Health & Safety at Work

Automakers continue production restarts as US death toll tops 80,000

By Marcus Day, 11 May 2020

Billionaire Tesla CEO Elon Musk threatened to withdraw the company’s US operations from California Saturday unless the company is allowed to immediately restart production.

“To them, we’re just numbers”

Selma, Alabama garment workers explain why they walked out of American Apparel plant

By Jerry White, 11 May 2020

The workers who produce facemasks for US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan have not been allowed to use the same masks to protect themselves from COVID-19

As US House returns to Washington, Democrats signal readiness to grant companies immunity for worker deaths

By Barry Grey, 11 May 2020

It is already clear that any “Phase IV” stimulus bill that emerges will further enrich the financial aristocracy at the expense of the jobs, the wages and the very lives of the working class.

UK: Johnson’s “phased” return to work puts millions of workers at immediate risk

By Chris Marsden, 11 May 2020

Johnson tried to portray his six-week plan as “cautious” because of the massive opposition in the working class to ending the lockdown.

Hardship for UK carers worsens during coronavirus pandemic

By John Stryder, 11 May 2020

A carer of an elderly family member wrote to the WSWS about the problems faced by carers during the pandemic.

Governments globally reopen schools, ignoring scientists’ warnings of coronavirus impact on children

By Will Morrow, 11 May 2020

Governments see reopening schools as essential as a false symbol of a return to normal, and so that they can herd parents back into their workplaces.

Washington Post columnist calls for destruction of child care safety in the pursuit of “reopening America”

By Linda Rios and Nick Barrickman, 11 May 2020

Columnist Carrie Lukas demands the elimination of “burdensome” laws protecting children’s safety so that parents may quickly return to work.

Podemos pushes “back to work” as Spanish army expects new COVID-19 outbreak

By Alejandro López, 11 May 2020

The state is placing the lives of millions of workers going back to work in danger, putting corporate profits above workers’ lives.

Hundreds of COVID-19 infections in German meatpacking plants

By Marianne Arens, 11 May 2020

Immigrants from Romania, who are the main workers in the German meatpacking industry, are now being struck down by COVID-19.

Australian unions enforce continued mining production throughout pandemic

By Terry Cook, 11 May 2020

Local authorities in mining regions have warned that the continued operations of the sector threaten outbreaks of COVID-19.

Seventy-five years after the end of World War II

Right-wing ideologues in Germany demand sacrifice of human lives in coronavirus pandemic

By Christoph Vandreier, 11 May 2020

Three-quarters of a century after the end of the most brutal war in world history, the German ruling elite is returning to authoritarian and ultimately fascist policies to enforce militarism and inequality.

For collective strike action against the end of the COVID-19 lockdown!

By the National Committee of the Socialist Equality Party (France), 11 May 2020

The mass opposition of workers against the return to work in France and internationally, which threatens millions of lives, must be politically mobilized.

Children in US and UK dying from syndrome linked to COVID-19

By Jacob Crosse, 9 May 2020

At least two children in the US and one in the UK have died from the newly identified Pediatric Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome, which is believed to be related to COVID-19.

Democratic governor and UAW collude with auto bosses to force return to work in Michigan

By Jessica Goldstein, 9 May 2020

Michigan still remains the fourth highest state in the number of deaths in the US, and the Detroit metro area is among the hardest-hit by the pandemic.

Germany reopens schools, endangering thousands of lives

By Marianne Arens, 9 May 2020

Schools are being reopened in nearly all federal states and the risky measure is meeting with growing opposition from teachers.

NHS staff condemn UK health worker deaths and government herd immunity strategy

By our reporters, 9 May 2020

The UK has registered the highest number of fatalities in Europe from the virus, including at least 200 health and social care workers.

Infections in Ontario, Canada spike as Ford government rushes to reopen economy

By Omar Ali, 9 May 2020

Even as Canada’s confirmed COVID-19 cases surpass 65,000 and the death toll approaches 4,600, the country’s governments are rushing recklessly to “reopen” the economy.

Mental health crisis erupts among health care workers confronting coronavirus

By Alex Johnson, 9 May 2020

Countless testimonials have emerged documenting the psychological harm being inflicted on nurses, doctors and other health workers as a result of the pandemic.

Why are thermal imaging cameras being deployed in US workplaces?

By Kevin Reed, 9 May 2020

Since many infected people are asymptomatic, thermal imaging scanners in workplaces have more to do with the erection of a repressive apparatus than with fighting the pandemic.

Australian governments pushing workers back on the job amid pandemic

By Oscar Grenfell, 9 May 2020

Mass unemployment is being used as a battering ram to push financially devastated workers back into workplaces, regardless of their safety fears.

Australian mine explosion leaves five workers with horrific injuries

By Terry Cook, 9 May 2020

Four miners are fighting for life and another sustained serious injuries in a gas explosion at an Anglo American mine in central Queensland.

New outbreaks of COVID-19 reported at workplaces across the US

By Zachary Thorton, 8 May 2020

As states continue to push to reopen their economies and force workers back on the job, new hot-spots are emerging in factories and stores from Iowa to Massachusetts.

Deemed essential, US farmworkers face wage reductions, zero protections from COVID-19

By Norissa Santa Cruz, 8 May 2020

Farmworkers lack access to basic medical care and suffer from significantly higher rates of diabetes, hypertension and health conditions such as heart disease and environmental cancers due to long exposure to pesticides.

Illinois nursing home workers’ strike blocked by SEIU

By Jessica Goldstein, 8 May 2020

The union pushed through a concessions contract that gives the corporate management of the nursing home facilities everything they wanted and leaves nursing home workers in poverty and working under life-threatening conditions.

Canada: Trudeau gives cash handout to meatpacking giants as COVID-19 cases rise among workers

By Carl Bronski, 8 May 2020

Even as the federal Liberals announced a $77 million handout to major producers, new coronavirus outbreaks were exposed at meatpacking plants in Alberta and Quebec.

“The company is not disclosing any information about sickness and deaths”

UPS workers in New York and New Jersey speak out on the COVID-19 pandemic

By our reporters, 7 May 2020

UPS drivers and sorters are working without proper PPE and health benefits, while management and the Teamsters union are concealing information about the spread of the virus, which has killed at least two workers.

US nursing home catastrophe: Increasing numbers of the elderly fall victim to COVID-19

By Kate Randall, 6 May 2020

The wiping out of large numbers of the elderly population is seen by the ruling elite as a convenient and positive byproduct of the coronavirus pandemic.

At “reopen the economy” event, Trump confirms plans to shut down coronavirus task force

By Barry Grey, 6 May 2020

Trump made a point of calling the American people “warriors,” implying that they had to be prepared to die. And to die, moreover, for Wall Street.

Playing Russian roulette with hundreds of thousands of lives

German big business demands end to lockdown

By Peter Schwarz, 6 May 2020

Two weeks after the initial lifting of some of the coronavirus lockdown's restrictions in Germany, demands for its total abandonment have reached fever pitch.

UK coronavirus death rate at record high in Europe as fatalities pass 32,000

By Robert Stevens, 6 May 2020

Deaths reach record levels as thousands of new coronavirus cases continue to be reported daily in Britain—with another 4,406 yesterday and a total of 194,990.

UK: TUC and Labour attempt damage control after Tories push murderous “back to work” strategy

By Chris Marsden, 6 May 2020

The attempt by Labour and the trade unions to feign concern for the working class is laughable, given that they have functioned in a de facto national unity government with the Tories.

French unions complicit in Macron’s May 11 return-to-work policy

By Anthony Torres and Alex Lantier, 6 May 2020

The CGT is refusing to call any strike action as Macron is pushing workers back into their workplaces next Monday.

Coronavirus, the NHS and the charity shakedown

By Julie Hyland, 6 May 2020

Social care provision in the UK increasingly resembles that of the Victorian period when the lives and wellbeing of millions depended on philanthropy.

Trump administration sends federal strike force to keep meatpacking plants open

By Anthony Bertolt, 6 May 2020

Texas health officials confirmed that they were investigating over 159 cases tied to a JBS meatpacking plant in the state’s northern panhandle.

US teachers union provides political cover to Trump’s demand for the reopening of schools

By Nancy Hanover, 6 May 2020

The AFT’s “Plan to Safely Reopen America’s Schools and Communities,” released on April 29, is entirely in line with the demands of Wall Street.

Canada: Form rank-and-file committees to oppose COVID-19 back-to-work drive

By Roger Jordan and Keith Jones, 6 May 2020

Absent the independent intervention of the working class, workers face a ruinous choice between risking their health and lives by returning to work or being driven into destitution.

Teachers, parents and students defy order to reopen schools in Chile

By Mauricio Saavedra, 6 May 2020

The push to reopen schools is part of the back-to-work campaign waged by the ultra-right Piñera government in complete disregard of the costs in terms of sickness and death.

Australia’s national cabinet pushes return to work despite ongoing COVID-19 dangers

By Oscar Grenfell, 6 May 2020

Prime Minister Scott Morrison bluntly admitted that the reversal of lockdown measures would lead to increased infections.

The Trump administration’s war against society

By Joseph Kishore—SEP candidate for US president, 6 May 2020

Amidst the expanding coronavirus pandemic, the Trump administration is implementing a socially criminal “open up the economy” policy that will result in hundreds of thousands of deaths.

Under US pressure, Mexican government vows to impose return to work and “herd immunity” policy

By Andrea Lobo, 5 May 2020

Hundreds of non-essential maquiladora plants across Mexico have remained open during the pandemic and those that were closed after a wave of wildcat strikes are reopening with the sanctioning of the López Obrador government.

South Africa: ANC government orders a partial return to work amid mounting economic crisis

By Stephan McCoy, 5 May 2020

The lockdown has caused grave hardship for millions of South Africa’s 60 million people, with videos of people waiting in kilometres-long queues for charity food aid going viral.

At least 1,245 Philippine health workers test positive for COVID-19

By Owen Howell, 5 May 2020

The WHO said that the rate of infection among health workers, which is now 13 percent of all cases in the Philippines, is likely linked to the shortage of personal protective equipment.

Canadian workers at Cargill meatpacking plant forced back to work despite 935 infections

By Carl Bronski, 5 May 2020

The events at the Cargill plant are a case study in the drive by corporations across the globe, backed by governments of all political stripes, to place profit over human lives.

Nearly 300 meat-processing workers infected by coronavirus at German slaughterhouse

By Marianne Arens, 2 May 2020

While almost 300 workers at a Baden-Württemberg slaughterhouse have COVID-19, the plant remains open.

Massive opposition by US meatpacking employees to forced return to work

By Anthony Bertolt and Christopher Davion, 2 May 2020

The Trump administration and local officials are trying to enforce a return to work in meatpacking plants while shielding owners from any liability for the deadly consequences.

At least 31 US states easing restrictions despite rising pandemic death toll

By Kate Randall, 1 May 2020

Trump is promoting a reckless and criminal policy of reopening the economy, placing the health and lives of countless millions of Americans in danger.

Brazilian nurses fired for striking in Manaus over PPE

By Tomas Castanheira, 1 May 2020

Thirteen Brazilian nurses were fired after striking on Monday, along with hundreds of their colleagues at the 28 de Agosto Hospital, in the Amazonian capital of Manaus.

Detroit mayor pushes back-to-work agenda as COVID-19 cases rise across Michigan

By Kevin Reed, 1 May 2020

The number of confirmed cases and deaths across the state of Michigan continues rising as Democratic Governor Whitmer and Mayor Mike Duggan push for a rapid reopening of Detroit.

Sixty-eight Amazon workers fall ill with COVID-19 at Winsen, Germany warehouse

By Marianne Arens, 1 May 2020

While Amazon has profited massively from the coronavirus pandemic, hundreds of its workers throughout the world have become infected with COVID-19.

Florida governor reopening state while suppressing reporting of COVID-19 deaths

By Matthew MacEgan, 1 May 2020

The Florida Department of Health is blocking medical examiners from reporting the accurate number of COVID-19 deaths.

Quebec workers denounce government’s rush to “reopen” the economy amid raging COVID-19 pandemic

By Laurent Lafrance, 1 May 2020

“We are being sent out to babysit so that business can make profits on the backs of working people,” a Montreal teacher told the WSWS.

Australian governments rushing to reverse lockdown measures

By Oscar Grenfell, 1 May 2020

Official modelling openly acknowledges that the policies being pursued by governments will result in a “higher number of cases, hospitalisations and deaths.”

“How many people have to die for us to be treated like human beings?”

Tracy, California Amazon worker speaks out on coworker’s death

By Evan Blake, 30 April 2020

At least one worker at the warehouse has died from COVID-19 and many other have tested positive, as management moves to force workers to accept deadly working conditions or face getting fired and losing unemployment benefits.

With over 1 million coronavirus cases and 60,000 fatalities in the US, markets eager to get back to business

By Benjamin Mateus, 29 April 2020

The markets are clamoring for a rapid reopening of businesses, regardless of concerns about the impact of a second wave of the coronavirus.

UK postal worker says: Royal Mail workers need to set up rank-and-file committees

29 April 2020

This article was submitted to the World Socialist Web Site by a UK postal worker.

COVID-19 infection at sporting fixtures underscores criminality of Johnson government’s herd immunity policy

By Barry Mason, 29 April 2020

It was only due to growing opposition that the government was forced to impose a lockdown. But much of the damage had already been done, as evidenced by its allowing three sporting events to take place.

Coronavirus pandemic surges across South Asia, even as governments push for a return to work

By our correspondents, 29 April 2020

The response of South Asia’s governments to the pandemic underscores the contempt of the national bourgeoisie for the lives of hundreds of millions of working people and rural toilers.

Jaffna health workers complain of poor facilities as pandemic spreads in Sri Lanka

By Subash Somachandran, 29 April 2020

Health workers in northern Sri Lanka insist that the insufficiency of tests and shortcomings of health facilities has made the province vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Trump orders meatpacking plants to remain open, as coronavirus sickens thousands of workers

By Christopher Davion and Marcus Day, 29 April 2020

Trump’s executive order is aimed squarely at shielding the profits of Tyson Foods and other corporate firms, not at defending the food supply chain or the safety of workers.

COVID-19 cases increase across Illinois as many counties push to reopen

By Brian Brown, 29 April 2020

The pandemic poses enormous problems for rural areas where public health programs and hospitals have been greatly defunded over the last decade, leaving vulnerable residents in greater danger.

Quebec government threatens thousands of lives with precipitous return to work

By Richard Dufour, 29 April 2020

Quebec Premier François Legault has announced the reopening of the province’s elementary schools and daycares.

Australian health workers infected with COVID-19 but governments cover up full picture

By Margaret Rees, 29 April 2020

Even according to the officially-reported cases, Melbourne’s health system is one of the worst-affected in Australia.

Australian schools reopening as spearhead of “back to work” campaign

By Sue Phillips and Oscar Grenfell, 29 April 2020

State and federal governments are invoking dubious research to insist it is safe for teachers and students to return to schools.

Germany: IG Metall and works council force Volkswagen workers back despite coronavirus danger

By Dietmar Gaisenkersting and Peter Schwarz, 28 April 2020

Production is starting up again at Volkswagen ’ s main plant, the largest car factory in Europe with 63,000 employees , as the company plays roulette with the health and lives of its workforce.

Nebraska businesses to reopen even as COVID-19 infections at meatpacking plants rise at five times the national average

By Colleen Daly, 28 April 2020

Cases of COVID-19 and resulting deaths have spiked in meatpacking plants as Governor Pete Ricketts has refused to issues a state-wide shelter-in-place order, ignoring the advice of the medical community.

Two New York City health care workers commit suicide within 48 hours

By Clara Weiss, 28 April 2020

The two suicides bring the number of health care workers who have died because of the pandemic in New York state alone to at least 55.

Brazilian nurses go on strike in Manaus amid collapse of health care system

By Tomas Castanheira, 28 April 2020

The strike was a cry of desperation; in addition to the lack of PPE, nurses have not been paid their salaries, in some cases for up to eight months.

Royal Bournemouth Hospital management and Royal College of Nursing attack frontline nurse for exposing PPE shortages

By Eric Gould, 28 April 2020

The WSWS has received a reply from a frontline nurse to the Bournemouth Echo ’s article, along with comments from other health care workers at the hospital.

As US passes 50,000 deaths, workers strike against back-to-work campaign

By Shannon Jones and Andre Damon, 25 April 2020

As states rush to reopen workplaces, logistics workers, nursing home employees and graduate students have gone on strike to protest unsafe conditions.

At least 130 US health care workers dead from COVID-19

By Clara Weiss, 25 April 2020

Every single one of these deaths and the vast majority of infections were preventable.

Minnesota meatpacking plant closes after two dozen workers test positive for COVID-19

By Christopher Davion, 25 April 2020

JBS USA, the largest meat processing company in Minnesota, shut down its pork plant in Worthington on Monday, resulting in the layoff of 2,000 workers, many of whom are immigrants.

Tennessee state government plans to lift social-distancing measures as health care crisis looms

By Warren Duzak, 25 April 2020

While Tennessee’s Republican Governor Bill Lee claims the number of cases were leveling off, physicians have described the virus trajectory as “saw-toothed” with no real sign of flattening or subsiding.

German government endangers the health and lives of millions with return to work and schools

By Johannes Stern, 25 April 2020

A number of state governments—including the Social Democrat/Left Party/Green government in Berlin—forced thousands of students back to school earlier this week to sit their final exams.

Food delivery workers in Brazil join international strikes against unsafe conditions

By Tomas Castanheira, 25 April 2020

Over the past week, there have been strikes and protests in Brazil and other Latin American countries, including Ecuador and Argentina, as well as Spain.

Bangladeshi and Cambodian garment workers strike against COVID-19 job cuts; Pakistani medical workers demand safe working conditions

Workers Struggles: Asia and Australia

25 April 2020

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

“Trump is more interested in getting the economy going than he is in our lives”

US autoworkers oppose rush to reopen plants

By Jerry White, 24 April 2020

The automakers and the United Auto Workers union are moving rapidly to reopen the auto industry even though it would accelerate the spread of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.

Meatpacking plants at center of many North America COVID-19 outbreaks

By Shannon Jones, 24 April 2020

Many communities where meatpacking plants are located are suffering much higher infection rates than the national average.

London bus drivers say: “Give public transport workers protection or shut it down”

By Miles Driver and Laura Tiernan, 24 April 2020

Drivers told the WSWS about the unsafe working conditions being enforced by the Johnson government, private bus operators, Transport for London and London Labour Party Mayor Sadiq Khan, in collaboration with the unions.

North Dakota General Electric wind turbine plant closes as 128 people test positive for COVID-19

By Anthony Bertolt, 24 April 2020

An outbreak at a wind turbine plant in Grand Forks has led to a sharp spike in infections in the sparsely populated state.

“Back to work” campaign in the US will lead to surge in coronavirus deaths

By Joseph Kishore, 24 April 2020

The American ruling class is attempting to rapidly resume production and send workers back to work. If this policy is carried out, countless thousands more people will get gravely sick or die.

South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee reopening as coronavirus deaths mount

By Matthew MacEgan, 22 April 2020

The actions amount to a death sentence for thousands of working people, and particularly the elderly.

US health care workers protest government back-to-work demands

By Trévon Austin, 22 April 2020

Nurses countrywide are opposing the government’s bank-to-work demands and insisting they be provided with proper protective gear on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Amazon shuts down French distribution centers after court requires protection of employees from coronavirus

By Will Morrow, 22 April 2020

The closure is a naked act of economic blackmail, using Amazon’s control over logistics infrastructure to sabotage the distribution of essential goods.

Beaumont Health lays off 2,500 and eliminates 450 jobs in Metro Detroit

By Kevin Reed, 22 April 2020

Michigan’s largest health care provider, Beaumont Health, announced the layoff of 2,475 employees and the permanent elimination of 450 positions at its Detroit-area facilities.

Death toll rises at veterans hospital in Massachusetts

By Julian James, 22 April 2020

Roughly 1-in-4 COVID-19 fatalities in the entire Veterans Affairs care system have taken place at a single facility in Massachusetts.

Germany: Opening Berlin schools risks the lives of teachers, pupils and their families

By Carola Kleinert and Andy Niklaus, 22 April 2020

“We must learn to live with the pandemic,” Chancellor Angela Merkel stressed.

As COVID-19 deaths pass 17,000, UK corporations scramble for bailout funds

By Robert Stevens, 22 April 2020

In what it described as a "conservative estimate", the Financial Times concluded that its analysis of official data reveals "The coronavirus pandemic has already caused as many as 41,000 deaths in the UK".

Thousands view online meeting of UK SEP outlining a socialist perspective on the pandemic

By our reporter, 22 April 2020

Around 500 viewers took part in the event with participants from Britain joined by others from Australia, Sri Lanka, Germany, France, Canada and the US—underscoring the international interest in the meeting.

US safety agencies bow to corporations as workers file record number of complaints

By Jessica Goldstein, 22 April 2020

The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has reportedly received 3,000 complaints related to the pandemic, with state agencies receiving many times more.

India: Modi government moves to “reopen” economy as virus cases surge

By Wasantha Rupasinghe and Keith Jones, 22 April 2020

Modi and big business have cynically sought to justify their push for a premature return to work by pointing to the desperate plight of hundreds of millions of day labourers.

Kazakhstan: Hospital workers demand resignation of government official over spread of COVID-19

By David Levine, 22 April 2020

Hospital workers demanded that the city’s chief public health officer, who accused medical workers of being responsible for the spread of the virus, be removed from office.

Australia’s national cabinet continues back-to-work push

By Oscar Grenfell, 22 April 2020

State governments are moving ahead with an easing of restrictions, including through the reopening of schools, creating the conditions for major coronavirus outbreaks.

Build rank-and-file committees at Amazon! For maximum safety, universal testing, and workers’ control of production!

Statement by the International Amazon Workers Voice, 22 April 2020

Amazon workers need organizations to fight, but the unions which are trying to “organize” them, have a long record of betraying the working class.

“They have our lives in their hands”

Amazon concealed COVID-19 case at Pennsylvania warehouse

By Samuel Davidson and Kayla Costa, 21 April 2020

With management demanding that production continue despite unsafe conditions, workers are now speaking out and organizing wildcat walkouts.

“We’re told there’s no money, but it’s raining money for the banks”

Quebec nurses expose shortages that enabled COVID-19 to ravage long-term care facilities

By our reporters, 21 April 2020

Nurses spoke out against the horrific conditions they and other health workers face in fighting the pandemic in long-term care facilities and insisted these are the product of decades of austerity.

Australia: Workers call out unsafe conditions at Tasmanian hospitals

By Martin Scott, 21 April 2020

Two more patients have died as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak in the northwest of the state.

Amazon workers in Italy strike over coronavirus cover-up

Worker resistance grows internationally as governments push premature return to work

By Shannon Jones, 18 April 2020

The reckless drive by the Trump administration and governments in Europe to resume production despite health warnings will produce a social explosion.

Brazilian nurses strike over deadly conditions as COVID-19 deaths mount

By Tomas Castanheira, 18 April 2020

This week, after a rapid rise in COVID-19 cases in Brazil, protests and work stoppage spread to hospitals and other health care units.

As US deaths soar, bipartisan back-to-work drive guarantees the explosive spread of pandemic

By Benjamin Mateus, 18 April 2020

Trump and the political establishment are seeking to enforce a return to work despite the warnings of medical experts that the US is nowhere near prepared to reopen safely.

Detroit-area hospitals slash jobs and close facilities to cut costs during COVID-19 crisis

By Kevin Reed, 18 April 2020

Corporate health care providers in the Detroit area are attempting to impose financial losses associated with the health crisis onto the working class.