Health & Safety at Work

“They can more than afford to let us keep it permanently”

Amazon workers react to elimination of pandemic hazard pay

By Douglas Lyons, 21 May 2020

Amazon has terminated its unpaid sick time policy and will roll back the $2 per hour pay raise it implemented during the coronavirus pandemic, despite the rising number of infections.

Education unions and Labour councils ready back-door imposition of Johnson government’s “back to school” plan

By Laura Tiernan, 21 May 2020

The decision to send nursery aged children—including babies and toddlers—and primary-aged students as young as 4, 5 and 6 back into schools was taken solely by Johnson and his cabinet of deranged Thatcherites.

Ford Chicago worker tests positive for COVID-19 after North American auto plants reopen

By Shannon Jones, 20 May 2020

The Trump administration is spearheading a campaign to force a return to work, eliminating all pretense of combatting the spread of the coronavirus.

New analysis predicts US coronavirus deaths will triple by end of year

By Bryan Dyne, 20 May 2020

There is evidence that the Florida government, and possibly others, are censoring the data needed to accurately study the development of the pandemic.

COVID-19 spreads among Ford workers in Turkey

By Ulas Atesci, 20 May 2020

Unsafe and even deadly conditions during the pandemic are an international issue facing workers of every country.

UK: Johnson’s criminal “back-to-work” drive depends on the trade unions

By Chris Marsden and Thomas Scripps, 20 May 2020

The reopening of schools and non-essential workplaces must be opposed until they are made safe.

Letter from UK teaching assistant against reopening of schools

20 May 2020

Sarah, who works in a primary school in south Yorkshire, wrote to the WSWS about the Johnson government’s plans to reopen UK schools from June 1.

Hundreds of Mexican maquiladora workers dying after back-to-work orders take effect

By Eric London, 19 May 2020

In Northern Baja California, 432 of the 519 people who have officially died from the virus in the state were maquiladora workers.

Workers angry, concerned as US auto plants reopen

By Jerry White, 19 May 2020

Tens of thousands of workers returned to factories across the US Monday in a major test of the Trump administration’s plans to restart the flow of corporate profits even as the death toll of the pandemic continues to rise.

US health care system devastated by COVID-19 as the markets clamor to reopen the economy

By Benjamin Mateus and Clara Weiss, 19 May 2020

Health care workers throughout the US have been furloughed as health care systems are facing economic devastation caused by the pandemic. A second surge in economically hard-hit areas will confront an equally devasted health care infrastructure.

UK police question suspect in spitting incident that led to rail worker’s death

By Michael Barnes, 19 May 2020

Belly Mujinga’s death produced a horrified reaction among rail workers and an outpouring of sympathy in the working class, but the deranged character of the attack also solicited an outpouring of crocodile tears from those who are ultimately responsible for creating the conditions that led to her death.

Amid failure by corporations and governments to repatriate employees

Cruise ship workers take action in defiance of company threats

By Tom Casey, 19 May 2020

Crew members on board the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line’s (RCCL) Majesty of the Seas staged a protest Friday on the upper deck of the ship, demanding answers from the captain as to when they would be sent home.

Petition demanding pandemic hazard pay for UPS workers gains 300,000 signatures

By Erik Schreiber and Kayla Costa, 19 May 2020

The response to the petition demonstrates workers’ willingness to fight, but its appeal to the Teamsters union is a dead end. A genuine struggle for safety requires the formation of independent rank-and-file committees.

Explosion at downtown Los Angeles warehouse injures 12 firefighters

By Peter Ross, 19 May 2020

The warehouse explosion spread the fire to adjacent buildings but was contained in about an hour by some 230 responders.

“There will be a human cost from this. Everyone knows that.”

Drive to reopen auto plants in North America threatens thousands of lives

By Shannon Jones, 16 May 2020

As the Detroit-based auto companies prepare to restart their North American factories, opposition is growing among workers to a deadly return to work.

Mississippi: Workers at Brentwood Originals pillow factory continue walkouts

By Cordell Gascoigne, 16 May 2020

The walkouts at the Mississippi pillow factory are part of a wave of wildcat strikes and other job actions across the United States and internationally by workers demanding protection from COVID-19.

Hundreds of workers walk out at six fruit packing plants in Washington state

By David Fitzgerald and Kayla Costa, 16 May 2020

Located in the county with the highest COVID-19 infection rate in the state, the agricultural workers are demanding companies provide adequate personal protective equipment, hazard pay and safe working conditions.

Coronavirus crisis exposes devastating conditions in the German meat processing industry

By Marianne Arens, 16 May 2020

German slaughterhouses have become coronavirus hotspots, with hundreds of workers, most of them sub-contracted from Eastern Europe, infected with the virus.

Overwhelming opposition to reopening of UK schools amid worsening COVID-19 pandemic

By Tania Kent and Harvey Thompson, 16 May 2020

The closure of schools is a key measure recommended by medical experts internationally to reduce the infection and death rate from the coronavirus.

One dead and more than 600 Irish meat processing workers infected with coronavirus

By Robert Stevens, 16 May 2020

There are 23,956 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Republic of Ireland and 1,518 deaths—one of the highest death ratios in the world. In Northern Ireland, 4,317 people have tested positive, with 469 deaths.

The murderous pseudoscience of “herd immunity”

By Andre Damon, 16 May 2020

Proponents of “herd immunity” argue that measures to contain COVID-19 should be abandoned, allowing the disease to infect billions of people and kill countless millions.

As Global coronavirus death toll tops 300,000

US whistleblower warns premature return to work will bring “unprecedented illness and fatalities”

By Bryan Dyne, 15 May 2020

Dr. Rick Bright warned yesterday that the pandemic “has the potential to eclipse the devastation wrought by the 1918 influenza, which globally claimed over 50 million lives.”

“We are not going back to unsafe conditions”

After FCA Sterling Heights Assembly workers contract COVID-19, anger mounts over premature return to work

By Shannon Jones, 15 May 2020

Anxiety over a premature return to work has been heightened after reports that several workers in the Detroit area have already been sent home with suspected COVID-19 infections.

Russia ends federal COVID-19 shutdown measures as it surges to second place in infections worldwide

By Andrea Peters, 15 May 2020

There are now more coronavirus infections in Russia than anywhere else in the world, with the exception of the United States and Spain.

Rushed relaxation of coronavirus measures in Germany puts thousands of lives at risk

By Marianne Arens, 15 May 2020

With the general relaxation of the coronavirus measures, cases in schools, retirement homes, local transport, industry and the entire working population are inevitably on the rise again.

Amid charges of unsafe conditions, Puerto Rico’s governor issues back-to-work orders

By Alberto Escalera, 15 May 2020

Businesses have been left to supervise themselves in all matters related to worker safety as the government’s regulatory agencies essentially wash their hands of the matter.

US grocery stores and retailers move to cut pandemic pay to workers

By Zachary Thorton, 15 May 2020

Kroger, Starbucks and other companies plan to end hazard-related bonuses, including pay increases and paid work leave, even as the number of new COVID-19 infections and deaths in the US continues to rise.

The 2003 SARS epidemic: How Canada’s elite squandered the chance to prepare for the COVID-19 pandemic

By Omar Ali, 15 May 2020

Canada’s disastrous response to the pandemic is all the more criminal given the impact of SARS and the repeated government vows that the country’s health system would be well-prepared for any future novel virus.

After COVID-19 infection discovered, 300 workers walk out of Mississippi pillow factory

By Cordell Gascoigne, 14 May 2020

Concern over a possible plantwide spread of the virus was mounting for days when a worker at the plant told supervisors that her husband—also employed at the factory—had tested positive for coronavirus.

UK: COVID-19 confirmed among ASOS warehouse workers

By Tony Robson, 14 May 2020

The largest on-line fashion retailer in the UK has been allowed to keep its non-essential business open throughout the pandemic, including at its main warehouse and distribution centre in Barnsley, South Yorkshire

ASOS worker in UK speaks on unsafe conditions in warehouse

By our reporter, 14 May 2020

“It all looks good on the outside (one-way system, tents with thermo-cameras), but inside they care less and less every day.”

Stranded by COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of cruise ship workers suffer under horrifying conditions

By Tom Casey, 14 May 2020

While companies have since begun to slowly enact measures to repatriate their remaining employees in accordance with governmental guidelines, the conditions facing those workers still stuck on board has grown untenable.

White House Coronavirus Task Force member warns of “really serious” consequences of premature reopening

By Bryan Dyne, 13 May 2020

The testimony was a devastating indictment of Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and made clear that the back-to-work campaign risks countless lives.

With Brazil on course to become new COVID-19 epicenter, Bolsonaro escalates back-to-work campaign

By Miguel Andrade, 13 May 2020

Auto factories have already restarted production even as every region in the country is breaking daily records of cases and deaths.

33 London bus drivers killed by COVID-19: “We are expendable like diesel”

By Laura Tiernan, 13 May 2020

Workers fear infections will soar following Sunday night’s “phased exit” announced by the Johnson government

Anger simmers over restart of production by Detroit automakers

By Shannon Jones, 13 May 2020

The reckless attempt to restart the North American auto industry is meeting with determined resistance by workers unwilling to risk their lives for corporate profits.

US meatpacking workers continue walkouts and protests against forced return to work

By Christopher Davion and Anthony Bertolt, 13 May 2020

On Wednesday May 6, at least 20 workers in West Columbia, South Carolina walked off the job at the House of Raeford Farms chicken processing plant.

California nurses denounce lack of access to PPE

By Brian Dixon and Kimie Saito, 13 May 2020

“We don’t know how many medical workers have died here because of COVID-19 because neither the hospital nor the union tells us.”

New York state to begin reopening in certain regions this weekend

By Josh Varlin, 13 May 2020

Three regions within New York state are set to resume some economic activity May 15, under a plan that leaves significant room for a deadly second wave of the pandemic.

“The company and the union are trying to pacify us, but they don’t care about our lives”

Detroit autoworkers oppose rush to reopen plants as COVID-19 death toll rises

By Jerry White, 12 May 2020

Auto parts suppliers reopened plants in Michigan and other states Monday as GM, Ford and Fiat Chrysler prepare to recall nearly 200,000 autoworkers to their North American factories by May 18.

While coronavirus spreads, lockdowns lifted across Europe

By Will Morrow, 12 May 2020

The mass return to work underway across Europe is in line with the criminal policy being pursued by the Trump administration in the United States.

Nurse fired by Detroit Sinai-Grace Hospital for refusing to work in unsafe conditions

By Stephen Fuller, 12 May 2020

Sal Hadwan, a nurse who participated in a job action along with five other co-workers at Sinai-Grace Hospital in Detroit last month, was fired by the company in retaliation for speaking out against management policies.

Democratic Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf begins unsafe reopening of 37 counties

By Douglas Lyons, 12 May 2020

Wolf, presented as a more rational leader than his Republican counterparts, is restarting the economy as the virus is still killing workers across the state in nursing homes, food-processing plants and warehouses.

China, South Korea and Germany report new COVID-19 outbreaks

By Bryan Dyne, 11 May 2020

In all three countries, the new coronavirus cases have come after the partial lifting of lockdown measures.

Automakers continue production restarts as US death toll tops 80,000

By Marcus Day, 11 May 2020

Billionaire Tesla CEO Elon Musk threatened to withdraw the company’s US operations from California Saturday unless the company is allowed to immediately restart production.

“To them, we’re just numbers”

Selma, Alabama garment workers explain why they walked out of American Apparel plant

By Jerry White, 11 May 2020

The workers who produce facemasks for US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan have not been allowed to use the same masks to protect themselves from COVID-19

As US House returns to Washington, Democrats signal readiness to grant companies immunity for worker deaths

By Barry Grey, 11 May 2020

It is already clear that any “Phase IV” stimulus bill that emerges will further enrich the financial aristocracy at the expense of the jobs, the wages and the very lives of the working class.

UK: Johnson’s “phased” return to work puts millions of workers at immediate risk

By Chris Marsden, 11 May 2020

Johnson tried to portray his six-week plan as “cautious” because of the massive opposition in the working class to ending the lockdown.

Hardship for UK carers worsens during coronavirus pandemic

By John Stryder, 11 May 2020

A carer of an elderly family member wrote to the WSWS about the problems faced by carers during the pandemic.

Governments globally reopen schools, ignoring scientists’ warnings of coronavirus impact on children

By Will Morrow, 11 May 2020

Governments see reopening schools as essential as a false symbol of a return to normal, and so that they can herd parents back into their workplaces.

Washington Post columnist calls for destruction of child care safety in the pursuit of “reopening America”

By Linda Rios and Nick Barrickman, 11 May 2020

Columnist Carrie Lukas demands the elimination of “burdensome” laws protecting children’s safety so that parents may quickly return to work.

Podemos pushes “back to work” as Spanish army expects new COVID-19 outbreak

By Alejandro López, 11 May 2020

The state is placing the lives of millions of workers going back to work in danger, putting corporate profits above workers’ lives.

Hundreds of COVID-19 infections in German meatpacking plants

By Marianne Arens, 11 May 2020

Immigrants from Romania, who are the main workers in the German meatpacking industry, are now being struck down by COVID-19.

Australian unions enforce continued mining production throughout pandemic

By Terry Cook, 11 May 2020

Local authorities in mining regions have warned that the continued operations of the sector threaten outbreaks of COVID-19.

Seventy-five years after the end of World War II

Right-wing ideologues in Germany demand sacrifice of human lives in coronavirus pandemic

By Christoph Vandreier, 11 May 2020

Three-quarters of a century after the end of the most brutal war in world history, the German ruling elite is returning to authoritarian and ultimately fascist policies to enforce militarism and inequality.

For collective strike action against the end of the COVID-19 lockdown!

By the National Committee of the Socialist Equality Party (France), 11 May 2020

The mass opposition of workers against the return to work in France and internationally, which threatens millions of lives, must be politically mobilized.

Children in US and UK dying from syndrome linked to COVID-19

By Jacob Crosse, 9 May 2020

At least two children in the US and one in the UK have died from the newly identified Pediatric Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome, which is believed to be related to COVID-19.

Democratic governor and UAW collude with auto bosses to force return to work in Michigan

By Jessica Goldstein, 9 May 2020

Michigan still remains the fourth highest state in the number of deaths in the US, and the Detroit metro area is among the hardest-hit by the pandemic.

Germany reopens schools, endangering thousands of lives

By Marianne Arens, 9 May 2020

Schools are being reopened in nearly all federal states and the risky measure is meeting with growing opposition from teachers.

NHS staff condemn UK health worker deaths and government herd immunity strategy

By our reporters, 9 May 2020

The UK has registered the highest number of fatalities in Europe from the virus, including at least 200 health and social care workers.

Infections in Ontario, Canada spike as Ford government rushes to reopen economy

By Omar Ali, 9 May 2020

Even as Canada’s confirmed COVID-19 cases surpass 65,000 and the death toll approaches 4,600, the country’s governments are rushing recklessly to “reopen” the economy.

Mental health crisis erupts among health care workers confronting coronavirus

By Alex Johnson, 9 May 2020

Countless testimonials have emerged documenting the psychological harm being inflicted on nurses, doctors and other health workers as a result of the pandemic.

Why are thermal imaging cameras being deployed in US workplaces?

By Kevin Reed, 9 May 2020

Since many infected people are asymptomatic, thermal imaging scanners in workplaces have more to do with the erection of a repressive apparatus than with fighting the pandemic.

Australian governments pushing workers back on the job amid pandemic

By Oscar Grenfell, 9 May 2020

Mass unemployment is being used as a battering ram to push financially devastated workers back into workplaces, regardless of their safety fears.

Australian mine explosion leaves five workers with horrific injuries

By Terry Cook, 9 May 2020

Four miners are fighting for life and another sustained serious injuries in a gas explosion at an Anglo American mine in central Queensland.

New outbreaks of COVID-19 reported at workplaces across the US

By Zachary Thorton, 8 May 2020

As states continue to push to reopen their economies and force workers back on the job, new hot-spots are emerging in factories and stores from Iowa to Massachusetts.

Deemed essential, US farmworkers face wage reductions, zero protections from COVID-19

By Norissa Santa Cruz, 8 May 2020

Farmworkers lack access to basic medical care and suffer from significantly higher rates of diabetes, hypertension and health conditions such as heart disease and environmental cancers due to long exposure to pesticides.

Illinois nursing home workers’ strike blocked by SEIU

By Jessica Goldstein, 8 May 2020

The union pushed through a concessions contract that gives the corporate management of the nursing home facilities everything they wanted and leaves nursing home workers in poverty and working under life-threatening conditions.

Canada: Trudeau gives cash handout to meatpacking giants as COVID-19 cases rise among workers

By Carl Bronski, 8 May 2020

Even as the federal Liberals announced a $77 million handout to major producers, new coronavirus outbreaks were exposed at meatpacking plants in Alberta and Quebec.

“The company is not disclosing any information about sickness and deaths”

UPS workers in New York and New Jersey speak out on the COVID-19 pandemic

By our reporters, 7 May 2020

UPS drivers and sorters are working without proper PPE and health benefits, while management and the Teamsters union are concealing information about the spread of the virus, which has killed at least two workers.

US nursing home catastrophe: Increasing numbers of the elderly fall victim to COVID-19

By Kate Randall, 6 May 2020

The wiping out of large numbers of the elderly population is seen by the ruling elite as a convenient and positive byproduct of the coronavirus pandemic.

At “reopen the economy” event, Trump confirms plans to shut down coronavirus task force

By Barry Grey, 6 May 2020

Trump made a point of calling the American people “warriors,” implying that they had to be prepared to die. And to die, moreover, for Wall Street.

Playing Russian roulette with hundreds of thousands of lives

German big business demands end to lockdown

By Peter Schwarz, 6 May 2020

Two weeks after the initial lifting of some of the coronavirus lockdown's restrictions in Germany, demands for its total abandonment have reached fever pitch.

UK coronavirus death rate at record high in Europe as fatalities pass 32,000

By Robert Stevens, 6 May 2020

Deaths reach record levels as thousands of new coronavirus cases continue to be reported daily in Britain—with another 4,406 yesterday and a total of 194,990.

UK: TUC and Labour attempt damage control after Tories push murderous “back to work” strategy

By Chris Marsden, 6 May 2020

The attempt by Labour and the trade unions to feign concern for the working class is laughable, given that they have functioned in a de facto national unity government with the Tories.

French unions complicit in Macron’s May 11 return-to-work policy

By Anthony Torres and Alex Lantier, 6 May 2020

The CGT is refusing to call any strike action as Macron is pushing workers back into their workplaces next Monday.

Coronavirus, the NHS and the charity shakedown

By Julie Hyland, 6 May 2020

Social care provision in the UK increasingly resembles that of the Victorian period when the lives and wellbeing of millions depended on philanthropy.

Trump administration sends federal strike force to keep meatpacking plants open

By Anthony Bertolt, 6 May 2020

Texas health officials confirmed that they were investigating over 159 cases tied to a JBS meatpacking plant in the state’s northern panhandle.

US teachers union provides political cover to Trump’s demand for the reopening of schools

By Nancy Hanover, 6 May 2020

The AFT’s “Plan to Safely Reopen America’s Schools and Communities,” released on April 29, is entirely in line with the demands of Wall Street.

Canada: Form rank-and-file committees to oppose COVID-19 back-to-work drive

By Roger Jordan and Keith Jones, 6 May 2020

Absent the independent intervention of the working class, workers face a ruinous choice between risking their health and lives by returning to work or being driven into destitution.

Teachers, parents and students defy order to reopen schools in Chile

By Mauricio Saavedra, 6 May 2020

The push to reopen schools is part of the back-to-work campaign waged by the ultra-right Piñera government in complete disregard of the costs in terms of sickness and death.

Australia’s national cabinet pushes return to work despite ongoing COVID-19 dangers

By Oscar Grenfell, 6 May 2020

Prime Minister Scott Morrison bluntly admitted that the reversal of lockdown measures would lead to increased infections.

The Trump administration’s war against society

By Joseph Kishore—SEP candidate for US president, 6 May 2020

Amidst the expanding coronavirus pandemic, the Trump administration is implementing a socially criminal “open up the economy” policy that will result in hundreds of thousands of deaths.

999 Deployment of thermal imaging cameras at workplaces to justify US reopening

6 May 2020

Under US pressure, Mexican government vows to impose return to work and “herd immunity” policy

By Andrea Lobo, 5 May 2020

Hundreds of non-essential maquiladora plants across Mexico have remained open during the pandemic and those that were closed after a wave of wildcat strikes are reopening with the sanctioning of the López Obrador government.

South Africa: ANC government orders a partial return to work amid mounting economic crisis

By Stephan McCoy, 5 May 2020

The lockdown has caused grave hardship for millions of South Africa’s 60 million people, with videos of people waiting in kilometres-long queues for charity food aid going viral.

At least 1,245 Philippine health workers test positive for COVID-19

By Owen Howell, 5 May 2020

The WHO said that the rate of infection among health workers, which is now 13 percent of all cases in the Philippines, is likely linked to the shortage of personal protective equipment.

Canadian workers at Cargill meatpacking plant forced back to work despite 935 infections

By Carl Bronski, 5 May 2020

The events at the Cargill plant are a case study in the drive by corporations across the globe, backed by governments of all political stripes, to place profit over human lives.

Nearly 300 meat-processing workers infected by coronavirus at German slaughterhouse

By Marianne Arens, 2 May 2020

While almost 300 workers at a Baden-Württemberg slaughterhouse have COVID-19, the plant remains open.

Massive opposition by US meatpacking employees to forced return to work

By Anthony Bertolt and Christopher Davion, 2 May 2020

The Trump administration and local officials are trying to enforce a return to work in meatpacking plants while shielding owners from any liability for the deadly consequences.

At least 31 US states easing restrictions despite rising pandemic death toll

By Kate Randall, 1 May 2020

Trump is promoting a reckless and criminal policy of reopening the economy, placing the health and lives of countless millions of Americans in danger.

Brazilian nurses fired for striking in Manaus over PPE

By Tomas Castanheira, 1 May 2020

Thirteen Brazilian nurses were fired after striking on Monday, along with hundreds of their colleagues at the 28 de Agosto Hospital, in the Amazonian capital of Manaus.

Detroit mayor pushes back-to-work agenda as COVID-19 cases rise across Michigan

By Kevin Reed, 1 May 2020

The number of confirmed cases and deaths across the state of Michigan continues rising as Democratic Governor Whitmer and Mayor Mike Duggan push for a rapid reopening of Detroit.

Sixty-eight Amazon workers fall ill with COVID-19 at Winsen, Germany warehouse

By Marianne Arens, 1 May 2020

While Amazon has profited massively from the coronavirus pandemic, hundreds of its workers throughout the world have become infected with COVID-19.

Florida governor reopening state while suppressing reporting of COVID-19 deaths

By Matthew MacEgan, 1 May 2020

The Florida Department of Health is blocking medical examiners from reporting the accurate number of COVID-19 deaths.

Quebec workers denounce government’s rush to “reopen” the economy amid raging COVID-19 pandemic

By Laurent Lafrance, 1 May 2020

“We are being sent out to babysit so that business can make profits on the backs of working people,” a Montreal teacher told the WSWS.

Australian governments rushing to reverse lockdown measures

By Oscar Grenfell, 1 May 2020

Official modelling openly acknowledges that the policies being pursued by governments will result in a “higher number of cases, hospitalisations and deaths.”

“How many people have to die for us to be treated like human beings?”

Tracy, California Amazon worker speaks out on coworker’s death

By Evan Blake, 30 April 2020

At least one worker at the warehouse has died from COVID-19 and many other have tested positive, as management moves to force workers to accept deadly working conditions or face getting fired and losing unemployment benefits.

With over 1 million coronavirus cases and 60,000 fatalities in the US, markets eager to get back to business

By Benjamin Mateus, 29 April 2020

The markets are clamoring for a rapid reopening of businesses, regardless of concerns about the impact of a second wave of the coronavirus.

UK postal worker says: Royal Mail workers need to set up rank-and-file committees

29 April 2020

This article was submitted to the World Socialist Web Site by a UK postal worker.