Alabama Sanitation Workers Strike – Fruit Workers Win Changes – 66,000 Healthcare Workers Have COVID

Tuskegee Sanitation Workers Strike over Unsafe Conditions (Alabama News Network)

Melk

Folks, 

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229 Strike on the Boards 

The Strike Tracking Map continues to grow. We are now up to 229 strikes since March 1st. 

Check out our Strike Tracking Map for updates on old strikes that we discovered as well as our new one. 

Tuskegee, Alabama Sanitation Workers Go on Strike

In Tuskegee, Alabama, black garbage workers have gone on strike demanding more protective equipment and pay

For more, check out Alabama News Network. 

Mason Fruit Workers Win Strike in Yakima Valley 

A series of roving wildcat strikes have targeted fruit workers in the Yakima Valley for more than two weeks now and it appears that some workers are already beginning to win victories. 

From the Yakima Herald

Kathy and Adrian Mendoza, a sibling duo who had been on strike at Monson, said the company had addressed the worker concerns about cleaning, social distancing and safety. Workers will continue to negotiate for wage increases while working.

“The representative came out and gave a few words and everybody was really happy,” Kathy Mendoza said. “They are all happy that this is over.”

Adrian Mendoza thanked everyone who supported the workers, including people he said came from Tacoma, Oregon and New York to support the strikers’ cause.

“It was not easy for us to do this, but we did it and there slowly will be progress,” he said. “It was definitely worth the fight. We are happy that our voice is finally being heard.”

For more, go to the Yakima Herald. 

Washington Farm Workers Win Increase Enforcement Action

Their strikes are now getting the attention of the state, which has stepped up enforcement protections for fruit workers in the state. 

The state has ordered fruit packers to maintain social distancing, and for employers to provide PPE equipment and put plastic barriers between workers on the assembly line. 

For more check out, The Spokesman-Review. 

Over 60,000 Healthcare Workers Have Covid

New numbers released by the CDC show that COVID rates among healthcare workers have increased dramatically.

The numbers show a dramatic spike from the last time they were released on April 17. Then, only 9,282 healthcare workers tested positive for COVID. Now, at least 62,000 have tested positive for COVID. That’s an increase of almost 600 percent.

Experts predict that the number of positive tests is likely an underestimation, according to NBC News. 

Of those who tested positive for COVID, 75% were women with 43 being the median age. 

For more check out NBC News.

More than 11,000 Poultry Workers Have COVID at Just 3 Employers

A new analysis done by the Washington Post shows that there are 11,000 positive cases of COVID among poultry workers employed just at JBS, Tyson, and Smithfield plants. 

As mass outbreaks occur at poultry plants across the United States, many poultry workers say they are being stigmatized among friends and neighbors. 

From HuffPost’s Dave Jamieson

The hair salon SmartCuts reopened its doors in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, on Memorial Day weekend after a long closure due to the coronavirus.

But not every customer was welcome to hop in a chair like old times.

A sign posted on the shop window explained: “Due to the number of Tyson employees who have tested positive for Covid-19, and given the close contact experienced during our services, we are unable to serve Tyson employees. We sincerely apologize for this decision, and we ask for your understanding.”

The local Tyson poultry processing plant is one of the largest employers in the area. Like other poultry, beef and pork facilities around the country, it has become a hotbed for the coronavirus ― with 570 workers recently testing positive out of around 2,200. 

When a friend of hers sent Amy McGinty a photo of the SmartCuts sign, she was outraged. The 13-year Tyson employee said people look at her and her colleagues “like a disease.”

“They’re getting our food, but they won’t service us,” McGinty told HuffPost.

For more, go to HuffPost. 

That’s all for today folks, check back in tomorrow. Keep donating so we can cover labor’s fightback against COVID.

If you have tips of stories that we should feature in our afternoon newsletter, email melk@paydayreport.com.

About the Author

Mike Elk
Mike Elk is a yinzer labor reporter who covered the drug war in Brasil and spent years covering union organizing in the South for The Guardian. In 2016, he used his $70,000 NLRB settlement from being fired in the union drive at Politico to start the crowd-funded Payday Report. The son of United Electrical Workers (UE) Director of Organization Gene Elk, he lives in his hometown of Pittsburgh. Email: Melk@PaydayReport.com

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