Workers at some of the nation’s largest retail and delivery companies are reportedly planning to walk off their jobs on May 1 in what could be the largest coordinated protest of working conditions during the coronavirus pandemic.
If you (or President Trump) thought that meat shortages at Tyson packing plants were a supply chain risk, consider this. What happens if the only meaningful source of retail supply for food and other basics for literally all of us is seriously disrupted? Where will you purchase the few essential things that you still shop for?
Let’s be clear, if the Walmart, Amazon and Target worker walkout becomes a movement and carries on beyond Friday, welcome to anarchy. And that anarchy will be Walmart, Amazon and Target’s fault. You can’t systematically grind down workers as relentlessly as these companies have and not expect payback when they get a chance.
Everything is terrible for most people. Let’s make it terrible for the right people. #GeneralStrike2020
First reported by The Intercept, who called it an “unprecedented coalition of workers,” staffers at some of the biggest brands affected by the spike in business as a result of many Americans’ newfound consumption habits during the stay at home guidelines designed to minimize the coronavirus outbreak.
The Intercept reports that workers from “Amazon, Instacart, Whole Foods, Walmart, Target, and FedEx are slated to walk out on work, citing what they say is their employers’ record profits at the expense of workers’ health and safety during the coronavirus pandemic.”
The protest is being organized by a Whole Foods employee named Daniel Steinbrook. The Intercept reports:
“We are acting in conjunction with workers at Amazon, Target, Instacart and other companies for International Worker’s Day to show solidarity with other essential workers in our struggle for better protections and benefits in the pandemic,” said Daniel Steinbrook, a Whole Foods employee and strike organizer.
The labor action comes as workers and organizers say Amazon, in particular, has not been forthcoming about the number of Covid-19 cases at its more than 175 fulfillment centers globally.
The Intercept also cites an Indiana-based Amazon employee named Jana Jumpp, who claims that “there have been at least 500 coronavirus cases in at least 125 Amazon facilities.” Amazon employees in Staten Island planned a similar protest in March that garnered some attention, but nothing at this level.
Some Amazon workers report that managers have encouraged them to lie in internal communications about social distancing at facilities to goose survey results favorably. One worker at an Amazon Pennsylvania facility shared a screenshot of a handout given to employees. The handout hints in English and Spanish that workers should answer “no” to the question, “Do you see crowding at breaks, meals and shift changes?”
Those on the front line of the spread of the COVID-19 contagion have literally risked their lives by continuing to fulfill their essential tasks for shitty wages. Many have had enough and are scared to the point that they will risk their low-paying jobs to protest.
Tomorrow, DON’T CROSS PICKET LINES! Support Essential Worker Strikes by boycotting Amazon, Whole Foods, Target, and Instacart #MayDay2020#GeneralStrike#GeneralStrike2020#EssentialWorkersDay#Solidarity
As we all start to suddenly realize how reliant we are on these retail workers, let’s start thinking about how we protect, treat and reward them fairly. The ball is now in their court starting tomorrow to wake up their employers and the country.
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