Greetings from Burgh, where I’m back to work after spending the weekend at the excellent 12th Annual Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival.
The event was put on by the August Wilson African American Cultural Center, which hosts headline cultural events throughout the year. (Check out their full listings here.)
Long COVID Survivors Protest at the White House
As many of you know, I have been suffering from long COVID for more than nine months, which has hurt my ability to fundraise because of ongoing energy issues.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, 1 in 5 Americans have long COVID. Studies also show that half of those with long COVID meet the criteria for myalgic encephalomyelitis / chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), a debilitating condition that forces many out of the workplace.
Today, long COVID survivors and ME/CFS survivors protested at the White House to demand the Biden administration take action and provide economic and medical support to people with long COVID. Additionally, the groups are calling for Biden to conduct a public campaign about the effects of long COVID and ME/CFS.
“The HIV crisis did not go away when it was ignored and trivialized. The successful national effort to bring research, treatment, care and support to people living with HIV happened because those most affected refused to stay silent,” Gabriel San Emeterio, Cofounder of Strategies for High Impact (S4HI) and the Network for Long COVID Justice said in a statement. “Those of us disabled by pandemics are not afraid to tell the truth, and we will not be sidelined by callous and inaccurate political calculations. We are never going to be silenced about the truths of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The groups involved in the action at the White House today include #MEAction, Patient-Led Research Collaborative, Network for Long COVID Justice, Solve M.E., Tight Lipped, and React19. Organizations supporting the protest virtually include Covid-19 Longhauler Advocacy Project, the Black COVID-19 Survivors Support Group and Body Politic.
Strike Talk Grows at The New York Times
The growing strike wave across the country could get even bigger as reporters at The New York Times are now talking about striking this fall. A strike at a large national publication like The Times could inspire even more workers to go out on strike.
Already, over 1,300 New York Times staffers have refused to return to the office this week as the company demands all workers return — a move that may force New York Times to reconsider its work-from-home policy.
Workers say they also are upset with the small salary increases that haven’t kept up with inflation.
“The company has money and people are getting shares, stocks, dividends, and higher salaries, and the people who aren’t getting it are people who produce the thing,” sports reporter Kevin Draper told The Daily Beast. “The broad-based feeling is the workers sacrificed when times were bad, but the company earned many millions of dollars through their work and they should be compensated for it with a realistic wage proposal and they aren’t anywhere near that.”
The union contract at The New York Times expired in 2021, so legally, workers at the New York Times could go on strike at any time.
St. Louis Amazon Workers Walkout
Last week, In St. Louis, Missouri, a group of Amazon workers, organizing under the banner of the STL8 Organizing Committee, walked out to protest low pay and poor working conditions.
Kayla Breitbarth, a warehouse worker at the facility and mother of four, says she struggles to find time to spend with her children because she is always working overtime to get extra pay.
“I shouldn’t have to choose between keeping a roof over my kids’ head, putting food in their bellies or spending time with them,” Breitbarth told the Riverfront Times. “The way Amazon treats us is disgusting.”
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Essential Audiobook Workers Striking
Finally, our Strike Tracker has found audiobook workers at Essential Audiobooks are going to strike this week across the country.
The strike comes after Essential Audiobooks failed to comply with an arbitrator’s ruling to give back pay to its workers.
“SAG-AFTRA members are hereby informed that no member may accept work with this company until such time as its debts under the contract are paid in full, and a new contract is entered into between SAG-AFTRA and Essential Audiobooks, LLC, and that violation of such order may result in disciplinary action in accordance with the SAG-AFTRA Constitution,” SAG-AFTRA said in a statement.
Strikes & News Happening Elsewhere
- In the Yakima Valley of Washington, Ostrom Mushroom Farms workers are unionizing.
- First unionized Starbucks in Florida goes on strike.
- Kroger workers may strike in Ohio.
- Kaleida union vote gives leaders power to authorize strike.
- Portland workers form the first Verizon Express union.
- Kaiser mental health workers’ strike enters its 2nd month.
- Virginia Beach city workers rally for a living wage, collective bargaining.
- Finally, Truthout looks at how Roe caused unemployment for some abortion workers while causing severe overwork for others.
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Love & Solidarity,