American workers are wary of returning to work as 50 states partially reopened their economies, with unions arguing it is still not safe to return to their factories as the US COVID-19 death toll surged to more than 93,000.

Writing for Truthout on Wednesday, May 20, 2020 (Thursday in Manila), Mike Ludwig said in his article “Workers Are Afraid of Returning to Work. Will There Be a General Strike? that “calls for a general strike are growing as millions of people consider going back to work after months of quarantine. Could a mass work stoppage be on the horizon? What about waves of local and regional general strikes as more cities and states move to reopen businesses during a global pandemic?”

“Unless policymakers and government agencies use their power to issue strong guidance and enforce workers’ right to refuse to return to unsafe working conditions, individuals, families, communities, and most of all, women of color, will continue to suffer,” said Rebecca Dixon, executive director of the National Employment Law Project, in a recent statement. Ludwig said there has been a major uptick in labor organizing and mutual aid efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic, blowing wind into the sails of a labor movement that has been decaying under pressure from neoliberal capitalists and right-wing politicians for decades.

“With the economy on pause, activists have had more time to hold digital, socially distanced meetings and organize. More than 200 wildcat strikes and mass sick-ins have erupted across the country in recent weeks as workers resisted conditions that put them in danger, with many striking workers finding support and solidarity among workers from different industries. In New Orleans, for example, a relatively small group of striking sanitation workers is  receiving support from health care workers, mutual aid groups and young activists of color. Over the past two months, rent strikes were organized across the country, particularly in big cities where large numbers of renters share the same landlords and can use their collective leverage to negotiate. Essential workers at large companies, such as Whole Foods, Instacart, Amazon and Target went on strike in unison on May 1,” Ludwig reported. #coronavirusimpact #COVID19