I’m far from the first to point out how the covid-19 pandemic is exposing the gaping inequalities present in almost every crevice of our society. Every seemingly natural disaster, from hurricanes to a global pandemic, is at its core human-made, each tragedy and death the result of decisions made by our inept political leaders and the CEO class to render some people more disposable than others. In the case of coronavirus, the rich get to flee to their vacation homes or yachts or private islands, the middle-class hunkers down at home, and all of the people who are suddenly on the frontlines, the essential nature of their work now crystal clear—the grocery store cashiers and stockers, the restaurant workers, the USPS employees, the care workers, the warehouse workers—they get to either decide to keep their jobs or risk getting sick and dying. What a choice.
But workers are fighting back, because what other option is there? On Monday, some workers at Instacart went on a nationwide strike to demand better pay, paid sick time, and basic protective gear; the same day, Amazon warehouse workers in Staten Island walked out and are demanding that the company close the warehouse after workers have gotten sick. On Tuesday, Whole Foods employees plan on striking in an effort to win paid leave, free covid-19 testing, and hazard pay.
And they’re not the only ones. More, from veteran labor reporter Steven Greenhouse:
Last Tuesday, after a mechanic tested positive for the coronavirus, more than half the workers at Bath Iron Works, the famous shipyard in Maine, stayed home from work to pressure their employer to thoroughly clean the shipyard. Workers walked out at a Fiat Chrysler truck plant in Warren, Mich., because there was no hot water for washing up. Bus drivers in Birmingham, Ala., went on strike because they felt not enough was being done to protect them from contracting Covid-19 from infected passengers, while bus drivers in Detroit staged a sudden sickout for the same reason. Sanitation workers in Pittsburgh engaged in a work stoppage over their coronavirus worries.
“We want better equipment, protective gear; we have no masks,” one of the sanitation workers told the television station WPXI. “We want hazard pay. Hazard pay is very important.”
At a Kroger warehouse in Memphis, 200 workers walked out after learning that a co-worker had the virus.
A new Washington Post/ABC News poll has some good news for Donald Trump and extremely not good news for Joe Biden and the rest of us—according to the poll, the two are now in a “tightly competitive race for the White House,” with just two percentage points separating them among registered voters.
More, from the Washington Post:
Trump has moved from what was a seven-point deficit in February to a near tie with Biden today. Among registered voters, Biden is favored by 49 percent and Trump by 47 percent. When the poll measures preferences among all adults, Biden stands at 50 percent and Trump at 44 percent.
While it may just be a “temporary look” at the state of the race, one colored by the covid-19 pandemic (presidents typically see bumps in their approval ratings during times of national crisis), there are reasons to be extremely alarmed about the November election, especially as the covid-19 pandemic has all but halted voter registration efforts. Just take the enthusiasm gap between Trump supporters and Biden supporters. Again, via the Washington Post:
More telling is the gap in the intensity of that enthusiasm, which can translate into who turns out to vote and who might not. Among registered voters who support Trump, 55 percent say they are very enthusiastic about backing him while 32 percent say they are somewhat enthusiastic. Among Biden’s supporters, a far smaller 28 percent say they are very enthusiastic while 46 percent are somewhat enthusiastic.
According to the poll, voters trust Trump more than Biden right now on everything from handling the economy to the response to the coronavirus pandemic, which makes sense as Biden, until last week, was largely absent from the public eye, perhaps holed up in his basement attached to the machine that reanimates his corpse on a weekly basis.
- Someone please check on Cory Booker.
- Hey remember when we found out that Senator Richard Burr profited off of the covid-19 pandemic by selling stocks shortly after he was privately briefed on the crisis, days before the stock market began its nosedive and even as he was downplaying the impact of coronavirus? Now the FBI and the Justice Department have launched an inquiry. [CNN]
- Gun shops are essential businesses but abortion clinics are not! America! [Politico]
- But there’s some good news from Texas:
- Meanwhile, in the UK, people will now be able to access medication abortion through the mail. [The Guardian]
- Florida Man Ron DeSantis is both inept and a xenophobe. What else is new!
- Patrick Jones is the first person incarcerated in a federal prison to die from covid-19. [NBC News]
- If we survive the covid-19 pandemic, we may not survive climate change thanks to the Trump administration, which is continuing to push ahead with its plan to roll back Obama-era fuel efficiency standards. [New York Times]