Are you working in unsafe conditions? Are you and your coworkers organizing workplace struggles? Is your community particularly affected by this crisis? Write to us at [email protected]
Reopening is now a fact, with all 50 states in the country returning to some level of economic activity. The crisis caused by the spread of the coronavirus has affected workers in the country most deeply, with tens of millions left unemployed and with front-line workers falling sick at disproportionately higher rates. The reopening of the economy is taking place to ensure the good health of capitalist profits; not the economy and the health of the workers.
One of the main sites of infection currently is the workplace. For months, front-line workers have been going on strike over the lack of PPE and safe work conditions. Meat processing plants have become a hub of infection, as thousands of workers have fallen sick of COVID-19 or died because of it. We have seen how hospitals have failed to protect their workers and have mistreated black and Latinx people — those most affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Now, this same capitalist class is seeking a return to “normalcy”. This normalcy means millions of people continuing without access to health care; it means going back to the workplace without any guarantees of protection for themselves and for their families. Capitalists have refused to meet minimum health and safety conditions since before the pandemic. Who is going to force them to do so now, when they are hungry to recover their profits lost to the pandemic? Employers who refused to test workers, who didn’t provide workers with PPE and safe work conditions, or who hid positive cases from other employees and refused to give paid leave, cannot be trusted with our health and wellbeing now. Not only have they not been punished, but they have also been rewarded with bailouts, relief packages, tax breaks, and subsidies.
Trump minimizes the effect of the pandemic and says he is protecting the economy, but this is not true either. For many, returning to work means losing the unemployment insurance that provided them with a livable wage while keeping them safe and healthy. Millions of workers on the frontlines don’t earn enough to live on. Food stamp programs have been cut. If we go back to work it is because we are forced to choose between getting sick or starving.
When it comes to reopening, both Democrats and Republicans are not thinking about one that is geared towards the mass production of medical supplies, ventilators, food and basic necessities that will deal with both the pandemic and the economic crisis, while protecting the health and well being of the masses. They are carrying out a capitalist reopening strategy that protects capitalist profits, while silencing the voices of workers.
This is why we at Left Voice want to amplify the voices of those on the frontlines, the communities affected by the crisis, and all those who are returning to work in the midst of the pandemic. We want to denounce the lies of the capitalists who protect their profits and the complicity of the union bureaucrats with a coordinated plan of struggle that guarantees the health and safety of workers. Tell us about your experience with the reopening. Send us your words, photos, or videos to [email protected] so we can amplify the voices of the workers in the midst of this capitalist reopening.