Global class struggle

San Francisco Bay Area school districts push to reopen schools

By Angelo Perera, 27 February 2021

On February 7, the United Educators of San Francisco union reached an agreement to allow “limited instruction.”

Injured Coles Australia worker speaks out: “They’ve tried to destroy me physically, mentally and financially”

By Oscar Grenfell and Jack Turner, 27 February 2021

The worker noted the parallels between his abandonment by the unions and their current attempts to force through a sell-out deal at Coles’ Smeaton Grange warehouse.

999 Deepening social crisis driving ongoing protests in Myanmar

27 February 2021

Michigan boy, 10, loses both hands, both legs to COVID-related MIS-C syndrome

By Zac Corrigan, 27 February 2021

Ten-year-old quadruple amputee Dae’Shun Jamison from Shelby, Michigan is just one of more than 2,000 children in the US to develop Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children after catching COVID-19.

Michigan governor pushes for school reopenings as Ann Arbor school board reverses decision to remain virtual

By Sheila Brehm and James McDonald, 27 February 2021

In a press conference Wednesday, Democratic Governor of Michigan Gretchen Whitmer announced that 85 percent of Michigan school districts are currently open for in-person learning and that she is “pleased that 97 percent of the school districts will be reopened by March 1st.”

999 (2/25) Reopening of middle schools in NYC

27 February 2021

WISAG airport workers on hunger strike in Frankfurt, Germany: “We will not give up”

By Marianne Arens, 27 February 2021

Two dozen workers are fighting at Frankfurt airport against sackings, wage theft and coronavirus insecurity.

Major school districts press to reopen throughout Washington D.C. metro area

By Harvey Simpkins, 27 February 2021

The return to schools follows separate announcements by the governors of Virginia and Maryland calling on all schools to reopen in March.

Andhra Pradesh steel workers and youth rally against privatisation; Pakistani transit workers strike for unpaid salaries; Australia: McCormick food production workers strike in Melbourne

Workers Struggles: Asia and Australia

27 February 2021

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

UK government declares testing and wearing masks “not compulsory” in reopened schools

By Robert Stevens, 27 February 2021

Teachers, in poll after poll and on social media, have voiced their opposition to returning to work under unsafe conditions, but are up against trade unions who are colluding in the government’s plans.

Australia: Vote “no” in ballot on Coles Smeaton Grange sell-out!

Oscar Grenfell, 26 February 2021

A continued rejection of the sell-out must be linked to the fight for a broader movement of the working class, outside the straitjacket of the unions.

British gas engineers continue stoppage; 2,000 UK bus drivers strike in London; nationwide one-day strikes and demonstrations in South Africa

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

26 February 2021

British gas engineers resume strike action after company refuses to budge over “fire and rehire”; UK London bus drivers strike over pay cut; one-day national action in South Africa over unemployment, poverty and inequality

999 Montgomery, AL schools push to reopen as cases spike

26 February 2021

Germany: Frankfurt Airport personnel begin hunger strike against dismissals

By Marianne Arens, 26 February 2021

On Wednesday morning Frankfurt Airport personnel commenced a hunger strike to protest against and reverse their dismissals.

999 UK government to push through longer hours and summer schooling in back to school agenda

26 February 2021

Strike by London bus workers at RATP Dev wins widespread support

By Tony Robson, 26 February 2021

RATP Dev is seeking an end to guaranteed minimum hours per day, in line with London-wide plans for Remote Sign On and shift “flexibility” by all the bus companies.

“Workers fought so hard to get these rights”

Stellantis Sterling Heights Assembly workers call for fight to defend the eight-hour day

By Shannon Jones, 26 February 2021

The drive by management and the UAW to impose a 12-hour, seven-day rotation for skilled trades is facing near unanimous opposition.

999 (2/25) Reopening of middle schools in NYC

26 February 2021

999 Michigan school reopenings (focus on Ann Arbor)

26 February 2021

No to school reopenings in Turkey before the pandemic is contained!

The Rank-and-File Committee for Safe Education in Turkey, 26 February 2021

We call on all educators, parents and students who support this initiative to contact us to establish rank-and-file committees for safe education and to expand this struggle, which is vital for public health.

San Diego school districts move to resume in-person classes

By Kevin Martinez, 26 February 2021

Despite opposition from parents and the community, the San Diego Unified School District is planning to reopen schools by April.

Sri Lankan government mobilises army to break health workers’ strike

By Sakuna Jayawardena, 26 February 2021

None of the health service unions, nor any other trade union, has opposed or condemned the Rajapakse government’s deployment of the military.

Bus drivers speak on London strikes: “This is just the spark of a broader fight”

By Tony Robson, 26 February 2021

“The pandemic has created a gaping hole between the companies and management on one side and the workers who have lost their lives and wages. This is the same around the world.”

For a full investigation of those responsible for the disaster in Texas!

Texas Educators Rank-and-File Safety Committee, 25 February 2021

We demand that every individual, politician and corporation responsible for the social disaster in Texas be criminally prosecuted and that all workers be made whole.

Stellantis cuts jobs at Illinois auto plant one month after merger

By Marcus Day, 25 February 2021

The layoff of 150 workers at Belvidere Assembly is an opening shot in what will inevitably be an attempt by the automaker to increase its profitability through mass job cuts, factory closures and other brutal cost-cutting measures.

West Virginia Senate outlaws public employee strikes as state demands schools reopen

By Nick Barrickman, 25 February 2021

On the third anniversary of the historic 2018 West Virginia teachers’ strike, the state senate passed a punitive bill codifying anti-strike measures into state law.

Workers across Myanmar stage general strike against military dictatorship

By Owen Howell, 25 February 2021

The turnout at Monday’s protests and strikes throughout Myanmar was the largest since the February 1 coup, despite threats from the military that a general strike would lead to further “loss of life.”

German federal and state governments’ plans for reopening schools threaten thousands of lives

By Gregor Link, 25 February 2021

Unless the working class intervenes independently to close factories, offices, schools and day-care centres, hundreds of thousands of deaths loom in Germany alone in an even worse wave of the pandemic.

Sri Lankan government proposes tiny wage rise to deflect plantation workers’ unrest

By M. Thevarajah and W.A. Sunil, 25 February 2021

The government, in collaboration with the unions, is desperately attempting to dissipate the rising anger of plantation workers over wages and company productivity demands.

Chicago elementary teachers begin returning to classrooms under near-total media blackout

By Alexander Fangmann, 24 February 2021

While local reporters and the Chicago Teachers Union maintain a wall of silence over the dangers facing educators and students, schools have become the number one potential exposure locations in the state, according to contact tracing.

999 (2/22) Educators oppose drive to reopen schools

24 February 2021

Massachusetts nurses vote to strike for safe staffing ratios

By Ben Oliver, 24 February 2021

Nurses at St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester, Massachusetts, without a contract since November 2019, on February 10 gave their overwhelming approval for strike action for safer working conditions and patient outcomes.

999 Bill banning strikes in WV

24 February 2021

Los Angeles Unified School District moves to reopen schools for in-person instruction

By Peter Ross, 24 February 2021

Officials in Los Angeles announced on Monday that some in-person instruction will resume next week, with a full reopening planned for next month. The announcement comes amid reports that a more contagious variant of COVID-19 has become the dominant strain in California.

Philadelphia teachers union endorses bogus claims of school renovations as cover for reopening schools

By Douglas Lyons, 24 February 2021

The PFT, while posing as “concerned” about certain elements of the reopening plans, claims falsely that schools can be made safe through updates to decrepit school buildings, in particular, improved ventilation systems.

Corporate media and both big business parties press to reopen schools in California

By Melody Isley, 24 February 2021

Despite the capitalist propaganda, parents have expressed overwhelming support for online learning, which they know prioritizes the health of their families, school workers and educators.

Australia: Coles gloats over mid-year profits as Smeaton Grange lockout continues

By Oscar Grenfell, 24 February 2021

Coles is only able to reap massive profits and to proceed with a sweeping restructure, as a result of the perfidy of the United Workers Union.

Amid second wave of deaths: London bus drivers must form rank-and-file safety committees at all garages!

London Bus Rank-and-File Committee, 23 February 2021

On average, more than one bus driver has died each week during the pandemic. Our lives count for nothing against revenue targets dictated in company boardrooms by Transport for London, Labour Mayor Sadiq Khan and the Johnson government, enforced by Unite the union.

Mexico Interjet workers continue strike, Molson workers locked out in Toronto

Workers Struggles: The Americas

23 February 2021

Workers at Mexican air carrier Interjet voted by an overwhelming 95 percent margin to continue their strike begun in January, while Molson has locked out 300 workers at its Toronto, Canada brewery.

Coronavirus raging in Germany’s factories

By Ludwig Weller, 23 February 2021

Research by BuzzFeed News and Report Mainz shows that the virus is spreading without hindrance throughout workplaces in Germany.

With a 12-hour, seven-day schedule at Sterling Heights Assembly, UAW repudiates long battle for eight-hour day

By Shannon Jones, 23 February 2021

With the announcement of an April 5 start day for a grueling 12-hour, seven-day schedule at the Stellantis Sterling Heights Assembly Plant (SHAP), the UAW has repudiated rights that workers fought and died for over the course of well over 100 years.

Montgomery, Alabama schools moves forward with plans to convert public schools into privately-operated charter schools

By Shelley Connor, 23 February 2021

The Montgomery Public School Board, a focal point of months of protests by teachers over COVID-19 deaths, is turning over three schools to charter operators.

Coles staff and Australia Post rank-and-file committee issue call

The working class must come to the aid of the locked-out Smeaton Grange workers!

23 February 2021

The working class everywhere must come to the defence of the locked-out Smeaton Grange workers and begin preparing concrete actions to strengthen their fight and break the isolation being imposed by the union.

Eight Sri Lankan plantation workers arrested in company-police attack

By M. Thevarajah, 23 February 2021

The Ceylon Workers Congress, Sri Lanka’s main plantation union, is actively supporting company and state attacks on striking Alton tea estate workers.

UK Educators Rank-and-File Safety Committee opposes unsafe school reopenings

Our reporter, 22 February 2021

The UK Educators Rank-and-File Safety Committee held a lively online meeting on Saturday, just days before yesterday’s unsafe reopening of schools across Scotland and Wales, and as the Johnson government moves to reopen all school on March 8.

Teachers in US resist demand to accept “reasonable risk” of dying

By Jerry White, 21 February 2021

The Biden administration, the corporate media and the teachers unions have ganged up against educators who are refusing to risk their lives.

Sri Lanka health workers discuss need for action committees at public meeting

Our correspondents, 21 February 2021

Over 60 people, including doctors, nurses and other health staff, the participated in the Health Workers’ Action Committee at Peradeniya Teaching Hospital public meeting earlier this month.

Kroger to close at least two grocery stores in Seattle after hazard pay increase

By Kayla Costa and David Fitzgerald, 21 February 2021

Following a similar series of events in California cities, Kroger has announced the closure of two QFC grocery stores in Seattle, Washington in retaliation against the City Council imposing a $4 hourly wage increase for the remainder of the pandemic.

Bus drivers to strike at RATP Dev London and Go North West: Break Unite’s stranglehold and launch a unified offensive

Tony Robson, 21 February 2021

The transport companies are seizing on the pandemic to impose restructuring at the expense of drivers’ livelihoods, even as corporate disregard for safety has claimed the lives of more than 88 bus and coach drivers nationally.

With thousands facing layoffs, Brazilian unions push temporary work at Ford

By Brunna Machado, 20 February 2021

Knowing that they will soon be laid off, the workers are to return to the factories to meet the company’s demand for spare parts.

999 German Morenoites sabotage struggle against the pandemic

20 February 2021

999 Kroger closes two more stores over Seattle pandemic pay measure

20 February 2021

Ontario reopens all schools, delays March break ignoring warnings of a third COVID-19 wave

By Jake Silver, 20 February 2021

The growing opposition among teachers must find independent political expression in a struggle to shut down all in-class learning until the pandemic is brought under control.

Office staff at UK Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency ballot for strike after 535 COVID-19 infections and death of worker

By Simon Whelan, 20 February 2021

The exposure of DVLA workers to a deadly disease is just one example of the thousands of employers who have put pressure on millions of employees to go into workplaces unnecessarily.

Germany: MV Werften to cut 1,200 shipyard jobs

By Gustav Kemper, 20 February 2021

1,200 jobs at the MV shipyards on the Baltic Sea are to be cut, according to the owners’ plans.

CUNY breaks faculty and staff contract, withholding promised pay raises

By Elliott Murtagh, 20 February 2021

Depression-like cuts are devastating the largest urban university system in the US.

Australian union holds another “indicative” vote pushing sell-out at Coles Smeaton Grange

By Oscar Grenfell, 20 February 2021

The union insists that workers have no choice but to accept the sell-out, while Coles signals it will end the protracted lockout only if there is complete capitulation to its demands.

Burmese police attack striking railway workers; West Bengal contract teachers demand equal pay; Australia: NSW ambulance paramedics to protest casualisation

Workers Struggles: Asia and Australia

20 February 2021

Burmese police attack striking railway workers; West Bengal contract teachers demand equal pay; Australia: NSW ambulance paramedics to protest casualisation

999 (2/19) Texas R&F statement on Chicago & crisis in TX

20 February 2021

999 Amazon Romulus worker dies

20 February 2021

Learn from the CTU’s betrayal in Chicago! Build committees nationwide to stop school reopenings!

Chicago Educators Rank-and-File Safety Committee, 20 February 2021

The effort to reopen schools in Chicago was aimed at setting a precedent for reopening districts everywhere and shifting the relationship of class forces in the US as a whole.

Stop the deadly reopening of Philadelphia Schools!

Pennsylvania Educators Rank-and-File Safety Committee, 20 February 2021

Our committee unequivocally demands a stop to the drive to reopen the Philadelphia public school system amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

999 Pennsylvania Educators R&F statement on Philly schools

20 February 2021

UAW and Stellantis set April 5 start date for 12-hour, seven-day schedule for skilled trades at Sterling Heights Assembly Plant

By Shannon Jones, 19 February 2021

The new schedule, based on four rotating crews alternating over two weeks, represents a further major assault on the eight-hour day.

Teachers and health workers strike amid back-to-school campaign in Brazil

By Eduardo Parati and Brunna Machado, 19 February 2021

Faced with enormous opposition from teachers, the Brazilian ruling class fears that the return to classes will provoke a nationwide wave of struggles beyond the control of the unions and pseudo-left parties.

999 Pennsylvania Educators R&F statement on Philly schools

19 February 2021

Portuguese teachers strike; national strike planned against South Africa’s ANC government

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

19 February 2021

Portuguese teachers strike against unsafe return to schools order; national strike planned against South Africa’s ANC government over the erosion of workers’ rights, unemployment, corruption, inequality and poverty.

Australian educators support locked out Coles workers

By Our reporters, 19 February 2021

Teachers have spoken out in support of the locked out workers at the Smeaton Grange warehouse in Sydney, and have condemned the United Workers Union’s attempts to impose a sell-out deal.

Attend online meeting on Saturday to organise fightback!

Prime Minister Johnson backed by Scottish and Welsh governments in deadly school reopenings

Thomas Scripps, 19 February 2021

The Educators Rank-and-File Safety Committee calls on workers who recognise the grave danger posed by the school reopenings to attend our online meeting on Saturday to discuss the fightback

Trade unions call off strike at Alcoa aluminium giant in Spain

By Santiago Guillen and Alejandro López, 19 February 2021

Having isolated the strike, the unions moved to shut it down precisely as it coincided with a broader upsurge of struggles in Spain and across Europe against job cuts and “herd immunity” policies.

Philadelphia postpones public school reopenings to March 1

By Douglas Lyons, 18 February 2021

The decision to push back reopening is an indication that both the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers and the school district recognize they need more time to bring the opposition of teachers under control.

An explosion at an Indian fireworks factory kills 20 workers

By Shibu Vavara and Saman Gunadasa, 18 February 2021

The human carnage in the fireworks industry is a result of the criminal indifference of successive governments for the lives of one of the most oppressed sections of the Indian working class.

Teachers in US state of Georgia herded back into unsafe classrooms

By Kranti Kumara, 18 February 2021

In spite of four teacher deaths and strident opposition, the state of Georgia is denying educators vaccinations and sending them back to unsafe schools.

São Paulo’s municipal teachers strike grows despite union sabotage

By Tomas Castanheira, 18 February 2021

A survey by rank-and-file teachers indicates that the strike has spread to hundreds of schools in the city, preventing many of them from reopening.

Amazon sues New York to claim immunity from state COVID-19 safety regulations

By Tom Carter, 18 February 2021

Amazon filed a lawsuit in federal district court Friday demanding a ruling that it is not required to comply with New York safety laws and regulations, while New York authorities filed a complaint against Amazon on Tuesday that paints a devastating picture of the callous disregard for workers’ lives by the $1.6 trillion global conglomerate throughout the pandemic.

Australia: Peters Ice Cream workers reject wage-cutting drive

By Steve Streitberg, 18 February 2021

Workers have rejected a management proposal to slash the wages of casual workers by nearly 30 percent, and are enforcing an indefinite overtime ban.

Biden falsely downplays dangers of COVID-19 in schools

By Evan Blake, 18 February 2021

At a CNN town hall event Wednesday, Biden made his most direct intervention into the campaign to reopen schools, falsely claiming that children and their families are not endangered by the reopenings.

Philadelphia Teachers Union promotes pseudo-science as it prepares deal to open schools

By Douglas Lyons, 17 February 2021

The PFT is hoping to stymie any opposition from educators and parents who have compelled the district to backpedal in reopening several times already.

Protests and work stoppages continue in Myanmar against military coup

By Peter Symonds, 17 February 2021

If the military has not simply turned its guns on protesters, as it has in the past, it is because it fears an explosion of opposition in the working class.

Chile: Third police murder in five days and the fraudulent campaign to reform the Carabineros

By Mauricio Saavedra, 17 February 2021

Jaime Veizaga Sánchez is the third person to fall victim to police violence in five days.

Behind GM’s shift to all-electric vehicles by 2035

Part 2

By Marcus Day, 17 February 2021

As with all significant technological advances under capitalism, the shift to EVs is not being directed at the betterment of society or the improvement of working conditions, but rather is being used to intensify the exploitation of the working class.

Los Angeles officials press to reopen schools, citing bogus “threshold”

By Tom Hall, 17 February 2021

The campaign to reopen schools in the US reached its next phase Monday night, when Los Angeles County officials declared that the second-largest school district in the country has been “cleared” to reopen.

Millions remain without power in Texas, as freezing temperatures wreak havoc across the US

By Cordell Gascoigne, 17 February 2021

More than 20 deaths have been linked to Winter Storm Uri, including a woman and her three elementary-school-age grandchildren who died in a house fire around 2:00 a.m. Tuesday in Sugar Land, Texas.

Professional football testing and tracing regimens reveal further dangers for in-person teaching

By Bryan Dyne, 17 February 2021

If transmission of the coronavirus can penetrate the National Football League’s extraordinarily well-funded testing and contact tracing program, the vast majority of workers, who do not have access to such resources, stand no chance.

Mobilize educators and workers across Tennessee to stop school reopenings in Memphis!

Tennessee Educators Rank-and-File Safety Committee, 17 February 2021

We appeal to educators and workers across Tennessee to mount a determined fight against the reopening of schools in Memphis and Shelby County, which are slated to begin on March 1.

Massachusetts nurses vote overwhelmingly to strike for safe staffing ratios

Workers Struggles: The Americas

16 February 2021

The 800 nurses at St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester, Massachusetts voted February 10 by an 89 percent margin to strike over unsafe staffing ratios. The Massachusetts Nurses Association (MNA) is seeking to reduce the ratio of nurses to patients from the current one-to-five to a one-to-four ratio.

Behind the warehouse lockout in Australia: Coles and the corporate restructuring offensive

By Mike Head, 16 February 2021

With a market capitalisation of $24 billion, the Coles Group is the 18th largest company listed on the leading Australian share index, the ASX200, and is determined to satisfy the dictates of the global financial markets, for higher returns and share prices.

Oregon and other US states prioritize vaccinating educators in order to boost profits

By David Fitzgerald, 16 February 2021

Numerous US states plan to vaccinate teachers in the first phase of vaccinations as a means to reopen schools, regardless of the extent of community spread.

Behind GM’s shift to all-electric vehicles by 2035

Part 1

By Marcus Day, 16 February 2021

While GM left itself ample wiggle room in its timeline to move away from combustion engines—calling the plan an “aspiration”—the announcement nonetheless reflects tectonic shifts in the global auto industry and world economy.

As farmers expand their agitation, Indian government intensifies repression

By Wasantha Rupasinghe, 16 February 2021

The Delhi police, which are directly controlled by Modi’s chief henchman and Home Minister, Amit Shah, have filed First Information Reports against hundreds of farmers and more than 40 farmer leaders.

Brazilian unions suppress workers’ opposition to mass layoffs following Ford shutdowns

By Brunna Machado, 15 February 2021

The dismissal of 5,000 workers directly employed by Ford and the closing of its three remaining plants in Brazil will lead to the loss of another 119,000 jobs.

GMB union calls off British Gas strike to enter talks

By Barry Mason and Robert Stevens, 15 February 2021

The union moved to call off the strike Thursday evening and have been in talks since Friday at the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service, the traditional graveyard for strikes.

US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports 5,333 workers died on the job in 2019, or one every 99 minutes

By Steve Filips, 14 February 2021

The BLS report shows three consecutive years of increasing worker fatality rates in the US, even before the coronavirus pandemic.

Australian students call for support for locked-out Coles warehouse workers

By our correspondents, 14 February 2021

The company’s video last week “exposed that the union is working hand-in-glove with Coles management against the interests of the workers.”

Pro-democracy demonstrations return to Thailand despite increased repression

By Ben McGrath, 14 February 2021

The military-backed government of Prayuth Chan-ocha is cracking down on participants of last year’s protest movement in an effort to silence political opposition.

“We are being abandoned by our union and being led to the slaughter by our school system”

Teachers from Maryland’s Eastern Shore speak out against school reopenings

By Harvey Simpkins, 14 February 2021

Three teachers from the Eastern Shore of Maryland recently spoke to the World Socialist Web Site Educators Newsletter about the reopening of schools and their reasons for joining the Educators Rank-and-File Safety Committee. Their names have been changed to protect them from retaliation by both their school system and union.

Management presses to impose “discipline” as strike by Indian Toyota workers enters fourth month

By Arun Kumar and Kranti Kumara, 13 February 2021

As the strike by Toyota Kirloskar Motor workers enters the fourth month, the Karnataka Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government is conspiring with management against the striking workers.

Who is behind the drive to reopen São Paulo’s schools?

By Miguel Andrade, 13 February 2021

A handful of representatives of the most powerful lobbies operating in Brazil’s richest state are concocting a “popular” basis for a policy aimed at restoring capitalist profits.

Korea: Renault Samsung workers to strike for better pay; Migrant construction workers protest in China; Dock workers to strike in Melbourne, Australia

Workers Struggles: Asia and Australia

13 February 2021

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

Video: SEP (Australia) responds to Coles’ denunciation of “extremist socialists”

Oscar Grenfell, 13 February 2021

Coles revealed the real line-up in the Smeaton Grange warehouse dispute: the company and the union on one side, and the workers on the other.