In honor of International Workers’ Day, the stories selected today focus on the plight of the less fortunate, the powerless, and labor as the pandemic rages and rights are trampled. As always, all newspaper stories drawn from the front pages curated by newseum.org.
Despite warnings, Denver officials took down a homeless encampment on Thursday. Those living at the camp and advocates for the homeless were horrified, with Senior Attorney Tristia Bauman at the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty characterizing the decision - and justification of a public health crisis - as “disgusting.” As the city lacks the space to house those it has now displaced, many worry that this move has just made the situation worse, as it will now be more difficult to identify and treat those among the homeless suffering from COVID-19.
In states where stay-at-home orders are lifting, many are now facing the choice between losing their income and losing their lives more immediately. Due to many furloughed workers being placed on unemployment, if they are called back to work then they must show up or lose benefits. This particularly presents a grave danger for those with chronic illnesses, as they are that much more susceptible to a severe infection.
Dallas businesses are already facing labor lawsuits by workers unreasonably forced to endanger themselves. Many of the aggrieved workers are reporting retaliatory measures taken by their employers after asking for accommodations due to health concerns. Additionally, many small businesses forced to reopen or shutter permanently are growing increasingly nervous of inevitable Worker’s Comp cases due to infection of workers.
Charlottesville area renters, particularly students of University of Virginia, are worried about how they will stay housed during the pandemic. Though have lost their only incomes due to the ongoing crisis, but many landlords are apathetic about their suffering. Despite a faultless inability to pay, some leasing companies refuse to accommodate renters. Housing rights advocates and tenants’ rights lawyers are urging landlords to be compassionate during these extraordinary times.
More than 175 out of 1400 workers have come down with COVID-19 at the Walla Walla Tyson Fresh Meats plant. It is uncertain if the plant will reopen, but County officials have said that workers who test negative are clear to return to work and that the plant can reopen if enough workers test negative once screening is complete. Union officials, meanwhile, have called for more measures to protect the workers and insist that the company isn’t doing enough.
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