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On March 18 Congress passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), in part to discourage layoffs and in part to guarantee paid leave to workers who need to stay home due to the COVID-19 emergency. On March 27 Congress enacted the CARES Act to expand unemployment insurance eligibility and benefits. Both laws expire on December 31, 2020, unless extended.

Threats and Opportunities: What’s the Post-Crisis Forecast?

April 14, 2020 / Alexandra BradburyThis pandemic creates openings for privatizers and budget-choppers to make their plays. But it also creates some new openings for workers to build power.
At the same time that we’re all sprinting to meet the urgent challenges of the present, workers and unions should take time to analyze the new threats and opportunities that our workplace movements will be facing in the coming months.

We continue to celebrate the great and selfless acts from our brothers and sisters in the midst of this COVID-19 pandemic with the second edition of the IBEW Hour Power Good Newscast. There are so many new and wonderful things our members have been doing to give back, help and support their communities. Here are just a few of the stories from the past week to help lift your spirits and show you some good news in these difficult times.
The post IBEW Hour Power: Good Newscast Edition 2 appeared first on IBEW Hour Power.

Last Wednesday union members at General Electric plants across the country protested to pressure the $88 billion company to shift production to ventilators and ensure safe working conditions during COVID-19.
Actions at plants in Massachusetts, Virginia, Texas, and New York were coordinated by the Industrial Division of the Communications Workers (IUE-CWA)—the latest in an escalating pressure campaign.

Interview: Noam Chomsky on How Bosses Are Making Coronavirus ‘Worse, for Their Benefit’

April 13, 2020 / Chris BrooksFor decades Noam Chomsky has been a leading intellectual troublemaker. His books and speeches have helped to explain how a world run by corporations and billionaires has led to endless war and catastrophic climate change. Now he is helping to explain how corporations and billionaires are actually making the coronavirus pandemic worse by pursuing savage policies that benefit themselves at the expense of everyone else.

The emergency room of a public hospital in the heart of Chicago’s mostly Black South Side is being closed down for a month by Cook County officials, just as the coronavirus pandemic is surging in Chicago. The nonsensical justification is that the ER needs to be refitted to handle… a surging coronavirus pandemic.
Nurses and staff at Provident Hospital first learned by email last Friday afternoon that the ER would be closed as of Monday morning, April 6. As for notifying the community, county officials left that to a press release.

Saving Workers’ Health and Lives in the COVID-19 Pandemic: Tools for the Fight

April 10, 2020 / Nancy LessinIn this time of emergency, organizing that might have taken months in the past now needs to happen in a matter of days.
Workers’ lives are increasingly in our own hands. We cannot rely on employers to protect us, nor can we count on OSHA or the National Labor Relations Board to enforce any of our rights. The only winning formula is collective action that forces an immediate response.

Travis Watkins, chair of an Auto Workers (UAW) bargaining unit in Wyoming, Michigan was fired March 18. The charge was violating Shop Rule #2: “Assaulting, fighting, threatening, intimidating, coercing, or interfering with employees or supervision.”
Turns out the “interfering” was hindering management's desire not to tell workers about coworkers sent home for possibly coming down with the coronavirus.

Please Join: National Health Care Day of Action April 15

April 09, 2020 / Chris BrooksA national network of nurses and nurse unions is asking unions and any organizations that care about public health to carry out local actions April 15. We ask that you support health care workers by taking on the actions below—or come up with your own ideas. The rank-and-file activists are from New York State Nurses Association, Michigan Nurses Association, Communications Workers 1168, Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals (PASNAP), Service Employees 1021, National Nurses United Chicago, and others.

Workers in South and Southeast Asia are facing challenges from the coronavirus and their governments’ responses to the crisis like job loss, being robbed of wages, and lack of control over when and how they work in a time of social distancing. Here's a round-up.