For Immediate Release

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Michael O’Neil, Communications Manager | meo@gp.org | 202-804-2758
Holly Hart, Co-chair, Media Committee | media@gp.org | 202-804-2758
Craig Seeman, Co-chair, Media Committee | media@gp.org | 202-804-2758

Greens Call For Solidarity With Labor Amid COVID-19 Crisis

Party says the pandemic exposes dire need for economic, environmental and foreign policy system change.

WASHINGTON - Green Party leaders called today for people’s movements and organizations to stand in solidarity with workers facing health concerns, loss of wages and insufficient healthcare during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This must be a top priority for all who are dedicated to human rights, racial and economic justice, the well-being of working people and the poor, and the environment,” said Green Party of the United States Co-Chair Justin Beth.

Greens noted that some activists have already proposed a general strike and said that a variety of actions should be considered. The Green Party supports strikes and other actions already underway, including those undertaken by Amazon workers.

"Low wage workers are facing threats to their health and livelihoods, or even being fired, simply for speaking out about dangerous working conditions. The current crisis we face with the COVID-19 pandemic highlights the fact that the majority of people across this country are one paycheck away from being on the street. We must call on national, local, and community-based groups to come together to support our critical workforce, and consider various collective actions," said Beth. 

Medicare For All is especially urgent as millions of Americans face loss of employment and health insurance in the coming weeks, and as economists warn medical costs will shoot through the roof as insurance and medical industries try to exploit the crisis. Economists estimate that premiums could increase by 40% nationwide in 2021 without federal help, and as many as 35 million people could lose their health insurance during the pandemic.

Over 60% of Americans support single payer health insurance, sometimes called Expanded and Improved Medicare for All. Additionally, many countries are paying worker wages through the period that people are unable to work. Paying worker wages would allow workers to stay on their jobs and would relieve the burden of providing unemployment insurance on states who are struggling to buy medical supplies and set up temporary hospitals.

“Working people are on the front lines serving critical needs, yet are some of the lowest wage-earners with the fewest benefits and protections,“ said Darryl! Moch, co-chair of the Green Party National Black Caucus. “ Employers must ensure safe and healthy working conditions for those who must work during the pandemic.” He added, “The Green Party represents and is made up of working people. It is love for people and the planet that calls for us, in this current pandemic, to seek ways to truly connect and understand our common humanity, that we are interdependent on each other for our own survival, and that now we need to use this time to come together, recognizing that we have more in common then we have that separates us.“

For More Information

Amid Pandemic, Workers Walk Out, Building Momentum Toward General Strike, Bernd, Candice. Truthout, April 2, 2020

Coronavirus is a Labor Crisis, and a General Strike Could Be Next, Gordon, Aaron, Laruen Kaori Gurley, Edward Ongweso, jr., Jordan Pearsopn. Vice, April 2, 2020

Strikes at Instacart and Amazon Over Coronavirus Concerns, Scheiber, Noam, Kate Conger.  New York Times, March 30, 2020

Here’s why Amazon and Instacart workers are striking at a time when you need them most, O’Brien, Sarah Ashley. CNN Business, March 30, 2020

Coronavirus recession will hit low-wage workers hardest, Wilson, Reid. The Hill, March 31, 2020

Newsletter: Facing high coronavirus risk, low-wage workers push back, Nelson, Laura J. Los Angeles Times, March 31, 2020

Hospitals accused of firing health workers who speak on COVID-19 equipment shortages, Lin, Summer. SacBee, March 31, 2020

Hospitals Tell Doctors They’ll Be Fired If They Speak Out About Lack of Gear, Carville, Olivia, Emma Court, Kristen V. Brown. Bloomberg, March 31, 2020

40% percent hike for health insurance premiums possible after coronavirus pandemic, Covered California warns, Escalante, Eric. ABC10, March 24, 2020

COVID-19 Impact on Medicaid, Marketplace, and the Uninsured, by State, Health Management Associates, April 3, 2020

Most continue to say ensuring health care coverage is government’s responsibility, Kiley, Jocelyn. Pew Research Center. October 3, 2018

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Green Party Platform: Labor

 The Green Party Supports Working People

Green Party Platform: Healthcare

Green Party Position: Single Payer Health Insurance

The Great Pandemic Awakening, Hovaness, Haig. Green Party of the United States Peace Action Committee, March 20, 2020

Greens: Greenbacks Not Bailouts Cure for National Emergency, Green Party Banking and Monetary Reform Committee, March 16, 2020

A blog list of articles on the issue: https://www.gp.org/coronavirus

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