Arizona Teacher “Sickout” Strike Movement Grows – Chicago Teachers Sickout Strike – Undocumented Meatpackers Won’t Get Vaccine

Arizona Schools Superintendent Kathy Hoffman calls on Governor Doug Doucey to close schools for 2 weeks (ABC15)

Greetings from the Burgh, where Payday is getting back into the swing of things after a much needed two-week vacation. After writing 142 stories in 2020, it was good to get some time off of work. 

While fascist rioters were storming the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., workers across the country were marching for their rights. 

Arizona Teachers Grow “Sickout” Strike Movement

In 2018, Payday was there as Arizona teachers went on strike for the first time in the history of the state. Now, teachers throughout the State have engaged in a series of wildcat strikes to protest unsafe working conditions as COVID-19 cases continue to rise. 

In Chandler, Arizona teachers were able to force the cancellation of in-person classes after they promised to go on a “sickout” strike if schools were reopened. Teachers in Gilbert are also threatening to go on a “sickout’ strike if classes resumed. 

On Saturday, Arizona Schools Superintendents Kathy Hoffman, a #RedforEd teachers activist who was elected in 2019, called on Arizona Governor Doug Ducey to close all schools for another two weeks until COVID cases in the state go down. 

“Coming back from the holidays now is a very appropriate time for there to be a two-week period that allows for everyone to self-quarantine,” Kathy Hoffman told The Arizona Republic. 

For more, go to The Arizona Republic.  

Chicago Teachers “Sickout” Strike 

In Chicago, many teachers went on a “sickout” strike as well to protest the unsafe reopening of schools following the holiday break. 

“We’re afraid for our lives. We don’t want to lose our jobs. The fear of losing our jobs is real. Many of us are the sole income earners in our homes,” Chicago Public Schools teacher Lori Torres said at a morning news conference. “But the fear of this virus is greater than that fear.”

For more, go to The Chicago Tribune. 

LA County Grants $5-an-Hour “Hero Pay” for Frontline Workers 

With COVID-19 cases raging in California, LA County passed a measure that would give frontline retail workers at companies with more than 300 employees an extra $5-an-hour in “hero pay” for working during the pandemic. 

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, frontline grocery and drug retail workers have continued to show up to work despite the dangers of being exposed to COVID-19,” LA County Board of Supervisors Chair Hilda L. Solis said in a statement after the motion passed Tuesday. “Because of their work on the frontlines, families throughout the County have been able to access food and medicine they need during this pandemic.”

For more, check out KTLA. 

Nebraska Governor Won’t Give Vaccinations to Undocumented Workers 

As states develop their vaccine programs, Nebraska Governor Pete Rickets has said that undocumented workers won’t be allowed to participate in the state’s vaccine program.  Business Insider has a look at why the refusal to vaccinate undocumented meatpacking workers could have such a huge impact nationwide: 

Nebraska holds the nation’s largest meatpacking hub, and according to the Migration Policy Institute, some 66% of its meatpacking workers are immigrants, while at least 14% of the workers are undocumented. 

Since March, meatpacking facilities have at times become hotbeds for COVID-19 transmission, with workers standing in close proximity for hours and working indoors in dangerous conditions. Last month, Tyson Foods fired seven plant managers after an internal investigation confirmed that the managers bet on how many workers would become infected with COVID-19.

According to the Food and Environment Reporting Network, at least 52,157 meatpacking workers have tested positive for COVID-19 and at least 266 have died. 

The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting clocked Nebraska as having the highest number of COVID-19 cases originating from meatpacking plants, with at least 5,267 workers contracting COVID-19.

For more, go to Business Insider. 

Socialist PA State Rep Summer Lee Contracts COVID 

Finally, Payday wishes a good recovery to my friend and former high school trackmate socialist PA State Representative Summer Lee as she recovers from the effects of COVID. 

“The challenge of this pandemic is that you CANNOT think only of yourself! Your actions impact others. Unfortunately, sometimes our bubbles leak. It doesn’t matter if you did everything right. We’re only out of this when the last person thinks of their neighbor first,” wrote Lee in a statement on her Facebook page.

Alright folks, that’s all for today. Keep sendings up tips, story ideas, and strikes to [email protected]

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About the Author

Mike Elk
Mike Elk is an Emmy-nominated labor reporter and alumni of the Guardian. In addition to filing nearly 2,000 stories from 46 states, Elk traveled with Lula from Sáo Bernando do Campos all the way to the Oval Office in the White House. Credited by the Washington Post for being the first reporter to track the strike wave systematically, Elk started Payday Report using his NLRB settlement from being illegally fired for union organizing in 2015. He lives in his hometown of Pittsburgh and works frequently in Rio de Janeiro, where he attended college at PUC-Rio. He speaks both Portuguese and Pittsburghese fluently. His email is [email protected]

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