Friday, May 01, 2020

Getting Sporty?

     There will be walkouts/sickouts at some Amazon and Whole Foods facilities today, as well as at some similar and related businesses.  Not a strike per se, but a "labor action," protesting what some workers are describing as insufficient anti-viral measures.  Don't ask me if it's justified.  I don't know.  It could backfire if it causes significant disruption in deliveries to customers.  A one-day action?  That'll get in the news, probably even get them some support.  But if it runs longer, pretty soon the people who have been relying on delivery services are going to get very unhappy.

    Yesterday, a group of angry protesters in Michigan held a rally at their state capitol and some of them spent time in the building, yelling and chanting at legislators.  Openly armed, which is presently just as legal in Michigan as it once was in California.  (There might be a lesson in there, if anyone's listening.)  Between upset "lockdown" protestors and legislators with that crawling sensation between their shoulder blades,* I am very doubtful there's any listening going on.  Likely to be a lot of reacting, none of it good.

     One of the factors believed to have helped supercharge the influenza pandemic of 1918 - 1920 was that the early stages of it occurred during a World War.  Men were crowded together in camps and trenches with limited sanitation facilities, and if you weren't falling-down sick, you were staying there.  The gravely ill were hauled off to crowded field hospitals, which wasn't an improvement in terms of disease transmission.

     Adding civil unrest to a viral pandemic that is still very poorly understood isn't a winning formula.  It's difficult -- very difficult -- to wait but until the medical types get a better handle on how widespread the virus really is, and just how readily transmissible it is, we're all going to have to be cautious.  Take notes now, and if necessary, you can strike and/or hang the bastards later.  Or possibly just vote seriously, with an eye to the past actions and future plans of the politicians on your ballot.  Voter turnout in the United States has been pretty low.  A determined and active electorate could make a real difference at the state and local levels, and skip the fuss and bother of pitched battles in the rubble while running a fever.  ...Just a thought!
* Look, I think politicians should go around in fear, but most of them only need to be fearing not getting re-elected.  Scare them too badly and they won't pay attention to ideas.  You don't want that.  They're useless in that condition.  Way more than most of them already are.


Eaton Rapids Joe said...

A well-thought-out post and succinctly stated.

Thanks for posting it.

Roberta X said...

It occurs to me that as far as Amazon (etc.) are concerned, the "open it up!" group, who believe the risks are overstated and want to go back to work, are the solution to workers who feel the risks are too high and don't want to work under current conditions. Just send in a cadre of the anti-lockdown protestors to work in the distribution centers, and monitor their health: run the experiment with willing volunteers. In a couple of weeks, you'd start getting useful data on the risk profile and begin to learn if it was safe to open things up, or if a lot more PPE and caution was required. After three weeks, it would be pretty definitive, one way or the other.

of course nothing like that will actually happen. Nobody wants to sling boxes in a warehouse when they can yell at legislators -- and nobody wants to stay home and wait when they could be waving signs and getting interviewed in TV.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

Been a long time since we had some REALLY significant labor unrest. Maybe we are due

Paul said...

Good thoughts. Although I have to say politicians are pretty much worthless. I think that should be in Webster's next to the word as the definition.

SM said...

The last thing the "May Day" gang wants to see is a bunch of scabs take their jobs.

Gosh, if there's one thing that instantly destroys any sympathy from me for the strikers is their tone deaf decision to hold their day of action on that communist holiday that was (and is) popular in totalitarian $#!+hole countries.