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USA: Detroit Bus Drivers Win Protections Against Virus Through Strike

Poultry workers walk out over working conditions amid COVID-19 outbreak in the US

Friday 27 March 2020, by siawi3


USA: Detroit Bus Drivers Win Protections Against Virus Through Strike

Wednesday 18 March 2020,


Detroit bus drivers collectively declared Tuesday morning that they weren’t going to work without safety precautions. Bus service was canceled throughout the city because of “the driver shortage,” as city officials put it.

The drivers’ union backed them up and their brief work stoppage, less than 24 hours, won all their demands. Fares will not be collected for the duration of the coronavirus crisis.

Amalgamated Transit Union Local 26 President Glenn Tolbert spoke to Labor Notes as he drove around the city this morning checking to see whether management was living up to its commitments.

“The riders are going in and out the back doors,” he said. “There is very little interacting with the drivers.”

Tolbert said one trigger for the stoppage was Monday’s closure of all state restaurants, leaving drivers with no place to use bathrooms or wash their hands.

Drivers gathered at dawn yesterday at the city’s two big bus terminals. Vice President Willie Mitchell said, “Some of our drivers were not comfortable with the cleanliness of the coaches so they didn’t want to go to work until things were cleaner and better.

“They had been discussing it, they just decided they weren’t going to work. They called us and asked us to stand by them, and that’s what we do.”


Mayor Mike Duggan visited both terminals and listened to the drivers’ complaints. The city agreed to make sure restrooms are available, using portable toilets with hand sanitizers if necessary (there is already pushback on the probable uncleanliness of such toilets).

More cleaning staff will be hired and cleaning protocols are specific: “Use of a new rag for each bus, with the sanitizing of high touch points with a 10/1 ratio disinfectant.” Drivers will get gloves and disinfectant wipes at the beginning of each shift, and masks “upon request whenever available.”

“It caught the ridership off-guard,” Tolbert apologized, “but the strike was for them.”

Told his local was setting an example for bus drivers around the country, Tolbert said, “I’ve been getting texts from as far away as Washington, D.C.”

Jane Slaughter is a former editor of Labor Notes and co-author of Secrets of a Successful Organizer.



Poultry workers walk out over working conditions amid COVID-19 outbreak in the US

50 workers walked out of a Perdue Farms plant over concerns about the company not following through on its policies to prevent the spread of COVID-19

March 25, 2020

by Peoples Dispatch

US workers COVID

On March 23, Monday, 50 workers of the Perdue Farms plant in the US State of Georgia walked out after complaining of unsafe working conditions amid the COVID-19 outbreak. According to local news channel 13WMAZ, the workers alleged that the plant in Kathleen, Georgia, was not following the company’s own policy of spreading the disease.

The workers said that despite a policy in place to sanitize all facilities every 24 hours, conditions inside the plant are still unhygienic. They also alleged that some workers who have claimed to be exposed to the infection continue to work in the production line along with others.

Kendalyin Granville, one of the first Perdue workers to have walked out, told local news channels that despite the company’s claims of sanitizing the building every 24 hours, workers routinely found the kitchens and bathrooms dirty.

“All we’re asking now is just to sanitize the building. Sanitize the building. Everybody that’s been exposed to it, they need to go home. These folks are still on the floor,” Granville told 13WMAZ.

Perdue Farms is one of the largest poultry companies in the world with a total of 21,000 workers across the US and an annual revenue of USD 7.3 billion. As the US is witnessing a massive COVID-19 outbreak, the company recently issued a set of preventive measures, including four-week paid leave for workers exposed to the virus.

However, workers of the company have complained about the lack of implementation of these measures. Workers at Perdue’s largest plant in Salisbury, Maryland, have also been complaining about unpaid wages from the company. Reports of workers being asked to work extra hours without clarity on overtime compensation have also emerged from different plants.

Additionally, while other factories have increased pay for work during the outbreak, Perdue has offered no such raise or hazard pay.

According to Bloomberg, the Kathleen production unit has about 600 employees.