Library workers fight for safer working conditions amid coronavirus pandemic

From NBC News:

In Hennepin County, Minnesota, 220 library workers face a dilemma: take unpaid leave or get reassigned to work in hotels housing homeless people, including some with COVID-19 symptoms, with no extra pay.

The offer came last week from county Administrator David Hough, who told staff that there wasn’t enough work for them to do from home while the libraries were closed. Workers who don’t want to move to the higher-risk jobs — of which there are only 50 positions — can use their remaining paid time off or eat into future paid leave allocations that they will owe the county.

“People are being forced into an impossible position,” said Ali Fuhrman, president of the local union that represents the library workers. “Go into debt, use your own benefits or take on a risky job at no extra compensation.”

The Hennepin workers are among a growing group of library employees across the United States who have been organizing to fight for better working conditions amid the coronavirus pandemic.

. . . .

Despite the American Library Association recommending in a statement March 17 that libraries close to the public, many librarians and support staff are still being asked to travel to work or risk being laid off, organizers say, even though many services could be delivered remotely.

Libraries in states across the country, including in New York, Iowa, Florida, California and Minnesota, have started offering curbside pickups to reduce contact between workers and patrons. Organizers believe this puts librarians at an unnecessary risk.

Link to the rest at NBC News

5 thoughts on “Library workers fight for safer working conditions amid coronavirus pandemic”

  1. Normally, I would not be overly sympathetic to the plight of these workers. In this case, however, they have a legitimate beef – not only are they being offered an “alternative” that has absolutely no relation to the job descriptions they were hired under, but – unless and until those “alternative” positions are filled, they cannot access any unemployment or welfare programs.

    Unfortunately, it is probably a vain hope that some of the left-leaning ones will wake up to the fact that it is the omniscient, omnibenevolent government that is giving them the shaft – not the “evil” capitalists.

    • It’s the capitalists. They are shut down, so they can’t collect the sales tax that pays the librarians. Other capitalists have cut way back on oil production or hotel rooms. Again no taxes.

      We haven’t heard that much about it, but state and local taxes will be way down. So how do all those government programs run?

        • This whole thing will be the most expensive economics lesson in history. The reason all these people are being treated in hospitals is because of capitalism.

          Anyone notice the immediate medical innovation when the companies were freed from government imposed obstacles?

          God Bless Capitalism, for it has brought more prosperity to more people than anything else in history.

          • I understand the need for the FDA…under normal conditions. Nobody wants another thalidomide mess. But a lot of the candidate treatments are existing, approved drugs. Known quantities. And they might be shots in the dark but a shot in the dark is better than watching people die while protocols are meticulosly followed.

            Sooner or later this will end.
            And there will be a reckoning.

Comments are closed.