The Union Difference Highlighted During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Maria Somma, Director of Organizing for the United Steelworkers spoke with America’s Work Force Radio Podcast on May 22 about the union difference.

United SteelworkersIf there is a silver lining to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is that people are seeing the value in unions in their workplace. Somma explained that workers have seen the clear difference between them and their employers, with regards to employers being worried about profit over people. She said that some employers have not provided workers personal protective equipment (PPE), compensation, sick days or other accommodations. Somma continued, saying workers are torn between going to work and earning a paycheck, or staying home sick leave. She added that unions in the workplace ensure that people have the proper PPE, safety regulations are followed, workers are receiving proper compensation and they are given their earned sick days. Lastly, she said USW members are involved in a member organizing pyramid where they speak about the benefits of unions and organizing in their workplaces.

Chris Martin University of Northern IllinoisChris Martin, Professor of Digital Journalism in the Department of Communications at the University of Northern Iowa spoke about his article “People Ain’t Gonna Come to Work if They Don’t Feel Safe”. His article details the lack of safety standards in place at meat packing facilities and how the COVID-19 pandemic exposed the lack of standards. Martin said there are currently the fewest number of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspectors in the administration’s history. He added that there is an overwhelming demand for them to enforce safety standards to keep workers safe during the pandemic. Martin stressed that workers who do not feel safe at work will not be able to perform their job to their full potential. Adding that safety guidelines need to be enforced to ensure the safety of the workers.


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America’s Work Force is the only daily labor-radio program in the US and has been on the air since 1993, supplying listeners with useful, relevant input into their daily lives through fact-finding features, in-depth interviews, informative news segments and practical consumer reports. America’s Work Force is committed to providing an accessible venue in which America’s workers and their families can hear discussion on important, relevant topics such as employment, healthcare, legislative action, labor-management relations, corporate practices, finances, local and national politics, consumer reports and labor issues.

AMERICA’S WORK FORCE RADIO IS BROUGHT TO YOU IN PART BY OUR SPONSORS AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF MUSICIANS, BMA MEDIA GROUP, COLUMBUS-CENTRAL OHIO BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION TRADES COUNCIL, CUYAHOGA COUNTY VETERAN SERVICE COMMISSION, COMMUNICATION WORKERS OF AMERICA, HEAT AND FROST INSULATORS AND ALLIED WORKERS, INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF MACHINISTS AND AEROSPACE WORKERS, INTERNATIONAL UNION OF PAINTERS AND ALLIED TRADES DISTRICT COUNCIL 6, KELLEY & FERRARO, LLP,  LABOR CITIZEN MAGAZINE, LABORERS INTERNATIONAL UNION OF NORTH AMERICA, NORTH COAST AREA LABOR FEDERATION, MARITIME TRADES DEPARTMENT, OHIO FEDERATION OF TEACHERS-AMERICAN FEDERATION OF TEACHERS, UNITED AUTO WORKERS, UNITED LABOR AGENCY, UNITED STEELWORKERS.

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