This week, in our last regularly scheduled episode, we observed Workers’ Memorial Day and the deadly toll that COVID19 took on workers this past year. We heard from co-workers, community leaders and labor leaders who paid tribute to fallen workers and their families. We were joined by:
- Yadhira Alvarez, Chief of Staff for the Laundry, Distribution and Food Service Joint Board (LDFS Union), Workers United, SEIU
- Lou Kimmel, Executive Director, New Labor
- Tiffany Beavers-Busby, RN in the medical intensive care unit at Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune, NJ and a Vice President of HPAE Local 5058
Our guests spoke to the horrible toll COVID19 took on their communities and workplaces, the stunning failure of our federal government in responding to the crisis at the behest of hospital lobbyists seeking to cut their losses and accountability, the importance of belonging to a labor union in times of crisis for workers, and why we must continue to march and observe Worker Memorial Day until we can go an entire year without a single worker death.
Tiffany shared this important perspective with us:
“The inescapable fact is that our employers needlessly exposed Frontline Healthcare Workers to the COVID-19 virus, lagged in informing us of exposures, including from co-workers. Then, the New Jersey Hospital Association lobbied to water down a law that would make hospitals collect and reveal data on workplace exposure of healthcare workers to the virus, including exposure that led to sickness or death. The net effect of that is that we know many healthcare workers were exposed, got infected and became sick from the virus but the total impact of that is a mystery because that data is not being revealed.”
WEC, Rutgers LEARN, and Jersey Renews will continue to sponsor webinars on important COVID-related issues as they arise, however the series will no longer offer episodes on a regular weekly basis.