By Mike Elk, Payday Report.
230 Strikes on the Map
With fast-food workers out on strike in Oakland over being asked to wear dog diapers as maskes and coffee baristas striking in Philly, our Strike Tracker Map has now risen to 230 strikes since March 1st.
For more, check out the map here.
Some Minneapolis Bus Drivers Refuse to Help Cops
With protests erupting all over Minneapolis over the death of George Floyd, cops are attempting to arrest protesters in mass.
However, some bus drivers in Minneapolis are refusing to use their buses to transport protestors to jail.
“As a transit worker and union member, I refuse to transport my class and radical youth,” Minneapolis bus driver Adam Burch told Payday. “An injury to one is an injury to all. The police murdered George Floyd and the protest against is completely justified and should continue until their demands are met.”
While it would be illegal for Burch’s union to call for a wildcat strike, his local union ATU Local 1005 did issue a statement of solidarity with the protestors.
“In ATU, we have a saying “NOT ONE MORE” when it comes to driver assaults, which in some cases have led to members being murdered while doing their job,” said the union in a statement. “We say “NOT ONE MORE” execution of a black life by the hands of police. NOT ONE MORE. JUSTICE FOR GEORGE FLOYD!”
Minneapolis Transit Service Cancels Bus Service
Today, the Minneapolis’s Metro Transit canceled service out of concerns for their bus drivers and vehicles.
“I was able to have good convos with the drivers at my garage before they sent us home. Many [are] unwilling to do anything for the police and put themselves in harm’s way for the police that created this mess to begin with,” said Buruch.
The workers have launched a group and a petition entitled “Union Members for #JusticeforGeorgeFloyd”.
Louisiana Using Prison Labor to Replace Meatpackers
Last month, prison labor was used to replace striking garbage workers in New Orleans. Now the state appears to be using prison labor to replace meatpackers at plants with high rates of absenteeism.
Despite the fact that prison visitation and most visits for jails have been halted statewide during the COVID-19 pandemic, Ouachita is one of several Louisiana parishes that has not shut down its work-release program.
“He’s there for eight hours a day cutting up chickens,” Jones told The Appeal. “These people are forced to work—if he complains, they might send him back to regular jail. He might lose his good-time credit.”
In an email statement to The Appeal, Glenn Springfield, a Ouachita Parish sheriff’s office spokesperson, said the Transitional Work Program sends an “average of 40 to 44” people per day to various jobs. Springfield confirmed that two Transitional Work Program prisoners are working at DG Foods. To limit the virus’s spread, he said, workers sent to DG Foods are housed in the same dormitory, where they are given hand sanitizer before meals and after work shifts, and transported in buses that are “sanitized” daily. Springfield also said masks are provided to workers.
But Jones said the sheriff’s office isn’t doing enough to keep her brother safe.
“Some days they get masks, some days they don’t,” she said. “I work in healthcare—I had some friends who worked at hospitals help get him his own masks just so he could work.”
For more, go to the Appeal, where they have obtained videos of working conditions inside the plant.
Rural Meatpacking Communities Have 5x COVID Rate of Other Rural Communities.
The use of prison labor in meatpacking plants could intensify massive outbreaks of COVID in rural communities with heavy meatpacking.
A new study from the Daily Yonder and the Food and Environment Reporting Network shows that rural communities with meatpacking plants have a COVID rate that is 5x that of rural communities without meatpacking plants […]