Amazon, Instacart workers strike amid coronavirus pandemic

Image Credit: Scott Lewis/Flickr

“The richest man in the world can’t even provide basic protection for his workers during this pandemic crisis because it hurts his bottom line.”

As much of the country is under “shelter in place” orders to help flatten the curve, Amazon, Instacart and Whole Foods’ employees’ safety is in jeopardy. And many of them walked off the job yesterday to pressure the companies to step-up protections and pay.

While online shopping and grocery delivery is at an all-time high amid the coronavirus pandemic, the protests come as some employees are testing positive for the virus and neither Instacart nor Amazon are doing enough to keep employees safe.

“The richest man in the world can’t even provide basic protection for his workers during this pandemic crisis because it hurts his bottom line,” Ron T. Kim, New York Assembly member, tweeted about Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos. “I stand in solidarity with Amazon workers.”

Employees at Amazon’s Staten Island facility walked off the job yesterday in protest after “multiple people at the warehouse have been diagnosed with COVID-19,” NPR reported. The strike, which consisted of between 50 and 200 employees at the JFK8 warehouse, was organized to demand “that Amazon shut the warehouse down and ensure it is sanitized before requiring employees to work again,” Common Dreams reported.

“We know we’re not alone at JFK8 and that conditions are similar in Amazon facilities everywhere,” Phillip Ruiz, a warehouse employee, told New York Communities for Change. “Amazon’s actions do not match their statements that they are prioritizing our health or the health of the public.”

The JFK8 strike took place just a few days after employees walked off the job at an Amazon facility in Queens, New York because an employee tested positive for COVID-19 and the facility was not shut down for proper cleaning […]

Via https://www.nationofchange.org/2020/03/31/amazon-instacart-workers-strike-amid-coronavirus-pandemic/

Was relieving captain Crozier the right thing to do?

Crozier’s hasty dismissal prompted immediate backlash from lawmakers in the House Armed Services committee . . .“Throwing the commanding officer overboard without a thorough investigation is not going to solve the growing crisis aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt,” the committee’s statement read. “What’s more, we are very concerned about the chilling effect this dismissal will have on commanders throughout the Department of Defense. Dismissing a commanding officer for speaking out on issues critical to the safety of those under their command discourages others from raising similar concerns.”

The perpetual view's Blog

Your Navy

Navy fires Theodore Roosevelt skipper following leaked letter pleading for COVID-19 assistance

J.D. Simkins18 hours ago22.3K

Capt. Brett Crozier was fired Thursday as the skipper of the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt. (Navy)

Navy officials announced Thursday that Capt. Brett Crozier, commanding officer of the sidelined aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, has been relieved of duty in the wake of aleaked letter he pennedpleading for U.S. intervention to stifle a COVID-19 outbreak on the 4,800-person ship.

Cozier’s letter, which was first published by the San Francisco Chronicle, was reportedly sent up the captain’s immediate chain of command in a “non-secure, unclassified” email that included “20 or 30” additional recipients, acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly told reporters Thursday.

“[The letter] misrepresented the facts of what was going on,” Modly said. “Okay, that’s just not acceptable. … When I have a commanding officer who’s responsible for a nuclear-powered…

View original post 910 more words

“Sailors Do Not Need to Die” – Ship Captain Begs for Help from Navy

The most recent news is that Crozier has been relieved of duty.

Learn With Andy

This post ” ‘Sailors do not need to die’: Captain of aircraft carrier hit by coronavirus outbreak begs Navy for more help” is originally from https://www.businessinsider.com/uss-theodore-roosevelt-captain-begs-navy-for-help-with-coronavirus-2020-3?utm_source=feedly&utm_medium=referral
2020 03 31

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Kaylianna Genier

The commanding officer of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, which was forced into port in Guam due to a coronavirus outbreak, wrote a letter to the Navy on Monday warning that the “the spread of the disease is ongoing and accelerating.”
“Sailors do not need to die. If we do not act now, we are failing to properly take care of our most trusted asset — our Sailors,” Capt. Brett Crozier, the carrier’s CO, wrote in the letter exclusively obtained by The San Francisco Chronicle.
He called on the Navy to find rooms off-ship to isolate almost the entire crew, a drastic measure the captain feels is necessary to achieve…

View original post 1,266 more words

America’s rich work from home & whine while poor lose jobs or get exposed to coronavirus – poll

Quote

America’s rich work from home & whine while poor lose jobs or get exposed to coronavirus – poll

FILE PHOTO. A bicycle delivery person rides through a mostly deserted Times Square. ©REUTERS / Carlo Allegri

 

Poorer Americans are more likely to have lost their job or be forced to work as usual amid the coronavirus epidemic. But those in the upper classes can work remotely while stressing out about the crisis.

At least that’s the indication of an Axios/Ipsos poll about the working status and emotional wellbeing of people in the US. Almost half of upper middle class Americans have switched to working from home amid the health crisis. The same is true for 39 percent of the upper class.

In contrast, only three percent of lower economic strata had the same luxury. Between 26 and 34 percent of lower-to-middle class Americans are working the same way as they did before the outbreak, exposing themselves to a greater risk of being infected. And 15 to 20 percent have lost their jobs.

But the Americans who are better off tend to be more upset about the situation than their economically struggling compatriots, according to the poll. Almost half of the rich (47 percent) said their emotional well-being has gotten worse, compared to 34 percent on the other side of the socioeconomic scale […]

via America’s rich work from home & whine while poor lose jobs or get exposed to coronavirus – poll

Could COVID-19 Be Amazon’s kryptonite? – Big Think

Quote

Amazon fulfillment center

It would be ironic if Amazon’s fall were to come about due to the failure of its third-party sellers, given that Amazon has received so much criticism for pushing smaller retailers and brands out of business. Yet it remains a possibility.

Over 50% of Amazon sales are made through third-party sellers, and they are the foundation of Amazon’s meteoric growth in the last few years. However, Amazon has been slowly selling them out, and COVID-19 could finally push them under.

For many vendors, Amazon is their only point of contact with customers, but now Amazon is turning away shipments of “non-essentials” to FBA (Fulfilled By Amazon) warehouses, in order to support smooth flow of “essentials.” This decision has affected approximately 53% of Amazon sellers, preventing them from shipping products to their customers.

via Could COVID-19 Be Amazon’s kryptonite? – Big Think

[…]

Amazon is lucky to get stuff to people within a MONTH now, which means it is failing to meet it’s primary reason for being, which is 1 day delivery.

As truckers get resistance from cities and states locking down, and they are getting sick too, that disrupts things more.

People are waking up to the darkness that is Amazon, and they are switching to local sellers, suppliers and local farmers.

via Could COVID-19 Be Amazon’s kryptonite? – Big Think

Europe sends medical supplies to Iran in first INSTEX transaction: Germany

Quote

Press TV – March 31, 2020

Germany says the three European signatories to the 2015 Iran deal have registered the first transaction under a trade system set up last year to protect companies doing business with Iran from US sanctions, delivering medical supplies to the Islamic Republic amid the coronavirus pandemic.

On Tuesday, Berlin’s Foreign Ministry said Germany, France and Britain “confirm that INSTEX (trade system) has successfully concluded its first transaction, facilitating the export of medical goods from Europe to Iran.”

“These goods are now in Iran,” it said in a statement, giving no further details.

The German Foreign Ministry added that Berlin hopes to enhance the mechanism and carry out more transactions with Tehran.

“Now the first transaction is complete, INSTEX and its Iranian counterpart STFI (Special Trade and Finance Instrument) will work on more transactions and enhancing the mechanism,” the German Foreign Ministry said.

Iranian authorities have not commented on the news so far.

The transaction comes over a year after the European trio announced the creation of INSTEX — a non-dollar direct payment channel officially called the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges — in an effort to keep Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers alive.

The apparatus was designed to circumvent the sanctions that the United States re-imposed against Iran after leaving a nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic, the trio, plus Russia and China.

However, the Europeans have not been able to operationalize the non-dollar trade mechanism under pressure from the US […]

via Europe sends medical supplies to Iran in first INSTEX transaction: Germany

The Army’s Mismanagement of Coronavirus


Endless War

Absurdity and the Army: The myth of ‘readiness’ in the corona-age


Danny Sjursen

Banality may mask absurd tragedy. The Pentagon specializes in such veiled bromides. If anything, this Age of Corona is thus illustrative. To wit, Americans awoke on Thursday to this report in the nation’s “paper of record” — “The Army earlier this week ordered a halt to most training, exercises and nonessential activities that require troops to be in close contact…but abruptly reversed itself. …”

On a certain level, the rescinded order made sense. After all, military decisions flow downward. Atop that hierarchy sits the commander-in-chief, who, just days ago, hinted at rapidly curtailed social distancing policies, a reopened economy, and visions of “packed churches” on Easter Sunday. That’s two odd weeks from now.

Still, in the wake of the Army’s volte-face, word was, a sort of befuddlement ensued — in the ranks, and among commanders. Yet I couldn’t help but think: vacillation, conflicting leadership priorities, uncertainty (plus cynicism) in the ranks, and confusion up and down the chain-of-command — what else is new? Sardonicism aside, my sympathy lay, partly, with the common soldiers and junior officers — many still-serving personal friends — caught up in the whole fiasco.

The decision was absurd; that much seems certain. The famed — and ever-so corona-relevant — philosopher, Albert Camus, defined the contours of absurdism in his 1942 classic, “The Myth of Sisyphus.” Absurdity: there’s no term more fitting for such Army decision-making in the face of increasingly stark facts.

Like this one: on Thursday morning, the Pentagon reported “280 cases of coronavirus among active-duty troops, putting the infection rates at higher levels in the military than in the United States itself: 210 positive tests per million people versus 166 per million.” This from the Joint Chiefs’ top medical adviser, Brigadier General Paul Friedrichs, who confessed, “Our curve is not flattening.” Worse still, at one joint base, Camp Lemmonier, Djibouti — part of an increasingly expansive African network — there were reports of an infected DOD contractor. This installation (a former Imperial French Foreign Legion garrison) counts some 3,000 U.S. personnel. It does not, however, possess a requisite supply of ventilators. And Lemmonier is by far the Pentagon’s largest on the continent.

The sizable assortment of much smaller, widely dispersed, far-flung bases are undoubtedly less prepared for pandemic. No matter, the Army — and one presumes the whole DOD — seems intent to drive on with not only the most imperative but (according to Defense Secretary Mark Esper) “all of our missions.” Assume, for the sake of argument, that Esper really meant the “essential” stuff. This still begs the question of how the Army defines mission essentiality.

Early signals are disturbing. This week, the military went ahead with a 4,000 troop Army-Marines joint exercise alongside America’s Emirati “allies.” The mission’s fittingly neo-colonial title was Operation Native Fury. Therein, the partnered force seized “a sprawling model Mideast city,” to, presumably, prepare against the decidedly non- (or at least wildly exaggerated) Iranian threat. “Provocative? I don’t know,” was about all the ranking U.S. commander had to say about that.

All indications point to a White House and Pentagon possessed with an irrational attachment to “essential” missions that aren’t. Indeed, the very term’s prevailing definition stretches the English language past any reasonable breaking point.

Former Army head-honcho, and current Joint Chiefs Chairman, Mark Milley, has repeatedly, and forcefully, defined “readiness” as his top priority. Real coherency on (readiness) “for what” has been less forthcoming. Regardless, his resolute guidance and Esper’s recent incongruous general instructions -—“find a way” to both “protect troops [from Corona]” and “still perform” essential operations — lock subordinates in an absurd Catch-22.

It goes something like this: the Trump-Esper-Milley national security formula, like that of their recent forbears, requires incessant forward deployment and its incumbent joint training and exercises. That, however, makes the DOD’s own social-distancing policy inherently unworkable, thereby risking a sweeping corona-outbreak in the ranks that’s liable to paralyze the very “readiness” they purport to preserve […]

Via

Absurdity and the Army: The myth of ‘readiness’ in the corona-age