USA: White House demands end to $600 per week emergency unemployment pay. 16 June 2020. The Trump administration’s plan to cut unemployment assistance in July is a naked ploy to force workers back into factories that are hotbeds of COVID-19: here.
Nearly 24,000 Ohioans told to return unemployment payments. By Isaac Finn, 16 June 2020. State authorities demanded that thousands of workers give back “overpaid benefits” they have received since the start of the economic crisis sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meatpacking workers oppose forced return to work through protests and mass absenteeism. By Christopher Davion, 16 June 2020. With meatpacking plants the epicenter of the spread of coronavirus, workers are opposing the return to work ordered by the Trump administration through protests and absenteeism.
US auto companies pushing for more production as COVID-19 cases rise in factories. By Shannon Jones, 16 June 2020.
Studies on COVID-19 antibody response undermine US “herd immunity” policy. By Benjamin Mateus, 16 June 2020. The antibody response to the coronavirus is not very robust, undermining claims that if enough people are infected, the pandemic will burn itself out.
Virginia and Maryland ease COVID-19 restrictions. By Dominic Gustavo, 16 June 2020. The state authorities in Virginia and Maryland are proceeding with the reopening of the economy with complete indifference to the lives and health of working people in the Washington DC area and across the entire region.
Nurses outraged over US hospital chain bailouts, layoffs and bloated CEO pay. By Gary Joad, 15 June 2020. The largest health care corporations and hospital chains have collected billions in federal grants and laid off tens of thousands of health care workers, while compensating top executives hundreds of millions.
From the World Socialist Web Site, 16 June 2020:
Argentine rubber workers strike for 24 hours over COVID-19 concerns
The Unique Tire Workers Syndicate of Argentina (SUTNA) called a strike on June 11 at the Bridgestone-Firestone plant in Llavallol, a city in Buenos Aires Province. The main demand of the one-day stoppage was to demand “concrete improvements in the preventive measures regarding the COVID-19”, according to a SUTNA statement.
Four cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed at the plant, but the company “continues requiring [workers] to work at close contact with infected persons and refuses to make a quarantine.”
A SUTNA communiqué stated that, though the walkout was for 24 hours, “upon not receiving positive responses, the measures will continue to increment.” The statement ridiculed the “absurd argument” that there was social distancing in the plant, when not only do workers labor close together, but there is no separation between shifts.
The statement concluded that the goal of the strike was so that “management will listen to the workers’ just complaint and that the provincial and national authorities intervene in favor of the employees.”
Mexican health workers protest sanctions and threats against those demanding supplies
Members of the National Union of Health Workers of Mexico held a protest in front of the federal Health Secretariat June 12 to denounce threats and sanctions against health workers who demand quality medical equipment and supplies, as well as better labor conditions.
The protesters brought documented proof of harassment and firings of nurses demanding better supplies for protecting themselves and patients as the COVID-19 pandemic rages.
For the moment, “We are not calling a strike; we’re calling a gathering,” said one nurse and union spokesman, but “if there are more firings, if instead of dialogue we have repression … this peaceful mobilization can be converted to the call for a national strike.”
Protests over Colombian government’s shortchanging of health resources, labor conditions
Workers in the health, education and other sectors in Colombia protested the broken promises and premature reopening plans of the government of right-wing president Iván Duque last week.
On June 9, health organizations called for protests against the government’s failure to deliver on promised resources to meet the anticipated peak in COVID-19 infections. The government had promised 13.7 trillion pesos (UD$3.8 billion) in the last three months, but only delivered about 11 percent: 1.5 billion pesos (US$420 million), according to La Silla Vacía, a political news website.
Colombian health workers, tired of the broken promises of aid, acts of aggression—including death threats—and horrendous working conditions, have held wildcat strikes and protests. Others have resigned en masse.
On June 11, members of FECODE, the Colombian Education Workers Federation, protested and held an encampment at Bogotá’s Parque Colón to protest the Education Ministry’s plans to reopen schools in August without adequate measures to ensure the health of students, teachers and parents. FECODE sent a letter to parents explaining their position.
FECODE was joined by about 50 labor and social organizations at the protest. Speakers also denounced violence against teachers and labor union leaders and criticized the nation’s anti-worker labor reforms, as well as the hikes in public service and transportation fees.
Canada: Grocery store chains end special COVID pay for workers
Several large grocery store chains including Metro, Save-On Foods, Loblaw and Walmart have ended a temporary $2 per hour COVID-19 wage increase provided to their frontline retail employees. Billed by the companies as a “reward” for their brave service in the essential food distribution business, the wage top-ups were in reality meant as a way to stem the flow of the minimum-wage staff who had been absenting themselves as the coronavirus spread into the population even as the companies were slow to provide adequate protections for the workers.
The move comes as Canadian provincial governments prioritize a staggered return to retail business re-openings across the country.
UK: Johnson opens the economy and guarantees fresh COVID-19 outbreak. By Thomas Scripps, 16 June 2020. Scientists warn that easing the lockdown under current conditions is likely to lead to a resurgence of coronavirus, endangering lives and throwing away the sacrifices made by workers and their families.
UK: Legal action highlights social-Darwinist policies against the disabled during COVID-19 pandemic. By Alice Summers, 16 June 2020. Numerous medical guidance documents published during the pandemic suggest that coronavirus patients can be denied or deprioritised for medical care solely on the basis of their age or existing mental or physical disabilities.
“This government has decided that disabled people are better off dead”. UK disability campaigners speak out on coronavirus pandemic. By Alice Summers, 16 June 2020 The WSWS spoke to disability rights campaigners last weekend about the impact of coronavirus pandemic and the Johnson government’s “herd immunity” policy on the lives of disabled people.
Germany: Schools and child daycare centres open despite the high risk of infection. By Marianne Arens, 16 June 2020. The same politicians who pump hundreds of billions of euros of so-called “Corona aid” into the vaults of the big banks and leading companies see no need to equip schools with the measures needed to combat the coronavirus.
Coronavirus pandemic in Poland: Silesian miners sacrificed for profit. By Bartosz Wyspianski and Martin Nowak, 16 June 2020. Nearly every day, almost half of the new infections in Poland can be found in Silesia.
With its hospitals overwhelmed, Delhi emerging as India’s coronavirus epicentre. By Wasantha Rupasinghe, 16 June 2020. India’s Supreme Court has described conditions in the capital city’s hospitals as “horrific,” and the situation is expected to deteriorate in coming weeks as infections rise exponentially.
Indian cruise ship crew stage second protest in three days. By Tom Casey, 16 June 2020. Thousands of cruise ship workers—some of them infected with COVID-19—remained trapped on vessels around the world after the industry shut down last March in response to the pandemic.
New Zealand government lifts all COVID-19 restrictions. By Tom Peters, 16 June 2020. New Zealand’s health system is in severe crisis following decades of austerity and is unprepared for future COVID-19 outbreaks.
It was said that in New Zealand, coronavirus had stopped. However, now there are new cases.