Category Archives: Pandemics & Infectious Diseases

Covid Stimulus Watch

Source: Good Jobs First, 2020

A new website from Good Jobs First combines CARES Act recipient data and accountability information on the companies from Violation Tracker, Subsidy Tracker and other sources.

The 2020 Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (or CARES Act) provides hundreds of billions of dollars in assistance to large and small corporations whose operations have been disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic. The public deserves to know which companies are receiving the assistance and whether aid is flowing to firms with a poor record of corporate accountability.

Covid Stimulus Watch answers those needs. It assembles CARES Act recipient data and combines it with information about each firm’s history of regulatory violations, previous government assistance, federal tax avoidance, and CEO and worker pay practices.

COVID-19 OSHA Complaint tracker

Source: Strikewave, 2020

Workplace health and safety is more important now, than ever. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, essential workers—whether unionized or not—have fought employers to ensure that workers and the public are protected.

One tool available to workers: complaints made to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA. We’ve compiled an interactive map of COVID-19 complaints made nationwide including the names of employers, narrative descriptions of their offenses, and an overall breakdown of complaints by industry.

Coronavirus and COVID-19

Source: SHRM, 2020

Communicable diseases like coronavirus and the respiratory illness it causes, COVID-19, can bring a busy workforce to a standstill. Look below for the latest news and updates, as well as critical member-only resources. In addition, here is key information to help you to work your way through the pandemic:

  • Review our coverage most read by SHRM members, plus a complete list of all content we’ve published on COVID-19.
  • Visit our resource page on Remote Work guidance and best practices.
  • Compare policies regarding layoffs, furloughs and pay cuts on the Employee Termination and Layoffs resource page.
  • Explore our COVID-19 Express Requests to learn about the CARES Act and much more.

Differential occupational risk for COVID‐19 and other infection exposure according to race and ethnicity

Source: Devan Hawkins, American Journal of Industrial Medicine, Early View, First published: June 15, 2020

From the abstract:
Background:
There are racial and ethnic disparities in the risk of contracting COVID‐19. This study sought to assess how occupational segregation according to race and ethnicity may contribute to the risk of COVID‐19.

Methods:
Data about employment in 2019 by industry and occupation and race and ethnicity were obtained from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Current Population Survey. This data was combined with information about industries according to whether they were likely or possibly essential during the COVID‐19 pandemic and the frequency of exposure to infections and close proximity to others by occupation. The percentage of workers employed in essential industries and occupations with a high risk of infection and close proximity to others by race and ethnicity was calculated.

Results:
People of color were more likely to be employed in essential industries and in occupations with more exposure to infections and close proximity to others. Black workers in particular faced an elevated risk for all of these factors.

Conclusion:
Occupational segregation into high‐risk industries and occupations likely contributes to differential risk with respect to COVID‐19. Providing adequate projection to workers may help to reduce these disparities.

COVID-19 Resource Center

Source: Health Affairs, 2020

A collection of COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease) content from Health Affairs journal articles and additional resources provides timely commentary, expert analysis, and policy proposals.

COVID-19 BLOG ARTICLES – Timely posts from leading experts on policy matters related to COVID-19 and Coronavirus Disease.
FAST TRACK COVID-19 JOURNAL ARTICLES – Rapidly published peer-reviewed journal articles on COVID-19.
COVID-19 MULTIMEDIA – Interviews, commentary, media citations, and more on COVID-19 and Coronavirus Disease.
RELATED JOURNAL ARTICLES – Relevant articles from our journal archives on global health, health system preparedness, pandemics, and related topics.

Navigating the Threat of Pandemic Syllabus

Source: Duke University Press, 2020

Amid the worldwide spread of COVID-19, it’s a challenging time, and our thoughts are with those affected by this disease. In support and solidarity, we are providing free access to the following books and journal articles to help build knowledge and understanding of how we navigate the spread of communicable diseases.

Listed books are free to read online until June 1, 2020, and journal articles are free until October 1.

Breaking contracts over coronavirus: Can you argue it’s an ‘act of God’?

Source: Andrew Schwartz, The Conversation, March 31, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has prevented countless people from fulfilling their contracts, from basketball players to babysitters. Could all of these people be sued for breach of contract, or are they excused due to this extraordinary event? What about payments made in advance, such as tickets bought for a concert that has now been canceled or a dorm room leased at a college that is now closed? ….

….Force majeure clauses are common in corporate contracts. They dictate which types of unexpected events will excuse performance and how to deal with payments already made or other losses. The precise wording of these clauses is key. Some might expressly mention pandemics or government orders, while others might not. Similarly, some clauses might call for full restitution, while others might provide for 50% refunds or no refund at all. Whatever the force majeure clause says will displace the ordinary rules of impossibility and restitution.

The contract between the NBA and its players, for example, includes a force majeure clause that specifically covers epidemics. It states that basketball teams can withhold part of their players’ salaries for each canceled game, and ESPN reported that the league was considering it. ….

Walkouts Spread as Workers Seek Coronavirus Protections

Source: Dan DiMaggio, Saurav Sarkar, Labor Notes, March 26, 2020

As the coronavirus spreads, more and more workers who are still on the job are taking action to defend their health and safety and demand hazard pay. Here’s a round-up. (For an earlier round-up, see “Organizing for Pandemic Time-Off,” Labor Notes, March 16, 2020.)

Can I Get Fired for Talking about Virus Risks?

Source: Alexandra Bradbury, Labor Notes, March 31, 2020

Many workers still on the job during this pandemic are upset about their working conditions. But can you get in trouble for talking about your concerns—to your co-workers, on social media, or to the newspaper?

In a word: no. Not legally, anyway.

Below is a short run-down of your legal right to organize around wages, hours, and working conditions, even if you don’t have a union—and if you do have a union, your additional protection under your contract.

Let’s be real—employers have been known to break laws and contracts, and the bureaucratic remedies (court cases, grievances) are slow. But often threats are just meant to silence you. Showing that you know your rights may be enough to get management to back off its threats….

Related:
WEBINAR: Organizing without a Union During the Coronavirus / Organizándose sin sindicato durante el coronavirus
Source: Chris Brooks, Labor Notes, March 27, 2020

Healthcare employees concerned about profit, clients during COVID-19 outbreak

Source: Morgan Frey, S&P Global, March 27, 2020

More than half of healthcare workers are confident that consumer demand for their products and services will not decline as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, although some warned their businesses were facing serious challenges, according to a survey. The Voice of the Enterprise survey was conducted by 451 Research LLC, an offering of S&P Global Market Intelligence, between March 10 and March 19 and represents 820 responses. Of the healthcare employees surveyed, 54.8% said they did not expect a loss or reduction of customer demand, which was higher than any other industry in the survey. S&P Global Ratings expects the coronavirus’ impact on the healthcare sector will be “moderate” versus other industries.

Related:
S&P: For-profit hospitals may weather procedure cancellations amid COVID-19
Source: Ricky Zipp, S&P Global, March 26, 2020

Most for-profit hospitals should have enough liquidity to overcome the next three to six months of volume declines as the coronavirus pandemic continues to stress health systems and take a toll on the U.S. economy, according to S&P Global Ratings analysts.

Not-For-Profit Acute Care Sector Outlook Revised To Negative Reflecting Possible Prolonged COVID-19 Impact
Source: S&P Global Ratings, March 25, 2020
(subscription required)

Key Takeaways:

  • We have revised our not-for-profit acute health care sector outlook to negative due to the quickly evolving COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent investment market deterioration which could pressure credit quality.
  • We believe certain credits, especially those with healthy unrestricted reserves and liquidity, may be better able to manage through this crisis.
  • Duration, location, and severity will be important considerations in determining the broader impact of this pandemic on the sector.