The other American emergency

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The emergency in America is not just the spread of COVID. It is falling wages and worsening workplace conditions, income inequality that grows wider every day, and the erosion of union power and workers’ rights.

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EWOC is looking for volunteers! We need your help to continue helping workers organize and building labor militancy. If you would like to get more involved, please consider joining a volunteer team with EWOC. Some teams actively seeking help are:

  • Text Team, which keeps workers and volunteers updated on what’s going on
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  • Media Team, which produces the EWOC blog and helps organizing workers get news coverage. They also put out the newsletter every week! If you are interested in joining a team or getting more involved, please fill out this form.
  • Fundraising Team works to raise the money EWOC needs to continue our mission, and the Internal Organizing Team trains and connects worker leaders to build a stronger network of workers and organizers. We have special forms to join these teams, so if you would like to help with fundraising, please apply here, and if you would like to help with internal organizing, apply here.
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The COVID-19 pandemic rages on. Cases are rising in many of the parts of the country, new variants are forming, including the highly contagious delta variant, and vaccination rates are slowing. Earlier this week, the Center for Disease Control released new masking guidelines, recommending that even fully vaccinated people return to wearing masks indoors.

Businesses are reopening and Americans are eager to return to normal, but one thing is clear: the crisis is far from over.

 

Even while the virus continues to mutate and spread, the financial assistance that helped people to survive last year is rapidly running out. Several states have already ended enhanced unemployment benefits, a new round of stimulus checks seems unlikely, and millions are in danger of homelessness if the eviction moratorium expires this week. This is a crisis of its own, one that we’re just beginning to feel the impact of. If these programs are allowed to end, it will mean devastation, suffering, and death for poor, marginalized, and working class people.

This is why EWOC’s work is so important. The emergency in America is not just the spread of COVID. It is falling wages and worsening workplace conditions, income inequality that grows wider every day, and the erosion of union power and workers’ rights. It is the capitalist system that exploits our labor and treats us as less than human. As long as this system continues to exist, we are in a state of emergency. And as long as we are in that state of emergency, EWOC will continue to help working people fight back.

Image: Evert Nelson/The Capital-Journal

World of Work 🌍

NY – Striking Alabama miners gathered outside the offices of hedge fund BlackRock on Wednesday, continuing their 3-month protest for a fair and decent contract from Warrior Met Coal. They took their fight to their employer’s biggest investor, BlackRock, to call attention to issues with low pay, declining safety standards, and longer hours that can sometimes extend up to 7 days a week, 16 hours a day.


CA – Activision Blizzard, the video game maker behind World of Warcraft, fosters a “frat boy” culture that is rife with sexual harassment, unequal pay, and retaliation against women, according to a lawsuit filed by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. While the company has denied these claims, employees at Activision Blizzard staged a walk-out on Wednesday, calling on the company to improve conditions for women and other marginalized employees, in a move that has garnered support throughout the gaming community. For their part, Activision Blizzard has hired the law firm WilmerHale, which has a reputation for union-busting, just as its employees are beginning to organize. The company claims that WilmerHale will help them make changes to internal policies and procedures related to harassment, though that remains to be seen. 

 

USA – Rising temperatures are endangering workers in the US, where there is no national workplace safety standard for heat. The recent heat dome over the Pacific Northwest threw this into sharp relief when workers complained of heat exhaustion, some even died, and others walked off the job in protest, only to be fired after the fact.  

KS – Frito-Lay workers of Local 218 won a victory on Saturday, signing a contract that got them higher wages, one day off a week, and eliminated mandatory “suicide shifts,” the brutal back-to-back twelve-hour shifts separated by just eight hours off. While these concessions are just one small step forward, they are a testament to the workers’ courage, grit, and organizing might, and we applaud their success.  

New From Our Blog 🗣

Millions of workers want a union, but organizing campaigns are not reaching enough of them. In the first of a three-part series, EWOC organizer Eric Dirnbach outlines the labor movement’s problems and why an organization like EWOC might be part of the solution. Read part one and part two.

Solidarity,

Team EWOC

EWOC is a collaboration between the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) and the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE). We depend on small-dollar donations to provide frontline workers with the support they need to fight for protections during COVID-19. Click here to make a contribution that will help fund our work.

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