‘They Are Saving Our Lives’: Demand Grows for Grocery Store Employees, Other Frontline Workers to Receive Hazard Pay Amid Coronavirus Outbreak
“Crewmembers are terrified, knowing their job is putting them on the frontlines of a global pandemic.”
Grocery stores and other U.S. businesses remaining open amid the coronavirus pandemic are facing pressure from unions and activists to provide hazard pay for employees whose jobs involve tasks that put them at direct risk of exposure to the infectious disease.
“Trader Joe’s needs to provide workers hazard pay starting right now,” tweeted Trader Joe’s Union, an account formed by a group of workers pushing for the store’s employees to unionize. “Crewmembers are terrified, knowing their job is putting them on the frontlines of a global pandemic. It is not enough to receive [paid time off] only after being proven sick.”
“We have been hearing from workers across the country interested in unionizing,” the group added, “but we’ve also been hearing from workers who feel forced to work until they get sick, who don’t have the means to find safety or security in calling out, and who are terrified at what’s to come.”
Trader Joe’s (and all grocery store employees) are first responders. They are saving our lives by making sure we can eat during a terrifying crisis.
Take two seconds to email https://t.co/m1XqohI28x and ask that they get hazard pay NOW. The store is making bank. They can do it https://t.co/ZueFwj3JWT
— Dani Fernandez (@msdanifernandez) March 16, 2020
A video posted by chef José Andrés of supermarket employees stocking shelves in the early hours of the morning Monday sparked an outpouring of gratitude for the essential role grocery store workers are playing in providing Americans with food and other necessities during the outbreak.
Supermarket jobs are overwhelmingly low-wage and often don’t come with decent benefit packages—or the luxury of working from home until the COVID-19 outbreak subsides.
“They deserve hazard pay and paid sick leave,” said one Twitter user. “They should also get some [paid time off] once this crisis passes.”
Andrés, founder of a non-profit devoted to providing meals following natural disasters, amplified that demand:
Late at night 2:00 and is amazing how on every supermarket, farmers markets Etc women and men like them will work non stop to replenish every shelve. Next to the Medical staff across the world, people like them are and will be heroes to keep humanity fed! Thank them! #CoronaVirus pic.twitter.com/6J006BbPpU
— José Andrés (@chefjoseandres) March 16, 2020
Unions are also demanding hazard pay for public-sector workers facing possible on-the-job exposure to COVID-19, which has infected at least 3,600 people and killed 66 in the United States.
“The federal government has hundreds of thousands of workers who come in daily contact with the public—workplace inspectors, mail carriers, hospital workers, park rangers, passport processors, Social Security representatives, museum workers,” the Washington Post reported Saturday.
In written testimony to Congress last Wednesday, the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) demanded that government employees facing possible exposure to the novel coronavirus receive adequate protections and hazard pay.
Government Executive reported last week that three Transportation Security Administration (TSA) workers in San Jose, California tested positive for COVID-19 and “a couple dozen employees deemed to have had contact with those workers are home on self-quarantine.”
TSA workers are not currently eligible for hazard pay, despite their jobs requiring daily interactions with hundreds of travelers.
“We do everything we can to protect passengers, but who is protecting us?” Hydrick Thomas, president of AFGE’s TSA Council, asked in a statement last Thursday.licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.
Attn: Bands and Musical Artists – Get Your Music On Activate Radio!
By Patrick Wilson
Activate Radio plays music that is licensed Creative Commons and submitted music from indie artists in many genres. We are working to build an extensive library of music to share with the world. With the changes brought by the napsters and clearchannels of the world, and the narrowing of formats in terrestrial radio to christian, country and righty talk, it’s harder for fresh music to see the light of day than it was even ten years ago.
In Boston, the closing of music venues and radio stations has undoubtedly made it a little harder for artists to promote themselves and get exposure beyond playing facebook’s advertising slot machine. There is a benefit in having multiple platforms in different mediums, even with duplicity within a market. There is a larger benefit to tying together multiple markets with the same message on multiple mediums.
The corporations own commercial media, but it is stifled by a business model that is too costly. Technology changes things. It allows the diverse and missing voices to be heard. Our society is capable of organizing activists throughout the world, why can’t it do the same for artists? Ultimately success has always been contingent on the work that you put in. Activate Media will not make you a star! Only you can do that. However, Activate Media will not charge you to play your music. We do not subscribe to pay to play philosophies. Activate Media is an all-volunteer organization.
If you would like to submit your music, you can send an email giving permission for Activate Media to play your music without penalty of licensing along with an attached mp3 of the song that you would like us to play. The music must be completely owned by you and original, we do not consider cover songs. We do not choose all music that is submitted and we do give preference to artists from the region. If you would like to submit your music, please send it to activatesubmissions@g mail. c o m.
Video Reveals Threat of “Wholesale Transfer and Privatization of America’s Public Lands” on Trump’s Agenda, Says Watchdog Group
The event in question, which took place June 2019 and was hosted by the Interior Department, featured a keynote address by climate-denier Myron Ebell.
By Andrea Germanos
Watchdog group Western Values Project said Friday that audio it obtained of a June 2019 event at Trump’s Interior Department provides more evidence that public lands are under threat of being privatized by the former reality star and his crew of “anti-public land zealots.”
The event (pdf) in question was the American Agri-Women Symposium entitled “Federal Land Policies: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly,” which took place at Interior’s Sidney Yates Auditorium. Myron Ebell—the climate crisis-denying former head of President Trump’s EPA transition team who serves as head of environmental and energy policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute—was keynote speaker.
HuffPost, with whom Western Values Project shared the video, described the remarks as “a 40-minute rambling assault” on the agency where the event was taking place.
As HuffPost reported, two other high level Interior officials also gave speeches at the symposium: Brenda Burman, commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation, and Andrea Travnicek, deputy assistant secretary of land and minerals management.
Ebell was introduced by the Interior Deparment’s Susan Combs, Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management, and Budget. Combs is an anti-government, Endangered Species Act foe who’s taken in as much as $2.1 million from oil and gas royalties on her property.
In his remarks, Ebell took swipes at the Land and Water Conservation Fund and National Park Service and suggested the government has “a constant incentive to fail.”
Privatization, he made clear, is the apporach he favored for federal lands. From HuffPost:
“I think the real solution to the federal lands is eventually to either transfer them to the states or,” he paused to acknowledge two lawmaker friends who don’t support the second option he was about to mention, “privatize them, put them into private ownership.”
He shared a Power Point Presentation that included his desire—since fulfilled by the Trump administration—to weaken the Endangered Species Act.
Shifting to lands already under federal control, Ebell fumbled to locate a slide about transferring and selling off lands in the West. Undeterred, he declared that the “ultimate solution” was being championed by Ken Ivory, a former Republican state representative from Utah and longtime leader of the pro-land-transfer movement, and the American Lands Council. The Utah-based nonprofit, which Ivory co-founded in 2012 and led until 2016, advocates for the “timely and orderly transfer of federal public lands to willing states for local control that will provide better public access, better environmental health, and better economic productivity.”
Ebell praised Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, a former fossil fuel lobbyist, and his deregularly approach. Ebell also confirmed that he’d met with Bernhardt during “chance encounters” at the deparment—a phrasing Western Values Project said could be evidence of Bernhardt’s strategy for keeping secret his meetings with ethicical question-posing figures.
“It is clear that selling off and privatizing America’s public lands has been part of the Trump administration’s agenda since day one. Now, with the completion of historic rollbacks to public land protections, all at the behest of their corporate pals, appeasing anti-public land zealots is next up on the list,” said Jayson O’Neill, deputy director of Western Values Project, in a statement.
“This is another indicator that if President Trump and Secretary Bernhardt are given enough time, the wholesale transfer and privatization of America’s public lands will happen in the blink of an eye. Once our public lands are gone,” he warned, “they’re gone for good.”licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.