Bernie vs. an Amazon, and Other Covid-19 Stories


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The discovery of an ancient artwork showing Bernie with abs and Bezos with boobs puzzles scientists, but they’re cool with it.

In the COVID-19 situation, these bites seem interesting.

  • We have a case of COVID-19 in the Central Men’s Jail (550 N. Flower St. Santa Ana, CA, 92703, not Theo Lacey.)
  • Joe Biden has been largely absent recently, leading some to wonder whether he’s OK and who the DNC should choose to replace him if he’s not.  The acceptable choices apparently exclude Bernie Sanders — because the DNC would rather die — but include NY Governor Andrew Cuomo and CA Governor Gavin Newsom — my feeling is that if you want to choose an old white guy someone for one term only, it should be Jerry Brown, from whom “bold great things” are not entirely impossible.  Elizabeth Warren for VP, obvs.
  • Mexican President AMLO is infected after promising voters that he would be protected by a magic amulet.
  • We’ll add more bullet points, with absolutely no attempt to be comprehensive, as the mood strikes us.
  • But what prompted this post is … this, from the Bernie Sanders campaign!

Dear Orange Juice Blog reader –

I’m going to ask you to sign a petition in support of Amazon warehouse workers who are organizing to protect themselves during the coronavirus pandemic. I’ll explain more shortly, but if you’re ready to sign, please add your name to Bernie’s petition calling on CEO Jeff Bezos to protect the health and safety of Amazon warehouse workers.

ADD YOUR NAME

Here is why this is so important today.

Amazon, which paid $0 in federal taxes last year, and whose CEO is the wealthiest person in the world, has tens of thousands of workers in fulfillment centers all across the country, working at a breakneck pace to fill and ship orders.

Despite the best practices advice from public health officials during the coronavirus pandemic, reports indicate that workers are still forced to stand together in close quarters; there are not enough disinfectant wipes or hand sanitizer in warehouses; and there is not extra cleaning of the warehouses.

Just yesterday, an Amazon worker at a 2,500 employee warehouse in New York City was diagnosed with the virus — and not only is the warehouse still open, but it was allegedly cleaned with workers still going about their business.

What is happening is a situation where the greed of Amazon to continue to make billions in profits will overtake the necessary precautions workers must have in order to protect their health and safety. We cannot let that happen.

Earlier this week, Bernie signed a letter echoing the demands of Amazon workers who are organizing to protect their workplaces.

This is what Amazon workers want:

    • Preventative measures in workplaces to make sure workers don’t contract the coronavirus.
    • Paid sick leave for ALL workers, regardless of coronavirus diagnosis.
    • 1.5x hazard pay during the crisis, as workers are taking increased risk in coming to workplaces to fulfill orders.
    • Childcare pay and subsidies, as workers shouldn’t be forced to choose between caring for their children or working, especially as schools are closed.
    • Stop enforcing rate-based quotas and punishing workers during times of increased demand. Workers shouldn’t take shortcuts that compromise health or safety.
    • Immediately close down workplaces that have employees who test positive for coronavirus; provide full pay for all workers at that facility to self-isolate for two weeks; and provide free testing for all workers at affected facilities.

If you agree that Amazon workers deserve these basic protections from their company and their billionaire owner — the richest man in the world — please sign Bernie’s petition to Amazon now.

We are dealing with an unprecedented crisis, and this is a time for all of us to look out for one another. I believe that if enough of us stand with Bernie and these Amazon workers, we can win these protections, and set an example of solidarity.

Thank you for all you do.

In solidarity,

Faiz Shakir
Campaign Manager

Is Bernie trying to harvest your email addresses?  YES OF COURSE HE IS!  But you don’t have to sign the petition (or, if you do, use a non-disposable email address to do it.)  What is interesting is that Bernie is getting at something that should be discussed more — and that is “should the guy who could buy Michael Bloomberg be allowed to keep his employees from bargaining for … well, perhaps for their lives?”

Bezos, who owns the famously anti-Bernie Washington Post, provides a useful service (I refer to “shipping,” not to “killing local businesses whom we could actually sort of use right now”), but it does not follow that he has no obligation to find a way to provide that service without knowingly condemning 1 out of 40 or so workers to death in the short term.  (Not to mention the families to which they return at night, etc.)

What the workers want, which again is

  1. Preventative measures in workplaces to make sure workers don’t contract the coronavirus.
  2. Paid sick leave for ALL workers, regardless of coronavirus diagnosis.
  3. 1.5x hazard pay during the crisis, as workers are taking increased risk in coming to workplaces to fulfill orders.
  4. Childcare pay and subsidies, as workers shouldn’t be forced to choose between caring for their children or working, especially as schools are closed.
  5. A halt to enforcing rate-based quotas and punishing workers during times of increased demand. Workers shouldn’t take shortcuts that compromise health or safety.
  6. Immediate closure of workplaces that have employees who test positive for coronavirus
  7. Full pay for all workers such a facility to self-isolate for two weeks
  8. Free testing for all workers at such affected facilities.

Is this crazy?  Doesn’t seem crazy to me.  Seems like reasonable worker protection.

 


About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose attorney, semi-retired due to disability, residing in northwest Brea. Occasionally runs for office against bad people who would otherwise go unopposed. Got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012; Josh Newman then won the seat in 2016. In 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002; Todd Spitzer then won that seat in 2018. Every time he's run against some rotten incumbent, the *next* person to challenge them wins! He's OK with that. Deposed as Northern Vice Chair of DPOC in April 2014 (in violation of Roberts Rules) when his anti-corruption and pro-consumer work in Anaheim infuriated the Building Trades and Teamsters in spring 2014, who then worked with the lawless and power-mad DPOC Chair to eliminate his internal oversight. Expelled from DPOC in October 2018 (in violation of Roberts Rules) for having endorsed Spitzer over Rackauckas -- which needed to be done. None of his pre-putsch writings ever spoke for the Democratic Party at the local, county, state, national, or galactic level, nor do they now. One of his daughters co-owns a business offering campaign treasurer services to Democratic candidates and the odd independent. He is very proud of her. He doesn't directly profit from her work and it doesn't affect his coverage. (He does not always favor her clients, though she might hesitate to take one that he truly hated.) He does advise some local campaigns informally and (so far) without compensation. (If that last bit changes, he will declare the interest.)