We, the Workers, Will Build a Better World
By Zakk Flash (March 25, 2020)
We’re going to see some serious supply chain problems as my fellow “essential workers” and I fall sick.
Workplace protections have never been good in most industries; I’m grateful for the Teamsters collective bargaining agreement that I work under that gives me a bit more security. Unions are going to be a big part of what gets us through this.
That being said, the companies we work for aren’t doing enough to keep workers safe. As #Covid19 infects workers in logistics and transportation, there will be increasing bottlenecks in our supply chain.
While we hear that grocery stores and pharmacies will remain open during the pandemic, there is no guarantee that shelves will remain stocked. The stockers themselves, underpaid and unprotected, will face more and more risk of contracting the #Coronavirus.
Over two thirds of EMS personnel in New Orleans is currently isolated in quarantine. The hospital in my hometown is asking individuals to sew cloth masks for its employees. Workers around the globe are engaging in wildcat strikes to draw attention to their plight.
The situation, far from resolving itself by Easter, looks to only be getting worse.
There are, however, some truly bright lights.
The mutual aid projects that have arisen to provide comfort, material aid, and a real sense of community during an atomized and frightening time is saving lives. With staggering job losses and a shameful lack of action upon the part of the political class, purpose and progress become therapy.
From pantry programs and crisis nurseries for essential workers to videotaped book readings for quarantined children, folks are stepping up.
We have to continue to step up. We need to continue to support one another, while also holding our politicians accountable.
We need to demand an end to evictions and foreclosures, utility shut offs, and the like. We need Congress, the governors, and the president to get on the same page as the latest advice coming from top scientists studying this disease. We need manufacturing plants to switch their production lines from generating shareholder profits to producing masks, hand sanitizer, and the sorts of tools we’ll need to beat this virus.
It’s going to take an unbelievable amount of work. But we can do it if we stick together.
As the Spanish freedom fighter Buenaventura Durruti said during the Spanish Civil War: “you must not forget that we can also build. It is we who built these palaces and cities, here in Spain and America and everywhere. We, the workers. We can build others to take their place.”
We can build a better world out of this. It starts with what you do next.