Health & Safety at Work

Autoworkers demand to know: How extensive is the outbreak at Sterling Heights Assembly Plant?

By The Sterling Heights Assembly Plant Rank-and-File Safety Committee, 4 November 2020

The committee has independently confirmed two separate outbreaks on opposite sides of the plant, suggesting a larger outbreak may be underway.

999 Meatpacking update

4 November 2020

Highest one-week increase in US child cases since onset of COVID-19 pandemic

By Genevieve Leigh, 4 November 2020

More than 61,000 children in the US were diagnosed with COVID-19 last week, more than in any other week during the pandemic.

999 Nurses protests roundup

4 November 2020

Jennifer Jones calls for united action in parents strike: “Are things serious enough for a mass walk out? How serious does it need to get?”

By our reporter, 4 November 2020

The World Socialist Web Site spoke with Boycott Return to Unsafe Schools leader Jennifer Jones about the parents strike they have called for this Thursday.

Teachers at Toronto school walk off the job after COVID-19 outbreak

By Roger Jordan, 4 November 2020

Acting at the behest of Ontario’s Conservative government, school authorities have rejected out of hand teachers’ demand for the school’s closure or additional safety measures.

Turkish government rejects lockdown as pandemic spirals out of control

By Barış Demir, 4 November 2020

President Erdoğan’s government insists on continuing its back-to-work, back-to-school policy as thousands fall ill and deaths mount.

Thirteen-year-old eighth grader in Missouri dies of COVID-19

By Genevieve Leigh, 3 November 2020

The sudden and tragic death of such a young child has sent shockwaves through the community and across the US.

999 Meatpacking update

3 November 2020

National Education Union belatedly begs Johnson government to close UK schools during lockdown

By Robert Stevens, 3 November 2020

The NEU itself envisages only a temporary closure of schools, calling for “rotas to be introduced at the end of the lockdown period.”

Washington D.C. Public Schools halt reopening plans as teachers mount sickout strike

By Nick Barrickman, 3 November 2020

The halt to reopening comes after 93 percent of Washington D.C. Public School teachers declared a vote of “no confidence” in the Democratic Party-controlled city’s school reopening plan.

Teachers strike across France against first day of deadly school reopenings

By Will Morrow, 3 November 2020

Government policy means that schools will act as vectors for the transmission of the virus, countless children will become infected, and will infect family and friends.

“It’s like their budget is more important than the safety of staff and customers”

Whole Foods worker describes dangers of COVID-19 for US grocery workers

By Jessica Goldstein, 3 November 2020

A new study by Harvard University shows that those Boston-area grocery store workers who caught COVID-19 most likely contracted it through the workplace, not through outside personal activities.

Brookline, Massachusetts educators begin sickout strike as state officials push to keep schools open

By Andrew Timon and Kate Randall, 3 November 2020

The governor and Massachusetts school officials have placed a premium on opening schools despite the dangerous spike in coronavirus infections.

Who bears responsibility for the Canadian ruling elite’s catastrophic handling of the COVID-19 pandemic?

By Roger Jordan, 2 November 2020

By systematically prioritizing corporate profit and investor wealth over human lives, Canada’s governments have created conditions for a second wave of COVID-19 infections and deaths even bigger than the first.

Omaha, Nebraska school worker dies from COVID-19 as cases spike and teacher anger grows

By James Martin, 2 November 2020

School custodian Greg Petersen became ill as schools reopen and teacher opposition grows to the spread of the deadly virus.

French students denounce inadequate partial lockdown

By Samuel Tissot, 2 November 2020

Students denounce abrupt, inadequate second lockdown as confusion and precarity loom large.

Johnson government forced into new national lockdown, but schools, universities and factories must stay open

By Robert Stevens, 2 November 2020

The lockdown was forced on Johnson because coronavirus has escalated out of control since the economy was reopened in May, threatening to swamp the National Health Service and result in deaths on a scale dwarfing the height of the pandemic in spring.

Missouri hospitals face being overwhelmed in latest surge of COVID-19 infections

By Cole Michaels, 2 November 2020

Hospital administrators across the state are raising the alarm, demanding the governor take action to limit the spread, including mandating masks, even as plans remain to reopen schools.

Union suppresses Albany, New York nurses’ fight for coronavirus protections

By Erik Schreiber, 2 November 2020

For two years, the New York State Nurses Association has allowed its members to work without a contract while opposing a genuine fight for the minimum safety measures needed to protect nurses against infection.

United States rockets past 100,000 daily cases

By Bryan Dyne, 31 October 2020

There were more than 500,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States over the past seven days, measured both by the daily new case counts and the seven-day running average.

Australian ruling elite again demands premature lifting of pandemic restrictions

By Mike Head, 31 October 2020

The similar ending of safety measures caused the COVID-19 catastrophes, now engulfing hospitals throughout Europe, the US and many other parts of the world.

San Diego educators and students demand access to COVID-19 outbreak data

By San Diego Educators Rank-and-File Safety Committee, 30 October 2020

The public must be granted access to proper data and information so that individuals can make informed decisions on their health, and to ensure the proper protection of themselves and their families.

Health systems in the United States are facing growing strains with the surge in COVID-19 cases

By Benjamin Mateus, 29 October 2020

The number of US COVID-19 cases surpassed nine million yesterday, with 500,000 of these cases added to the ledger just in the last week.

Russian government issues mask mandate, opposes shutdown as COVID cases spike

By Andrea Peters, 29 October 2020

With coronavirus cases far outpacing their May peak, outbreaks are hitting medical facilities and cultural institutions across the country.

As COVID-19 surges in Europe, governments protect profits over lives

By Johannes Stern and Alex Lantier, 29 October 2020

If the resurgence of COVID-19 across Europe is not halted, it is a matter of only a few weeks before hospitals are overrun and masses of people cut off from treatment.

“People bring items with them to scan in the bathroom so they can make rate”

Speedup, infections and near-death in freezers at Amazon Fresh warehouse

By Jonathan Burleigh, 29 October 2020

The grocery delivery arm of the online retailer is taking full advantage of high unemployment and lax safety regulation to further exploit its workforce.

Half of India’s population could be infected with COVID-19 by next February

By Wasantha Rupasinghe, 29 October 2020

A government appointed committee has warned of a potential second wave of infections in winter leading to a sharp rise in the percentage of the population hit by the coronavirus.

Alberta health care workers stage wildcat strike in opposition to job cuts and privatizations

By Roger Jordan, 28 October 2020

The walkout by the poorly-paid health care workers expressed growing class anger against Alberta’s right-wing UCP government and the Canadian elite’s ruinous handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Second worker at Nashville’s AT&T office building dies from COVID-19

By Zac Thorton, 28 October 2020

Workers at the landmark office building, who have been confronted with the inhuman choice between their lives and their livelihoods, speak out following the death of another coworker.

UK teacher describes disastrous lack of safety at reopened schools: “Teachers are at high risk of serious illness and death from COVID-19”

By Our reporter, 28 October 2020

Lucia tried to share a petition calling for PPE for teachers, with 200,000 signatures, with national media organisations but was ignored, including by the pseudo-left Socialist Workers Party.

Canadian court outlaws picketing of Loblaws distribution center in Newfoundland Dominion grocery strike

By Janet Browning and Carl Bronski, 28 October 2020

Designated as essential workers, the Dominion store workers laboured through the pandemic with totally inadequate protection from the virus, only to be forced onto the picket lines by Loblaws and its billionaire owner, Galen Weston.

999 COVID-19 in India

28 October 2020

Faceboook moderators forced to return to offices as COVID-19 continues to spread

By Mike Ingram, 28 October 2020

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread across the world, Facebook and its contractors are forcing content moderators to return to offices and risk their lives.

As COVID-19 floods hospitals, Macron debates second lockdown in France

By Alex Lantier, 28 October 2020

Europe is recording over 200,000 new cases each day, with France among the continent’s worst-hit countries, regularly reporting 30,000 to 50,000 new cases daily.

Far right attacks scientists as coronavirus infections explode in Germany

By Gregor Link, 28 October 2020

On Saturday night, the Robert Koch Institute was the target of an arson attack. According to the police, unknown assailants attacked an institute building in Tempelhof-Schöneberg with several flammable objects.

999 Trump admin admits to herd immunity policy

27 October 2020

Automation drive accelerates in meatpacking industry in response to coronavirus pandemic

By Cordell Gascoigne, 27 October 2020

The drive for automation no doubt has the potential to free workers from laborious and life-threatening tasks, particularly during a pandemic, but the result of automation under capitalism is to increase the exploitation of workers through layoffs, speedup and wage cuts.

COVID rips through Michigan K-12 schools: record 29 new outbreaks reported last week

By Zac Corrigan, 27 October 2020

Altogether, there are now 99 total ongoing outbreaks that have led to 482 reported cases of COVID-19 among students, teachers and staff throughout Michigan.

UK Nightingale hospitals readied as pandemic threatens to overwhelm NHS

By Ben Trent, 27 October 2020

As the pandemic hit the UK, tens of thousands of operations were cancelled. The pressure to clear through this backlog, while simultaneously handling the resurgence of the virus, will have dire effects on an already beleaguered NHS.

Health care systems face collapse across Eastern Europe amid resurgent COVID-19 pandemic

By Markus Salzmann, 27 October 2020

Poland’s leading epidemiologist pointed to parallels between current conditions in Poland and those in Italy earlier this year, when the health care system collapsed due to the number of infections.

The policy of “herd immunity” pushes Europe’s health care system toward the abyss

By Anthony Torres, 27 October 2020

With more than 50,000 new cases recorded in France on Sunday, there is a clear danger that hospitals and emergency rooms will once again be overwhelmed.

Continuing wage dispute at the Berlin’s Charité hospital

By Markus Salzmann, 26 October 2020

In their fight for higher wages and safe working conditions, the employees of Charité’s subsidiary find themselves confronted by an alliance of Berlin’s “red-red-green” coalition government and the Verdi Union.

Study of New York City transit workers spotlights pandemic’s ongoing physical and emotional toll

By Daniel de Vries, 26 October 2020

The findings were dismissed by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in an effort cover up the risk of a full-scale reopening of the city.

White House makes clear, “We’re not going to control the pandemic”

By Benjamin Mateus, 26 October 2020

In an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union” talk show, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows made clear that the Trump administration has abandoned any effort to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.

Australia: New COVID-19 infections follow reopening of Melbourne schools

By Patrick Kelly, 26 October 2020

The infection clusters underscore the dangers of reopening schools amid continued community transmission of COVID-19.

Ontario’s reckless reopening of workplaces and schools producing disastrous conditions in child care facilities

By Omar Ali, 26 October 2020

At big business’ behest, governments across Canada and of every political stripe have starved child care of public funds for decades.

UK COVID-19 deaths surge to more than 1,100 over last week

By Robert Stevens, 24 October 2020

It was the premature ending of the national lockdown from June onwards, and the opening of schools, colleges and workplaces to facilitate the profitmaking of big business, that produced this disastrous situation.

“The forming of rank-and-file committees in schools is so important as the voices of teachers, students, carers, administration and many others are being ignored”

Worker in UK speaks out on the unsafe reopening of schools

By Our reporter, 24 October 2020

Colin spoke to the WSWS after participating in a recent meeting of the Educators Rank-and-File Safety Committee in the UK.

UK parent speaks out about catastrophic “herd immunity” policy of Johnson government

By Our reporter, 23 October 2020

“Achieving herd immunity properly means protecting people through vaccination. It has never been shown that herd immunity can be achieved by allowing people to catch a virus and die.”

GM victimizes Mexican worker for quarantining after catching COVID-19

By Andrea Lobo, 22 October 2020

After 26 years working for GM, Sergio Contreras was fired after he quarantined, challenging the efforts of the corporation to cover up COVID-19 outbreaks and continue production.

Service employees union shuts down nursing home strike in Detroit suburb

By James McDonald, 22 October 2020

While the details of the agreement have not been published as of this writing, the circumstances in which it was forced through shows it cannot be anything other than a sellout.

Australian corporate elite demands lifting of all coronavirus safety restrictions

By Oscar Grenfell, 22 October 2020

A hysterical campaign is underway, insisting that any public health measures are an unacceptable impost on the wealth and profits of the financial aristocracy.

COVID-19 pandemic surges despite limited curfew measures across Europe

By Anthony Torres, 22 October 2020

With 700,000 new cases and 8,000 deaths from the virus last week, health officials are warning mortality this winter could reach four to five times that in the spring of 2020.

Houston schools reopen as COVID-19 surges in Texas

By Emma Arceneaux, 22 October 2020

The push to reopen the largest district in the state, and seventh-largest in the country, takes place as the coronavirus pandemic is raging in Texas, which has over 881,000 confirmed cases and 17,646 deaths, the second highest numbers in the country.

As coronavirus infections spike across Midwest

Excess US deaths during COVID-19 pandemic top 300,000

By Benjamin Mateus, 22 October 2020

The estimate by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is nearly 50 percent higher than the official coronavirus death toll of 220,000 in the United States.

Woman died from COVID-19 on Spirit Airline flight in July

By Chase Lawrence, 22 October 2020

The case was just confirmed this weekend, meaning that the whole cabin, medical crews and many people in the airport were, unbeknownst to themselves, potentially exposed to the deadly pathogen.

Missouri coronavirus infection rates spike, creating havoc in schools, economy

By Cole Michaels, 21 October 2020

As in the Midwest more generally, Missouri hit another record level number of COVID-19 infections over the last week, driven by the White House’s “herd immunity” policy.

School nurse dies from COVID-19 as officials in Baltimore–Washington region reopen schools

By Harvey Simpkins, 21 October 2020

The push to reopen Democrat-controlled districts throughout the region is part of a nationwide trend that has been spearheaded in New York City, the largest district in the US.

Workers’ struggles grow as Turkish government pursues “herd immunity” policy

By Ulaş Ateşçi, 21 October 2020

This homicidal policy is provoking growing anger and opposition within the working class to the ruling class’ response to the pandemic.

Nursing home workers take strike action in Detroit suburb

By Kevin Reed, 21 October 2020

Employees at Four Seasons Rehabilitation and Nursing in Westland, Michigan walked out Monday morning to demand better wages, increased staffing and safe working conditions.

UK Labour and Tory politicians support herd immunity in Greater Manchester feud

By Thomas Scripps, 21 October 2020

What is animating Burnham’s opposition to the government are tactical differences and conflicting interests between different groups of capitalists, rather than any consideration of principle

Buenos Aires health care workers stage protest

Workers Struggles: The Americas

20 October 2020

Health care sector worker in Buenos Aires, Argentina march to the city government offices to press demands for nurses to attain permanent professional status, emergency raises and additional staffing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

UK COVID-19 “alert” system overseen by UK spy chiefs

By Julie Hyland, 20 October 2020

The decision to invest in this secretive body, rather than the National Health Service, is part of the policy of herd immunity, while using the pandemic to restructure economic and social relations and strengthen the state apparatus.

Faurecia Gladstone Rank-and-File Safety Committee demands two-week shutdown to stop coronavirus spread

By Faurecia Gladstone Rank-and-File Safety Committee, 20 October 2020

In response to the emergence of a new cluster of coronavirus cases at the factory last week, the Faurecia Gladstone Rank-and-File Safety Committee, founded in August to oppose the spread of the contagion, inhumane working conditions and the systematic victimization of whistleblowers, has issued the following statement.

Roof deflection warnings ignored before young Australian construction worker killed

By Margaret Rees and Paul Bartizan, 20 October 2020

Perth apprentice Jonnie Hartshorn fell 20 metres to his death when the glass roof of a university building under construction collapsed despite concerns raised by other workers of excessive deflection.

IG Metall union demands state involvement at German steelmaker Thyssenkrupp

By Dietmar Gaisenkersting, 20 October 2020

The billions in state funds being called for are aimed not at saving jobs, but preserving the fortunes of the big shareholders.

Tennessee educator dies of COVID-19 after governor touts “strong safety measures” in schools

By Our reporters, 19 October 2020

Fifty-three-year old Susan Keener, an educational assistant at Walter Hill Elementary School in Rutherford County, Tennessee, died after being placed on a ventilator due to the contraction of COVID-19 in August.

“The pandemic is not over yet”

Brazilian nurse speaks out against closure of COVID hospital and firing of 300 employees

By Tomas Castanheira, 19 October 2020

The workers of the Castanhal Regional Hospital carried out a protest last Thursday demanding their jobs back and the payment of overdue salaries.

Alarming spike of COVID-19 infections in Michigan amid ruling class push for “herd immunity”

By Valery Tsekov, 17 October 2020

Several Republican state senators in the Michigan Senate held an online meeting last Saturday, where they discussed steps towards the lifting of mandates to wear masks indoors despite a clear resurgence of the disease.

999 Reports on Insurance profits/medical bills

17 October 2020

Mobilize the working class against the European Union’s “herd immunity” policies!

By Alex Lantier, 17 October 2020

As Europe emerges as an epicenter of a global resurgence of COVID-19, the EU is pursuing a policy leading to deaths on an unprecedented scale, far surpassing the 200,000 deaths this spring.

7,000 new infections in 24 hours: Germany’s highest COVID numbers since beginning of pandemic

By Marianne Arens, 17 October 2020

The German chancellor and leaders of the federal states are maintaining their policy of herd immunity despite the eruption of a second wave of coronavirus cases.

Brazil’s COVID-19 deaths pass 150,000 mark amid back-to-school campaign

By Eduardo Parati and Gabriel Lemos, 17 October 2020

After reaching the grim milestone, state governments are following Bolsonaro’s homicidal back-to-school policies with the support of the unions.

The Great Barrington Declaration: A manifesto of death

By Andre Damon, 16 October 2020

The White House’s embrace of “herd immunity” is a statement of malicious intent to allow hundreds of thousands more people to die amid a global resurgence of the pandemic.

Global surge in COVID-19 cases as governments abandon efforts to contain the pandemic

By Benjamin Mateus, 16 October 2020

The policy of “herd immunity,” effectively allowing a killer disease to run rampant, threatens to overwhelm hospitals and lead to a rising tide of deaths and suffering.

Amnesty International condemns Johnson government for thousands of UK care home deaths

By Simon Whelan, 16 October 2020

What occurred in care homes was mass murder due to the policy of herd immunity.

New cluster of COVID-19 hits Faurecia Gladstone factory in Columbus, Indiana

By Tim Rivers, 16 October 2020

In spite of stonewalling by management, auto parts workers have been able to verify the infections of at least five individuals, including equipment drivers who move throughout the plant.

UK at “perilous moment” with NHS unable to cope

By Rory Woods, 15 October 2020

Treatment and care for the victims of the government’s herd immunity strategy is under threat, with the NHS facing a “triple whammy” of staff burnout, a massive backlog of treatment built-up during the pandemic, and a huge surge of COVID-19.

Former Chilean Health Minister charged with falsifying COVID-19 figures

By Mauricio Saavedra, 15 October 2020

The ultra-right government of billionaire President Piñera criminally mishandled the pandemic, inflicting suffering upon the most oppressed layers of the population.

Pandemic fuels class struggle across Africa

By Jean Shaoul, 15 October 2020

The working class is manifesting its discontent with the situation in a resurgent wave of political radicalisation that had briefly abated after the onset of the pandemic.

Trump’s “herd immunity” policy and right-wing terror

By Andre Damon, 14 October 2020

On Tuesday, Newsweek reported that two Trump administration officials said the White House supports the Great Barrington Declaration, a statement advocating for the mass infection of the population with COVID-19 through a policy of “herd immunity.”

“If they don’t figure out what’s really going on there, people are going to continue to die”

Whistleblowers: Colorado meatpacking plant used threats and lies to keep potentially infected workers on the job

By Cordell Gascoigne, 14 October 2020

Two former health screeners at the JBS beef processing facility in Greeley, Colorado after a coronavirus outbreak have blown the whistle on flagrant violations of basic safety measures by management.

The Great Barrington Declaration: Capitalism’s global policy of herd immunity

By Benjamin Mateus, 14 October 2020

Super spreading events are the primary mode of transmission for COVID-19 infections. The recent declaration at Great Barrington, Massachusetts, attempts to establish herd-immunity as a global policy that will have catastrophic consequences for the working class.

Johnson UK government rejected scientific advisers’ call for temporary national lockdown in September

By Robert Stevens, 14 October 2020

The measures advised by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies fell way below a full lockdown, but such was the Tories’ determination to enforce their herd immunity agenda that every measure was rejected bar one.

Teacher death toll mounts as districts across the US push forward with school reopenings

By Emma Arceneaux, 14 October 2020

At least eight more educators across the US have died from COVID-19 in the past two weeks alone.

COVID-19 outbreaks erupt in Florida public schools as state demands further reopenings

By Alex Johnson, 14 October 2020

Public schools in Florida are experiencing a dangerous growth of COVID-19 infections as the state government aggressively pursues in-class instruction in locations ravaged by the pandemic.

220 Repression of Chile health care workers

14 October 2020

Coronavirus infections in Germany threaten to overload hospitals

By Markus Salzmann, 13 October 2020

In the last months, protective measures against the virus have been almost completely dismantled. The government has done nothing to prepare hospitals for the inevitable rise in serious cases.

As mental health crisis deepens, New York City hospitals leave psych units shuttered

By Josh Varlin, 12 October 2020

Even as the need for mental health services reaches new heights, psychiatric units remain closed and are unlikely to fully reopen.

With more than 1 million dead, who have been the victims of the coronavirus pandemic?

Part two

By Benjamin Mateus, 10 October 2020

More than 1 million people globally have succumbed to COVID-19. The working class has faced the brunt of this pandemic, with all indications that the worst is still to come.

Pennsylvania educators, bus drivers and school workers launch rank-and-file safety committee to put an end to in-person instruction

By Pennsylvania Educators Rank-and-File Safety Committee, 10 October 2020

Educators across Pennsylvania have formed a new rank-and-file safety committee to mobilize the working class against the unsafe reopening of the commonwealth’s schools.

Oppose the $900 million cuts in retroactive pay to New York City educators!

By New York City Educators Rank-and-File Safety Committee, 10 October 2020

The withholding of $900 million in pay owed to NYC teachers from over ten years ago is a brazen act of blackmail and wage theft.

Zimbabwean teachers refuse to work as government reopens schools without COVID-19 protection

By Stephan McCoy, 9 October 2020

Teachers are demanding that as frontline workers they should have regular testing, adequate personal protective equipment (PPE), and risk allowances before they are prepared to start work again.

UK COVID-19 cases triple in a fortnight

By Robert Stevens, 8 October 2020

The spread of COVID-19 in the north of England is presented in the media as a regional disparity. But the most infected areas are in deindustrialised, socially deprived regions where fewer people work from home.

US safety agency undermines federal oversight of COVID-19 workplace spread

By Shannon Jones, 7 October 2020

The workplace safety agency revised wording on its website to state that employers must only report a hospitalization if it occurs within 24 hours of exposure, a near impossibility that effectively abolishes any requirement that companies notify OSHA of severe cases.

Nurses and health care workers at three California hospitals begin 5-day strike

By David Brown, 7 October 2020

Health care workers in the East Bay confront chronic understaffing, lack of PPE and attacks on wages while serving on the front line against the pandemic.

Service workers at University of Illinois hospital vote on contract after nurses union pushes through sellout

By Jessica Goldstein, 7 October 2020

After a 10-day strike by 4,000 workers last month, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is attempting to force through concessions on the heels of a similar sellout by the Illinois Nurses Association last week.

Allina health care workers begin limited two-day strike over safety conditions amidst pandemic

By Matt Rigel, 6 October 2020

One month after voting to authorize a strike over safety conditions, medical and tech workers at Allina healthcare in the Minneapolis area have begun a two-day walkout.

Tens of thousands of UK COVID-19 cases and contacts went unreported

By Thomas Scripps, 6 October 2020

Besides giving a completely false picture of the spread of the disease, the failure to report 15,841 positive Covid-19 cases has left tens of thousands of their potentially infected contacts untraced for up to a week.