This week we held a Labor Day discussion about the role of union and worker voices in ensuring workplace safety.

We were joined by acclaimed labor activist Elise Bryant, Executive Director of the Labor Heritage Foundation and President of the Coalition of Labor Union Women. Elise shared that one in three jobs categorized as essential are held by women. She spoke about how women have held multiple rolls during the pandemic and shared that Black and Latina women have suffered the largest job loss and biggest pay gap. Sadly, domestic abuse has also skyrocketed during this time as well. Ms. Bryant stated that this is the time for the women’s communities to come alive, engage and to organize. Many resources can be found at the Coalition of Labor Union Women website. Elise shared with us, “this is a time where people are recognizing that we are stronger collectively than we are individually”. Please visit the links that Elyse shared during the webinar: Coalition of Labor Union Women and Labor Heritage Foundation.

We were also joined by Columbia University economist Suresh Naidu, co-author of the report Co-Author of Understanding the COVID-19 Workplace: Evidence From a Survey of Essential Workers which looked at a national sample of essential workers in order to paint a clearer picture of how workers in frontline occupations are experiencing the crisis and how their experiences might inform the responses of policymakers and labor organizations. Across a variety of outcomes, we find that union members report better COVID-19 workplace practices and outcomes than nonmembers.
Workers who report higher levels of concern about COVID-19 infection risk, as well as workers in regions with high COVID-19 case rates, are more likely to report willingness to take part in workplace collective action.

This truly is a time for solidarity in the workplace and beyond. More than 57 people attended this webinar.