Essential workers worried about CDC’s honor-system mask guidance, this week in the war on workers

Essential workers worried about CDC’s honor-system mask guidance, this week in the war on workers

The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union, which represents many grocery workers, is … not happy about the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions’ (CDC) new guidance that vaccinated people can go unmasked indoors. Food and retail workers, after all, have been contending all along with people who refused rules about masks, and are now guaranteed to have to contend with people who may be lying about being vaccinated. The honor system guidance doesn’t take these workers into account. 

“Millions of Americans are doing the right thing and getting vaccinated, but essential workers are still forced to play mask police for shoppers who are unvaccinated and refuse to follow local COVID safety measures. Are they now supposed to become the vaccination police?” UFCW President Marc Perrone said in a statement. “With so many states already ending their mask mandates, this new CDC guidance must do more to acknowledge the real and daily challenge these workers and the American people still face.”

The UFCW wants the CDC to clarify how exactly workers will be kept safe. And then there’s this:

I don’t like to think about human health and life in terms of market labor supply, but it’s probably not helpful to continue to decimate your still heavily unvaccinated low-wage in-person labor force with ongoing workplace outbreaks, trauma, long-term illness and death

— wsbgnl (@wsbgnl) May 14, 2021

● Millions plan to retire early because of the pandemic, survey says—and that could mean economic insecurity for people who claim Social Security earlier and get lower benefits as a result.

● In what may be the largest forced labor case in years, a Hindu sect with ties to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is accused of bringing hundreds of lower-caste Indian workers to build a temple in New Jersey at wages of about $1 an hour.

● The postmaster general’s new attack on the mail is a fig leaf for privatization.

● “The Amazon workers in Bessemer would already have their union if we had the PRO Act,” Kim Kelly and Shaun Richman report.

● Early draft of AFL-CIO’s report on police reform shows a commitment to defending police unions, writes Hamilton Nolan.

● Illinois extended unemployment benefits to school workers in the summer, and Minnesota should follow suit, the Economic Policy Institute’s Julia Wolfe and Dave Kamper argue.

● The staff of the ACLU has unionized with the Nonprofit Professional Employees Union, winning voluntary recognition.

● A strike at dozens of Connecticut nursing homes was averted after aggressive intervention by Gov. Ned Lamont. The workers will get a minimum wage of $20 an hour, up from $12 to $15 an hour.

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