The wildcat strikes and protests by Instacart, Amazon and Whole Foods workers are in response to the criminal subordination of workers’ safety to corporate profits: here.
The epicenter of the coronavirus in Michigan continues to be the City of Detroit, as the number of confirmed cases surged to 2,080 and the number of deaths reached 75 on Tuesday. Wayne County, where Detroit is located, now has 3,735 confirmed cases and 120 deaths, which represents approximately half the total cases (7,615) and deaths (259) in the state: here.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo launched on Tuesday a grotesquely cynical initiative, dubbed a “Democratic Transition Initiative”, aimed at furthering Washington’s longstanding campaign to provoke a pro imperialist coup in Venezuela. This so-called initiative is a blatant attempt to utilize the coronavirus pandemic as a weapon. It is seen by US officials as a means of intensifying the suffering of the Venezuelan people that has been inflicted by a succession of ever-tightening “maximum pressure” sanctions: here.
From the World Socialist Web Site, 31 March 2020:
Chile: On Friday, March 27, following four days of demanding sanitary measures at the plant, scores of workers at the Coca Cola plant in the Maipu suburb of Santiago blocked entrances to the facility and denounced the indifference of management as well as Santiago municipal and federal authorities.
Since the coronavirus appeared in Chile, the Piñera administration … has insisted that workers remain on the job while it relaxed labor rules, making it possible for corporate management to inflict sackings and wage cuts. …
USA: The president of the Raleigh, North Carolina, City Workers Union warned of a “very strong possibility” that city sanitation workers may strike in the wake of the death of Adrian Grubbs, a 37-year-old, 17-year sanitation worker and supervisor. Grubbs died March 25 after testing positive for COVID-19.
Canada: Last week, 70 sanitation workers for the City of Hamilton, Ontario, refused deployment to their garbage collection routes after filing an unsafe work complaint due to inadequate protection from possible COVID-19 infection. Workers have demanded face shields and N95 masks to guard against splash-backs from green bin collection and garbage cans, proper time for hand-washing and changes in curb-side bagging requirements. The municipality has said it has run out of N95 masks and is unable to comply with worker demands.
Refusals to engage in unsafe work continue to grow throughout the country. Fiat-Chrysler workers in Windsor stopped production for three shifts earlier this month, idling over 6,000 autoworkers. Mail carriers in Peterborough interrupted mail delivery for a day to force health and safety protections. This week, 600 mail sorters in Canada Post’s Edmonton mail processing center have threatened to stop work over unsafe conditions unless management addresses important cleaning issues. Last week, community nurses in Edmonton refused unsafe work when they were not provided with N95 masks.
Ontario and Quebec, Canada’s two most populous provinces, have officially been under government-ordered shutdowns of all but essential services and businesses since midnight Tuesday, March 24, to prevent the spread of the highly contagious and potentially lethal coronavirus. But the reality is very different. The two right-wing governments, led respectively by Ontario’s Doug Ford and Quebec’s Francois Legault, have promulgated an expansive, almost catch-all definition of what constitutes an essential business. This is so they can continue to force hundreds of thousands of workers to stay on the job, putting their health and well-being and those of their families at risk, in order to churn out profits for big business: here.