Chicago - Oct. 26, 2020
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The [Wednesday] Papers

"A day after resuming operations at Ford's Chicago Assembly Plant on the city's Southeast Side, the U.S. automaker temporarily closed its facility Tuesday for disinfection because two employees tested positive for COVID-19," the Tribune reports.

Oy. Welcome to the World of Reopening.

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And now it has re-reopened:

"The Torrence Avenue plant, which makes the new 2020 Ford Explorer, Lincoln Aviator and Police Interceptor SUVs, is open again with two shifts, Ford spokeswoman Kelli Felker said Wednesday."

Felker didn't say when she and her corporate colleagues would take a shift on the line to show their confidence in the safety of their workplace.

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"Some of those employees, of course, are thrilled to be back working and earning a paycheck, but they are asking at what cost to their own health and safety?" CBS2 Chicago reports.

"I'm worried right now," said employee Timothy Shy. "This is the second day, and we are already hearing about this.

Production was temporarily halted at part of the facility and the main plant.

"Social distancing doesn't really work," said employee Billy Cowart.

There are changes, from the social distancing reminders outside to temperature checks and re-configured work stations inside. Ford provided a video highlighting some of the updated health changes COVID has brought along to their plants

"All these people are crowded and on top of each other," said Michael Hopper while wearing his Ford issued face mask.

"I lost a brother to coronavirus May 6," Hopper said.

Hopper along with others describes an experience inside the plant that doesn't sound or look like the polished video.

"I cleaned my own workstation myself," said Hopper. "How our jobs are set-up, if one person gets in the hole that would affect the person behind him."

At least this isn't the Ford plant the maskless president is visiting Thursday.

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More Public Service COVID Cases
"The Chicago Transit Authority has reported that a fifth employee has passed away due to coronavirus complications," NBC5 Chicago reports.

"Family members identified the employee as Pedro Gafare. According to CTA officials, Gafare a bus operator who had joined the agency in 2012."

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"Chicago police announced Tuesday nine more cases of COVID-19, bringing the total in the department to 529," the Sun-Times reports.

"Of the confirmed cases, 503 are officers and 26 are civilian employees, police said. All of the cases have been confirmed by the department's medical section.

"The department announced the death of a third officer from complications of the coronavirus on April 17."

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Is McDonald's Safe?
"Five Chicago McDonald's workers filed a lawsuit seeking class-action status Tuesday alleging the restaurant chain's 'inadequate' COVID-19 protective measures endangered employees and customers," the Tribune reports.

"The lawsuit, filed in Cook County Circuit Court, alleges McDonald's failed to provide adequate personal protective equipment, allow for proper social distancing or notify employees when co-workers tested positive for COVID-19 at four restaurants across Chicago during the pandemic."

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Inbox:

On Eve of McDonald's Shareholder Meeting, Cooks, Cashiers in 20 Cities Strike Over Company's Failed Response to COVID-19 Pandemic

Workers walk out to protest inadequate PPE, lack of paid sick days, dangerous response to positive tests; demand $15X2 pandemic pay, halt to dividend to fund increased economic, safety measures

Leading public health, worker safety experts to CEO: 'deeply disturbed by McDonald's failure' to protect workers, consumers; Sens. Warren, Gillibrand to join striking workers online

NATIONWIDE -- McDonald's cooks and cashiers in 20 cities, including Chicago, went on strike Wednesday morning, a day before the company's annual shareholder meeting, to protest against the burger giant's failed response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"As the pandemic took hold, McDonald's dished out nearly $1 billion in dividends to line shareholders' pockets, but we had to go on strike to get masks," said San Jose McDonald's worker Maria Chavez, who led a wildcat walkout at her store in March. "The company has failed in every way to protect us - it has failed to provide adequate PPE, failed to enforce social distancing, failed to protect employees when workers have tested positive for COVID-19 and failed to provide paid sick leave to all who wear the company's uniform. We don't want to die, so we are going on strike, to let McDonald's know our lives are essential."

20-CITY NATIONAL DIGITAL STRIKE

WHO: McDonald's workers in the Fight for $15 and a Union

WHAT: McDonald's workers in 20 cities nationwide to strike over the fast-food company's failed response to the COVID-19 pandemic

WHEN: Wednesday, May 20 -- 12PM CDT

WHERE: ZOOM STRIKE, watch the livestream at facebook.com/fightfor15/live

CHICAGO RALLY, PROTEST

WHO: McDonald's workers in the Fight for $15 and a Union

WHAT: McDonald's workers walk off the job, rally and protest outside Chicago restaurant.

WHEN: Wednesday, May 20 - 11AM CDT

WHERE: McDonald's, 3867 S. Archer Street, Chicago, IL 60632

CHICAGO ART INSTALLATION

WHO: Fight for $15 and a Union
Art Build Workers

WHAT: Protest art installation representing workers' demands outside of McDonald's headquarters

WHEN: Wednesday, May 20 - 11AM CDT

WHERE: Outside McDonald's Corporate Headquarters, 1045 W. Randolph, Chicago, IL 60607

Wednesday's strike is the first coordinated across the nation by McDonald's workers since the onset of the pandemic. Cooks and cashiers at Chavez's San Jose McDonald's walked off the job in late March, protesting a lack of masks, soap and hand sanitizer, sparking a wave of strikes by McDonald's and other fast-food workers that has included statewide walkouts in Florida and California.

The walkouts on the eve of the company's shareholder meeting highlight McDonald's continued failed response to the pandemic, even as it moves to reopen dining room across the country, including the following recent examples:

* In Houston, after a McDonald's worker tested positive for COVID-19, 12 other workers were forced to self quarantine for two weeks - without pay.

* In Chicago, the company failed to notify workers in at least two stores after employees tested positive and failed to close the stores for a deep cleaning. Additional workers got sick and tested positive.

* In San Francisco, workers filed a complaint with the city's Health Department alleging managers told them 'not to worry' about a lack of masks in the store, suggesting they use coffee filters instead. At another McDonald's in San Francisco, the company did not inform workers when a colleague tested positive, according to a separate Health Department complaint. Workers heard about the positive result and when one crew member who has diabetes asked for paid time off, she was denied. That worker soon tested positive and, again, the company did not reach out to coworkers who had been in contact with her to get them to quarantine. A worker at that store who pressed managers for masks and gloves had her hours cut in retaliation.

* In Ontario, Calif., a worker who tested positive filed a complaint with the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health alleging her co-workers were not informed of her infection. The worker worked closely with at least seven others, and they never received instructions about sanitizing high-touch surfaces, or shared equipment, which is not done in the restaurant. Crew members were given a single mask and have to wash it.

* In Detroit, workers at a McDonald's were issued a single mask and told to clean it with hand sanitizer.

McDonald's workers are on strike Wednesday in Los Angeles, Oakland, Sacramento, San Francisco and San Jose in California; Kansas City and St. Louis in Missouri; Detroit and Flint in Michigan; Tampa, Orlando, Miami and Fort Lauderdale in Florida; Charleston; Chicago; Durham; Houston; Little Rock; Memphis and Milwaukee. Inspired by the McDonald's workers, cooks and cashiers from other fast-food restaurants, including Domino's, Burger King and Wendy's are expected to join the walkouts in some cities.

"McDonald's is failing to keep workers and its customers safe," said Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who will join striking workers online Wednesday afternoon to show her support. "I stand with McDonald's workers as they fight for protections on the job like PPE, universal paid sick leave, premium pay, clear protocols for when a store employee tests positive for coronavirus, and more. Don't cross the picket line."

'A PATTERN OF SEVERE SHORTCOMINGS'

As workers strike, more than a dozen leading public health and worker safety experts, including former Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health David Michaels and former New York City Health Commissioner Mary Bassett, wrote to McDonald's CEO Chris Kempczinksi that they are "deeply disturbed by McDonald's failure to adequately protect the safety of employees and consumers during the COVID-19 pandemic."

In the letter, the experts point to "a pattern of severe shortcomings by McDonald's," including failure to provide adequate PPE and to inform workers when they are exposed and provide paid quarantine, among other issues.

"As the unmistakably largest and most profitable fast-food company in the world and as the second largest private-sector employer in the United States, McDonald's is the standard setter in the industry," the experts write. "What you choose to do matters."

Two-thirds of McDonald's workers believe the company isn't doing enough to protect them during the COVID-19 pandemic and nearly one-quarter say they've gone to work sick during the crisis, according to a recent survey by the Service Employees International Union. According to another recent survey, 78 percent of McDonald's workers reported having no access to paid sick leave. McDonald's lobbied the Trump administration and Congress to carve the majority of its restaurant workers out of the sick leave requirements of the CARES Act.

TAKING MCDONALD'S TO TASK FOR COVID-19 RESPONSE

The strikes come a day after McDonald's workers in Chicago - home to the highest number of COVID-19 infections in the nation - filed a class action suit alleging McDonald's "plainly inadequate" response to the pandemic has endangered its workers, their family members and the public.

The suit, brought by five Chicago McDonald's workers and four of their family members, alleges McDonald's failure to provide adequate PPE and training, allow for proper social distancing, and notify employees when coworkers have tested positive, run counter to government and expert recommendations and expose workers and the public to an increased risk of infection.

It also follows the filing of three administrative actions by McDonald's workers in California after CAL/OSHA failed to act on complaints that McDonald's handling of COVID-19 issues in stores across the state put workers in "imminent danger."

The new actions, filed with the California Labor & Workforce Development Agency and CAL/OSHA and served on McDonald's, give the company 33 days to cure its violations. If the company fails to adequately cure, the State or the workers could sue McDonald's in court for civil penalties for each violation committed against each McDonald's worker.

The legal notices, filed under the state's Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA), detail a pattern of failure on the part of McDonald's to protect its workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Workers in Chicago and Los Angeles will hold protest caravans Wednesday in their cities to call out McDonald's failures as detailed in Tuesday's legal actions.

ACLU PUSHES FOR PAID SICK, FAMILY LEAVE

To best adhere to safety guidelines during the pandemic, strikers from across the country will hold a digital strike line at 1 p.m. EDT Wednesday, instead of participating in traditional in-person strike lines. Mary Kay Henry, president of the Service Employees International Union, and the Rev. Dr. William Barber, leader of the Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand will join to show support. Leaders of the American Civil Liberties Union, which launched a campaign demanding the burger giant guarantee paid sick and family leave to all workers who wear its uniform, will also join.

As part of the campaign, the ACLU, along with 12 coalition partners, sent a public letter to McDonald's CEO Chris Kempczinski Tuesday requesting a meeting with the company to discuss a paid leave policy that will protect all of its employees. The ACLU and partners have collected more than 100,000 signatures to date in support. The ACLU also launched Tuesday paid media efforts to raise awareness on these issues, including a mobile billboard truck that will run from May 19 - May 21 in Chicago, digital ads gathering additional petition signatures, and a homepage takeover in the Chicago Tribune on May 21st.

"McDonald's is endangering the lives of its workforce and our communities by refusing to give all employees paid sick days and family and medical leave," said Nicole Regalado, a deputy director in the ACLU's National Political Advocacy Department. "McDonald's employees - a majority of whom are women and people of color who are more at risk from COVID-19 due to gender and racial disparities in access to healthcare among other factors - are still showing up to work everyday, even when they're feeling sick. No one should be forced to choose between their health and their job. We won't stop fighting until McDonald's gives all of its employees - in corporate and franchised restaurants - paid leave."

Throughout the day, strikers are demanding McDonald's immediately halt dividends and use that money for increased safety and economic protections for workers, including pandemic pay of $15X2, sufficient PPE and paid sick leave for all who wear the McDonald's uniform. Workers are also demanding a new procedure across the McDonald's system for how the company must respond when workers become infected with the virus. The procedure includes immediate store closure for a full deep cleaning; swift contact tracing of coworkers; and self quarantine of all employees for two weeks, with full pay. The full demands are here.

The strike comes as McDonald's rushes to reopen dining rooms around the country, with workers arguing the company should not rush to reopen when it has not shown it can keep its workers safe with limited service.

"It's premature to talk about opening when workers still have to go on strike and file health complaints to get PPE or have social distancing enforced and when the company's response to positive tests remains haphazard," said Chicago McDonald's worker Adriana Alvarez. "The company has failed in its response to the COVID-19 crisis and should not be talking about reopening dining rooms until it proves it can provide workers with the basic and essential safety protections we need to keep ourselves and our customers safe."

AN EPIDEMIC OF HARASSMENT

As its shareholder meeting approaches, McDonald's is not just under fire for its failed COVID-19 response. McDonald's shareholder, CtW Investment Group is urging investors to oust the fast-food giant's chairman of the board, Enrique Hernandez Jr, and compensation committee chair, Richard Lenny, because of the board's massive $44 million severance payout for terminated CEO Steve Easterbrook, who was let go in November for having a sexual relationship with a subordinate. The shareholder campaign has gained support from Glass Lewis, a proxy advisory firm, and some large pension funds including CalSTRS have gone public with their intention to oppose the board members as well.

Earlier this week, a coalition of global unions representing more than 20 million workers filed a first-of-its-kind complaint with the government of the Netherlands alleging systemic sexual harassment at McDonald's restaurants around the globe.

The complaint, delivered to the Dutch National Contact Point (NCP) responsible for observance of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, details failures by McDonald's global management to address rampant sexual harassment and gender-based violence at its restaurants in Australia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, France, the United Kingdom and the United States, among other countries.

The complaint also cites two major investment banks with $1.7 billion in holdings in McDonald's - APG Asset Management in the Netherlands and Norges Bank in Norway, the latter the eighth-largest investor in the burger giant.

Last month, Florida McDonald's workers filed a $500 million class action lawsuit alleging systemic sexual harassment in corporate-owned-and-operated stores across the state.

Whew.

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

The World's Worst Jailers Of Writers
Spoiler alert: China, Saudi Arabia, Turkey.

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The TSA Hoarded 1.3 Million N95 Masks Even Though Airports Are Empty And It Doesn't Need Them
"Meanwhile, other federal agencies, including the Department of Veterans Affairs' vast network of hospitals, scrounged for the personal protective equipment that doctors and nurses are dying without."

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Created: The Timuel Black Jr. Grant Fund
"[T]o support planning and capital projects that work to preserve and promote the history, culture and architecture of Chicago's South Side, which Black has called home for the majority of his life."

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They Weren't Coming Back
The Last Dance was danced, as it should have been.

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ChicagoReddit

Imo, for Chicago to realisticly reopen, mask/face covering for public transportation must be enforced. from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Chic-A-Go-Go 642:PLASTIC CRIMEWAVE's SECRET HISTORY OF CHICAGO MUSIC w/DA & JIMMY DAWKINS(10/20/09) (PREMIERING THIS MORNING!)

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BeachBook

New Analysis: Unlike Bush and Obama, the Trump Administration Is Muzzling CDC Scientists During Pandemic.

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Scientists Discover That Visitors To Oslo's Munch Museum Are Destroying 'The Scream' By Breathing On It Way Too Much.

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Yes, Those Were Sex Dolls Cheering On A Korean Soccer Team.

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TweetWood
A sampling of the delight and disgust you can find @BeachwoodReport.

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The Beachwood Q-Tip Line: Candlesticks.



Permalink

Posted on May 20, 2020


MUSIC - Fender Breaks Record.
TV - Let The Children Starve.
POLITICS - COVID Workplace Bullshit.
SPORTS - Sox Season In Verse.

BOOKS - A Lab Of Her Own.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Polyak Promoted.


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