April 10, 2020
Out Now: Videorecording of the TUED Global Forum on Union Responses to the COVID-19 Crisis
On April 3rd, 2020, TUED hosted a Global Web Forum on how unions are responding to the evolving global public health, economic and social crises set in motion by the COVID-19 pandemic. Announced on short notice, we had an overwhelming response, with nearly 200 participants from 70 unions in 25 countries.
Speakers on the call reported from the USA, South Korea, the Philippines, India, South Africa and Australia (which included reporting on conditions in other countries in the Asia-Pacific region).
Contributions highlighted key features of the immediate struggles facing workers and working class communities around the globe, as well as attacks on worker rights and health and safety in this period of upheaval. Reports also highlighted various ways in which the existing conditions that have left so many so vulnerable — not merely to the immediate health dangers posed by the virus itself, but also to the massive disruption to lives and livelihoods, and the threat of food insecurity and more due to the economic impacts of government responses to the public health emergency — are themselves a result of decades of austerity and increased privatization under neoliberalism, and the severe depletion of public health systems, other public services, and worker rights and protections.
There was also a clear recognition in the meeting of the need to think seriously and deeply about both the dangers and the opportunities of the current moment, and to work together to formulate responses that can advance international solidarity and pro-public solutions to the immediate challenges, and to the enduring ecological crisis that we must still address no matter how the immediate crises play out. There was strong consensus on the need for further consultations in the coming weeks. Watch this space.
You can find additional information from the April 3rd call at the following links:
- Videorecording of the meeting
- List of Participants (missing some late additions)
- Union Statements and Resources on COVID-19
- Chat Box Record (actions, resources, questions, information)
There is also a short report of the meeting from Nancy Romer of the Professional Staff Congress—American Federation of Teachers (PSC-AFT), addressed to other members of her union’s environmental justice working group, available here.
Again, watch out for additional details on next steps as we work out how to navigate the period ahead, together. In the meantime, stay safe and take care. Reach out if you need anything.
The TUED Team in New York