News Release

On May Day: Where is the Power of Labor?


MIKE ELK, mike.elk at, @MikeElk

Elk is the senior labor reporter at Payday Report which features a map showing strikes around the U.S.

He also just wrote the piece “The Power to Slow Down Reopening” for The American Prospect. He writes: “Some employers will doubtless take advantage of 20 percent unemployment rates to make it clear to workers that they can easily be replaced if they try to unionize, or even if they organize just to block a dangerously premature back-to-work order from their boss. With an inadequate social safety net, many workers may feel compelled to go back to work, even if it risks contracting COVID-19, in order to keep a roof over their heads. …

“By pausing and creating a more equitable framework for recovery, many workplace advocates believe that workers could find their voices and assert their power — a development that could build on a massive strike wave already hitting the country.”

JAISAL NOOR, jaisal at
CHRIS SMALLS, chrismalls21 at
Noor is a reporter with The Real News and has extensively covered labor issues. He just put out the report: “Fired Amazon Worker Chris Smalls: Support May Day Strikers.

“Said Noor: “Dozens have actions have taken place across the country to demand basic safety protections and hazard pay during the coronavirus pandemic. It’s possible we see more walkouts and protests on Mayday or International Workers Day, which is observed in most countries except the United States. Despite its rich militant often bloody history of working class struggle that’s secured major victories like the eight hour workday.  Mayday 2020 could see the reawakening of this more radical tradition in the US as workers with Amazon, Target, Whole Foods and other retailers are holding mass sick outs and other protests to demand fair pay and workplace protections during the coronavirus pandemic.”

In The Real News report, Noor said Small “was fired from Amazon in March after working there for five years. Amazon said Smalls was fired for not social distancing, but his firing is widely seen as retaliation for organizing a walkout at the Staten Island Amazon warehouse where he’s worked.”

Said Small: “We are doing a service for the consumers, but if we’re not healthy, we’re doing a disservice. Meaning we’re bringing this virus back to the communities. So we need to stay together in this aspect. And for the consumers, don’t purchase anything from these types of companies until they protect us. By doing that, you’re standing with us, you’re standing with your loved ones.”