There is growing outrage among workers in the United States and
internationally over the fact that they continue to be kept on the job in
the face of the spreading coronavirus pandemic and that no measures are
being taken to secure their lives and livelihoods.
On Tuesday afternoon, autoworkers at a Fiat Chrysler plant in Tipton,
Indiana gathered outside their plant before their shift began to protest
being made to work even as large gatherings outside of work have been
prohibited throughout the state. Management told them that if they did not
work, they would be fired, a threat that was supported by the United Auto
Workers during a plantwide meeting held to bully workers to get back to
The same day, scores of workers at the Lear Seating plant in Hammond,
Indiana refused to work, forcing the shutdown of the parts factory and the
nearby Chicago Assembly Plant. Bus drivers in Detroit have also refused to
work in unsafe conditions.
This follows a job action by paint shop workers at Fiat Chrysler’s Warren
Truck Assembly Plant in suburban Detroit on Monday and a similar work
stoppage by Canadian Fiat Chrysler workers last Thursday in Windsor,
Ontario. Workers in the auto and other industries have engaged in
widespread strikes in Italy and Spain over being forced to continue
working amidst a nationwide lockdown.
Several autoworkers have already tested positive, including at the
Sterling Heights Assembly Plant outside of Detroit. There can be no doubt
that, as a result of the criminal decision to keep production going, a far
larger number of workers are already infected.
Manufacturing plants throughout the US are being kept in operation.
Boeing, which is requesting tens of billions of dollars in government
bailout money, is forcing workers to maintain operations, even as senior
management have been instructed to work from home. Several Boeing workers
have already contracted coronavirus, and it has certainly spread much
Workers in the service industry, who come into contact with hundreds of
people every day, continue to work.
Amazon is hiring hundreds of thousands of workers to meet the surge in
demand for online shopping. While management is working at home, the
horrific conditions in Amazon warehouses remain the same. One worker told
Buzzfeed News, “They're offering no preventative solutions, only payment
for workers after we’ve been infected, which doesn't help to slow the
spread of the pandemic or alleviate the suffering [and] risk of death from
In other words, Amazon considers the lives of its workers to be
expendable, and any paid leave it offers to those who contract the virus
is considered part of the cost of business, more than made up for by the
surge in profits.
There is no reason that workers in industries that are not essential to
the functioning of society should continue to work. Workers in essential
industries, such as health care, must be provided with safe working
conditions. Medical workers throughout the country are outraged over the
fact that they are being forced to carry out their critical jobs under
highly dangerous conditions without the most basic safety equipment.
Other workers have been laid off or have had a sharp cut in their hours
and income. Unemployment is already beginning to rise, and estimates are
that it could increase to as high as 20 percent. Uber and Lyft drivers and
other workers in the “gig economy” continue to be exposed to dangerous
conditions if they are able to get work.
The striving of workers to take collective action to protect their health
and safety and those of their communities has been blocked at every step
by the trade unions. For these corporate lackeys, the profit interests of
the companies take precedence over the lives of the workers they claim to
Late Tuesday, the United Auto Workers, a criminal syndicate whose entire
top leadership is under indictment or threat of indictment on federal
corruption charges, announced that it would take no action. Instead, it
said it would only work with the companies that put in place “new measures
that will increase adherence to CDC recommendations on social distancing
in the workplace.”
The UAW has touted this deal as a “partial shutdown.” In fact, production
will continue, with at most a reduction in shifts. The aim is to keep the
lines running to extract every last penny of profits from workers whose
lives are in danger.
On Tuesday night, workers responded with outrage on social media. Comments
on the UAW Facebook post announcing the deal included: “So again, nothing
will get done, and the workers aren’t protected;” “How about a mass
walkout?;” “Shut down the plants already;” “You [the UAW] spent hours
talking and concluded to do exactly what we were already doing… sounds
like the contract negotiations!”
To prevent the further spread of the virus and to save millions of lives,
all nonessential workplaces must be shut down immediately! No worker
should be expected to place his or her life in danger. All production must
be redirected to producing urgent necessities, including health care
equipment. Workers will gladly continue to work when they know that what
they are doing will save lives, but this work must be carried out under
safe conditions, overseen by scientists and health care professionals.
All workers who are laid off must receive full pay, financed by the
corporations and state resources. All workers must have access to paid
sick leave. Rent, mortgage and utility payments must be suspended during
the coronavirus crisis to ensure that any worker seeing a reduction in his
or her income is able to afford basic necessities.
The claim that there is “no money” to meet these demands is the most
absurd claim of all. All these corporations have piled up billions in
profits through the exploitation of their workers. Trillions have been
turned over to Wall Street. These resources must instead be directed to
meeting urgent social needs.
To fight for these demands, workers should form rank-and-file factory and
workplace committees, independent of the corrupt unions, to defend their
health and safety.
Workers should use all the means at their disposal, including social
media, to organize opposition, hold meetings and discussions, reach out to
workers in other industries, and coordinate with workers internationally.
The rights of workers cannot be secured through individual action, but
only through collective struggle.
This must be combined with a program of action to defend the whole working
class, including demands to provide full testing, free and equal health
care for all, and a massive reallocation of resources to fight the deadly
virus. Trillions of dollars must be taken from the hands of the financial
oligarchy and placed at the disposal of a globally-coordinated response to
As the Socialist Equality Party National Committee stated yesterday: “The
essential principle that must guide the response to the crisis is that the
needs of working people must take absolute and unconditional priority over
all considerations of corporate profit and private wealth. It is not a
matter of what the ruling class claims it can afford, but what masses of
Now is the time to organize and fight for this program. Millions of lives
are at stake.
Tom Hall and Joseph Kishore
No collusion - Special Counsel Robert Swan Mueller III, March 2019.
Donald J. Trump, 304 electoral votes to 227, defeated compulsive liar in
denial Hillary Rodham Clinton on December 19th, 2016. The clown car
parade of the democrat party ran out of gas and got run over by a Trump
Congratulations President Trump. Thank you for cleaning up the disaster
of the Obama presidency.
Under Barack Obama's leadership, the United States of America became the
The World According To Garp. Obama sold out heterosexuals for Hollywood
queer liberal democrat donors.
President Trump has boosted the economy, reduced illegal immigration,
appointed dozens of judges and created jobs.
Senile loser and NAMBLA supporter Nancy Pelosi got "Trumped" on February
5, 2020. "President Trump, Not Guilty."