It’s May Day.
The modern holiday was created in the 1860s in the U.S. to commemorate those who died in the Haymarket Affair, when police in Chicago clashed with workers fighting for the 8-hour workday, leaving four civilians and seven police dead. Before the coronavirus pandemic began, public support for unions, which build community, motivate social change, and improve working conditions, was at the highest it had been in 50 years. Now, we’re seeing without a doubt why a social safety net is crucial for all workers.
Today, employees at Amazon, Target, Walmart, Whole Foods, FedEx, Instacart and Shipt are striking to highlight that while they do work that is inarguably essential to daily life, they are treated as disposable by their employers, many of them operating in unsafe environments, without PPE or acceptable hygiene practices. Instacart and Shipt workers are on-demand, putting them in the unique position of facing risks on the front lines of essential work and losing jobs as demand falls, just as freelancers are losing clients as social distancing makes it impossible for them to do their work.
It’s a great day to make some noise.
It’s been more than a month since the CARES Act passed, which was