As some states around the country begin making moves toward prematurely ending lockdowns, Pennsylvania remains under a stay-at-home order until at least May 8. For those of us working safely from home, that’s all well and good; for those of us in frontline sectors like healthcare, transportation, and logistics, these promises that workers will be “kept safe” have started to ring hollow.
As some states around the country begin making moves toward prematurely ending lockdowns, Pennsylvania remains under a stay-at-home order until at least May 8. Per Governor Wolf’s latest announcement on April 25: “For employers, remote or telework should be the primary option if possible. If remote or telework are not possible, employers must follow the guidance developed by the commonwealth in order to reduce the risk of coronavirus spread and to ensure workers are kept safe.”
For those of us working safely from home, that’s all well and good; for those of us in frontline sectors like healthcare, transportation, and logistics, these promises that workers will be “kept safe” have started to ring hollow. “If we are so essential,” Teamsters Local 623 leader Richard Hooker told Democracy Now! a few weeks back, “then we need to make sure our people are protected, and not feel like we're disposable.”
To that end, Local 623, along with more than forty other local unions and organizations (including the Philly AFL-CIO, PASNAP, the BWMED, several AFSCME locals, TAUP, and, of course, Philly DSA), sent a letter to Mayor Kenney’s office on Monday calling for expanded testing, anti-retaliation provisions, strict safety and sanitation guidelines, and the reopening of Hahnemann Hospital. “Workers were called upon to deliver us through this crisis,” the letter begins. “It's time they are delivered the respect and protections they deserve.”
You can read the full text here, but the bigger ask is that you call Mayor Kenney’s office of labor at (215) 686-2163 and tell him to protect essential workers in Philadelphia, and follow up with an email message. It’s as easy as thanking your local postal worker, and it’s the best thing you can do right now to keep them safe. (Still thank your postal worker, though. We love our postal workers. 📬)
Are you a union worker affected by the coronavirus crisis? Are you organizing in your shop or workplace to demand higher safety and sanitation standards? PHLDSA’s Labor Commission is convening a series of calls where representatives from unions in the greater Philadelphia area are discussing and coordinating responses. Email Paul Prescod for more information.
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Stay safe and wash your hands,
Philly DSA Bulletin Team
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