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Voices from the Front Line: Health Care Workers and the Fight Against Covid

With states reopening around the country despite record levels of Covid-19 cases and a growing death toll as well as a national debate about whether public schools are safe to resume in-person classes this fall, it is clear that government officials don’t care about the human cost of this pandemic. Health care workers on the front lines of the crisis have been in the trenches, seen the devastation first hand and continue to organize against the inactions and callousness of the policy-makers.

Hear from front line nurses and health care workers about their battles in the hospitals and the nursing homes against Covid-19 and why the fight against this pandemic is intricately linked to the struggle for Black lives and for dignity and respect in the workplace.

What is the current shape of the Covid-19 crisis? How is it impacting ordinary people and health care systems and what can we be doing to fight back?


Tammera Campbell is a radiologic technologist at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital in Sonoma County, California, a member of National Union for Healthcare Workers (NUHW) and on the current contract bargaining team. Workers at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital were just on a five-day strike against proposed austerity cuts to benefits, the largest healthcare worker strike in the U.S. during the Covid-19 pandemic. Read more about the strike in this recent Labor Notes article.

Elizabeth Lalasz is a registered nurse at Stroger Hospital in Chicago, a steward with National Nurses United, and delegate to the upcoming 2020 California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee Convention. She contracted COVID-19 and then returned to work on a COVID-only unit that primarily served people incarcerated in Cook County Jail.

Ashley Payne is an Service Employees International Union Local 1021 member representing 900 County social services workers and a delegate to the Contra Costa County Central Labor Council. She is on the Steering Committee for the Democratic Socialist Labor Commission (DSLC) and a co-chair of East Bay Democratic Socialists of America (EBDSA) Racial Solidarity Committee.

Sarah Jaffe is the author of Necessary Trouble: Americans in Revolt and a Type Media Center reporting fellow and an independent journalist covering labor, economic justice, social movements, politics, gender, and pop culture. She is the co-host, with Michelle Chen, of Dissent magazine’s Belabored podcast, as well as a columnist at The Progressive and New Labor Forum.