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US COVID-19 labour strike wave will grow

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Significance

Congress has passed three COVID-19 relief packages, which include payroll support for shuttered businesses to retain employees. Congress now eyes a fourth package to expand support for furloughed and unemployed workers, including more sick leave, unemployment pay and further direct payments. Workers are striking because they believe company practices are risking their health and safety. Others feel they are not being appropriately compensated for risks they take to provide essential services.

Impacts

  • Food supplies remain ample, but food workers’ strikes will disrupt distribution and see local shortages, and panic-buying.
  • #GeneralStrike recently became the top-trending US Twitter topic; in 1919, the ‘Spanish Flu’ epidemic saw general strikes.
  • Proposals to provide additional hazard pay will gain more traction as COVID-19 spreads and persists.
  • COVID-19 will ensure healthcare reform tops the November election debate and could provide additional reform impetus.
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