Philadelphia workers' demands during COVID-19

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As the COVID-19 (or coronavirus) pandemic sweeps the globe, workers in the U.S. and elsewhere are reminded of what's most important in our society: money. Even in Italy, a country with a much larger social safety net, including a National Health Service and 30 paid days off per year, people are dying at alarming rates -- 200 in the last 24 hours. And while COVID-19 hasn't yet hit the U.S. in the same way, it will -- and the elite who run our country are totally ill-prepared to handle it.

Although bosses and landlords will quarantine themselves, workers will still be expected to work and pay rent and bills. We will be forced into dangerous situations for the sole purpose of creating profit for another. The priorities of the owning class are clear: wild fluctuations in the stock market have prompted calls for an 'economic stimulus', in particular a bailout of the oil and shale industry, which would mean another handout to big business reminiscent of the crisis in 2008.

But workers are the ones who will actually need to be bailed out in the face of this heightening public health emergency. Although workers are expected to deal with coronavirus privately, this is a social problem that requires social solutions. Without protections in place for all workers, more people will get sick and die. Protecting and fighting for working people is about protecting and liberating society.

Philadelphia is the poorest big city in the country, and nearly 18% of our residents don't have health insurance. Who will experience the health impacts of coronavirus -- and the economic impacts of its fallout -- the most? Low wage workers, and especially workers in the service, hospitality, and health care industries.

As workers in Philadelphia, we demand, through the length of the pandemic:

  • Free tests and treatment of COVID-19, including for undocumented workers who should be able to seek treatment without fear of detention or deportation
  • A moratorium on evictions, foreclosures, and layoffs
  • Expanded paid sick leave that includes EVERY worker, and covers the duration of a quarantine period
  • Reimbursement of lost wages funded by a tax on corporations

Signed,

Philly Workers for Dignity
Philly Socialists
215 People's Alliance
Socialist Alternative Philadelphia
PA Save Our Homes Coalition
Philadelphia Tenants Union
Philly Transit Riders Union

+ 1200 workers who deserve to live with safety and dignity

Form by
Ben Carroll
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania