Dueling Protests Besiege the Nation: Nurses and Retail Workers vs. Anti-Lockdown Activists

by on May 1, 2020 · 0 comments

in San Diego

Online Retailer employees, Grocery Chain Store Workers and Package Deliverers Plan Job Actions Today

America today, May 1, the annual workers’ day, is being besieged by dueling protests.

On one hand we have nurses staging protests for more equipment and who also have counter-protests against those who want to reopen the country. They along with retail workers, and employees at many online retailers, grocery store chains and package-delivery services are protesting the lack of sufficient personal safety equipment.

And on the other hand, we have protests by the anti-lockdown activists – some of whom are armed with assault rifles for some reason.

Employees at many online retailers, grocery store chains and package-delivery services are planning labor actions Friday, May 1, to protest what they describe as unsafe working conditions amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nurses at scores of hospitals across the country plan to take to the streets to protest a lack of personal protective equipment; and independent truckers, fed up with low freight rates, plan a congestion-inducing “slow roll” in their rigs through parts of Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington and other major cities.

Others are using May Day to demand an end to stay-at-home orders they say are ruining livelihoods and irreparably harming the economy. They have a more partisan bent and are being encouraged by Trump. There’s one in downtown San Diego today.

But why are some of them armed with heavy-duty assault weapons? For whom do the guns toll? I’m afraid they’re for you and me.

As NPR reports:

The May Day protests come as the country has more than 1 million confirmed infections and some 63,000 deaths attributed to COVID-19 and after weeks of stay-at-home orders that have put a fifth of the nation’s workforce out of a job, while employees deemed essential risk exposure to the novel coronavirus just by showing up to work.

Employees at Amazon, its subsidiary Whole Foods, Target, FedEx and other companies have been forced to work in unsafe conditions at the front lines of the pandemic. Many will either stage mass sickouts or simply walk off the job Friday in various cities to demand time off, hazard pay, sick leave, protective gear and cleaning supplies, The Associated Press reports.

Workers at Whole Foods, for example, say the company’s flawed policies have caused some workers to contract COVID-19.

“For these reasons, we are engaging in a mass sickout and exercising our right to refuse unsafe work conditions,” according to a statement by Whole Foods workers.

Amazon says it has spent more than $800 million on COVID-19 safety measures including masks, hand sanitizer, gloves and hand-washing stations at warehouses — some of which have become hot spots for the spread of the virus. Meanwhile, Walmart says it is conducting daily temperature checks and providing masks and gloves to its store employees and warehouse workers.

Nurses in 13 states are demanding masks, gloves and other protective equipment they say they need to do their jobs of caring for patients sickened by COVID-19. Many say they are disciplined if they speak out against the problem. More than 60 nurses across the country have died of COVID-19, according to organizers.

“Nurses signed up to care for their patient. They did not sign up to sacrifice their lives on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Bonnie Castillo with National Nurses United was quoted by the AP as saying.

for more, go to NPR here.

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