Immigrants Making PPE Strike After a Co-Worker Dies of COVID

Today, Mexican immigrants making personal protective equipment LSL Healthcare in the suburbs of Chicago walked off the job, shutting down production as the workers demand paid time off to go into quarantine.

The walk-off came off after a co-worker died of COVID.

“The bosses didn’t inform the workers that there are sick people. They figured it out on their own,” says Maritere Gomez, an organizer with the worker center Arise Chicago, which is helping the workers organize.

“If it were up to the bosses, the workers still wouldn’t know. They would put anyone live at risk cuz of profits,” says Gomez.

The workers delivered a letter to management demanding paid time off, safer conditions, and better testing.

“The company should call us when the Covid-19 crisis is over according to the Illinois government, and/or when the company is ready to resume safe operations in compliance with Governor JB Pritzker’s Executive Order. We will come back to work unconditionally at that time,” the workers wrote in a letter sent to management.

The strike by the workers is part of the growing trend of immigrant workers taking action to protect themselves during the pandemic.

“I think undocumented workers need to unite,” says Gomez. “I think coming out of this pandemic as undocumented workers, we can’t be fearful. If undocumented people don’t stand up for themselves, nobody will, certainly not their boss or government”.

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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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