Workers in the time of Coronavirus

Layoffs, furloughs, schedule cuts to workers to the mistreatment, overworking, and underpaying of workers on the frontlines

Unemployment in the US could reach as high as 30 percent in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Workers in various industries have been experiencing mass layoffs and furloughs, left with no income and forced to rely on unemployment benefits, which only provide a portion of lost income. During this time, workers are also losing benefits such as health insurance during a health crisis.

The coronavirus is exposing how ill equipped the US economy is to handle this crisis. Millions of workers were already living paycheck to paycheck, with little to no safety net such as paid sick leave or any kind of paid time off.

The pandemic is also exposing the fallacy of arguments against raising the minimum wage to at least $15 an hour, as the essential emergency workers during this crisis are those who work in grocery stores, in warehouses, in fast food restaurants, in hospitals; and these same workers are often low paid, with little to no benefits, and no union representation.

As large corporations such as Target, Walmart, and Amazon are hiring thousands of workers to meet large increases in demand, workers at these companies have sounded alarms on the lack of concern, protections, and adequate compensation.

Amazon and Whole Foods workers-

Target and Walmart workers-

As congress is currently debating the details of industry bailouts, such as the airline industry, workers are sounding the alarm over concerns that these bailouts will repeat past mistakes of handing enormous checks to corporations who will use that money to enrich themselves and their shareholders, while leaving their workers on the frontlines out to dry. The template for industry bailouts need to be focused on worker relief, in continuing to maintain payrolls to protect workers’ wages and benefits.