Trader Joe’s workers say the company’s coronavirus plans are ‘insufficient’

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The coalition working on organizing a Trader Joe’s union responds to a memo released to workers about its plans for time off during the epidemic, urging the store to expand its sick leave. The coalition that’s working to organize a union at Trader Joe’s , the quirky grocery store on which many young urbanites depend for reasonably priced goods, says the management’s allowance for paid sick leave during the coronavirus outbreak is “insufficient.” Read Full Story

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In coronavirus’s wake, gig workers are demanding paid sick leave

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When people who take gigs for companies such as Uber, Lyft, and Instacart can’t work, they don’t get paid. And working could be dangerous. As the coronavirus spreads, many people are having to consider remote ways of working. But for contingent workers—such as those who drive your Uber or deliver your groceries—the virus’s impact is particularly fraught with peril. Read Full Story

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Grocery stores are starting to end hazard pay, but grocery workers are still getting sick

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As states begin to reopen, many policies for frontline workers are starting to disappear—even though the coronavirus has not. Across the country, more than 10,000 grocery workers in stores represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union—which has members at Kroger, Ralphs, Safeway, Shaw’s, and more—have become sick or exposed to COVID-19, and 68 have died. That’s a 200% increase compared to the number of deaths and infections five weeks ago, the union says, and proof, they add, that additional and extended hazard pay is needed for grocery employees on the front lines. Read Full Story

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Here’s what Amazon says it’s doing to keep warehouse workers safe from COVID-19

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Facing backlash, the company will offer face masks and temperature checks for staff in all of its U.S. and European warehouses and Whole Foods stores. Amazon is rolling out new measures to protect its employees from the coronavirus outbreak. By early next week, the company will offer face masks and temperature checks for staff in all of its U.S. and European warehouses and Whole Foods stores, and it will install artificial intelligence software to its camera systems to monitor whether workers congregate too closely. Read Full Story

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The COVID-19 economy is devastating for creative workers. Here’s how to navigate it

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Some options for artists and designers in need. To say that the coronavirus crisis will devastate the creative community is an understatement. Design and other creative industries rely heavily on freelancers and independent studios, both of which are seeing their work dry up and earnings plummet. According to a recent study conducted by the Freelancer’s Union, 85% of freelance visual artists and photographers report contract cancellations due to the coronavirus pandemic, and 91% of freelancers expect to lose income in the coming weeks. Read Full Story

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Pipeline companies are still trying to take people’s land—even during a pandemic

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Using eminent domain, pipeline firms have broad authority to build through private property. The coronavirus hasn’t slowed them down. Pipeline giant Kinder Morgan is cutting a 400-mile line across the middle of Texas, digging up vast swaths of private land for its planned Permian Highway Pipeline . The project is ceaseless, continuing through the coronavirus pandemic. Landowner Heath Frantzen says that dozens of workers have shown up to his ranch in Fredericksburg, even as public health officials urged people to stay at home. Read Full Story

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Grocery store workers keep getting COVID-19, but have to fight their companies to pay for testing

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In Southern California, workers at Ralphs and Food 4 Less keep testing positive, but their corporate owners, Kroger, have changed the plans about who qualifies for testing. And the workers want a stronger plan in place as they put themselves at risk. In the past two months, grocery store employees have suddenly found themselves on the front lines of a pandemic. At a Ralphs grocery store in Hollywood, 21 employees tested positive for COVID-19, sparking protests by workers represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers union and calls for heightened protections. But after Kroger, which owns Ralphs and Food 4 Less, promised to test all 22,000 of its Southern California grocery employees, the union says the company has backpedaled, and will only test those with symptoms or who are in medical need. Read Full Story

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Texas says stores can reopen, but will they? Here’s how some brands are redesigning their spaces

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There will be a lot less browsing and a lot more disinfecting. On the evening of March 13, Neighborhood Goods opened its boutique in Austin, Texas, as part of a planned 2020 expansion. The startup brings together digital brands such as Dollar Shave Club, Rockets of Awesome, and Rec Room, and the next day, its store was filled with customers even as CEO Matt Alexander was getting news alerts of the coronavirus’s spread in the United States. By lunchtime, after less than a day in business, he decided to shutter the store. Read Full Story

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Grocery store workers are dying from coronavirus—new laws are forcing companies to protect them

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They’re keeping the country fed during the crisis. Law makers are saying they shouldn’t die to do it. Within the first week of April , a Trader Joe’s worker in Scarsdale, New York died from COVID-19, along with two workers from a Chicago-area Walmart and an employee at a Giant supermarket in Largo, Maryland. As millions of other “essential retail” workers continue to risk their lives to stock shelves and run cash registers, they are often doing so completely exposed, without being provided gloves or masks to protect them from all the human contact they have while performing their duties. Across the country, some lawmakers are working to force the stores to provide more protection, so keeping America fed doesn’t mean workers have to get infected. Read Full Story

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