Pluralistic: 26 Aug 2021

Today's links

A Walmart employee standing in a store aisle; there's a ball-and-chain attached to his ankle; the ball has been replaced by a covid-19 virus.

Vaccinate workers at (almost) any price (permalink)

I admit it. I look at the overloaded hospitals, read the testimony of overworked health care workers, see the spiking case- and death-counts, and I find myself angry at people who won't get vaccinated.

It's hard not to be angry, especially when you see people who reject the assurances about vaccine safety but conduct uncontrolled experiments on themselves using livestock medicine, based on conspiratorial social media threads.

But vaccine refusal, hesitancy and denial are complex. Among the unvaccinated people are sizeable group of low-waged workers in precarious jobs, and research tells us their unvaccinated status is due to their inability to take time off for vaccination.

If you have to travel a long way to get vaccinated, or if you fear that side effects might affect your ability to work for a day or two, then the speculative benefits of vaccination are trumped by the real-world consequences of losing pay or getting fired.

Half of the employers in America will not give their workers paid leave to get vaccinated or recover from side effects.

20% of unvaccinated people would get a shot if they got paid leave.

The original covid relief bill included paid sick leave for people with covid. That benefit expired last December, and Democrats failed to renew it after taking the presidency, the House and the Senate.

The Biden admin floated a Dept of Labor rule that would mandate paid vaccination leave. Intense lobbying from Associated General Contractors, the National Federation of Independent Businesses and the National Association of Manufacturers killed the proposal.

Some states, like NY and California, have filled the gap at the state level, but 18 states have actually banned cities from creating mandatory vaccine leave rules.

But as Walker Bragman and David Sirota write in the Daily poster, the $3.5T infrastructure package Dems hope to pass through budget reconciliation creates a paid medical leave program that guarantees time off for vaccination and other health needs.

40% of covid infections and a third of covid deaths can be attributed to "health coverage gaps," including lack of insurance and paid sick leave. The stakes for passing the $3.5T package couldn't be higher.

And once we get that – past centrist Dem ghouls in the House and the Senate who put their corporate donors and political careers ahead of the national interest – we must push on, to make Biden honor his promise for national, public health insurance.

Image: Walmart (modified)

This day in history (permalink)

#20yrsago Metacrap: Putting the torch to seven straw-men of the meta-utopia

#10yrsago Slashdot’s CmdrTaco steps down

#10yrsago Coordinated multinational ATM fraud nets $13M in one night

#10yrsago Chalk memorial for Jack Layton in front of Toronto’s New City Hall

#1yrago It's blursday

#1yrago Surveillance Capitalism is just capitalism, plus surveillance

Colophon (permalink)

Today's top sources:

Currently writing:

  • Spill, a Little Brother short story about pipeline protests. Yesterday's progress: 287 words (17206 words total)

  • A Little Brother short story about remote invigilation. PLANNING

  • A nonfiction book about excessive buyer-power in the arts, co-written with Rebecca Giblin, "The Shakedown." FINAL EDITS

  • A post-GND utopian novel, "The Lost Cause." FINISHED

  • A cyberpunk noir thriller novel, "Red Team Blues." FINISHED

Currently reading: Analogia by George Dyson.

Latest podcast: Disneyland at a stroll
Upcoming appearances:

Recent appearances:

Latest book:

Upcoming books:

  • The Shakedown, with Rebecca Giblin, nonfiction/business/politics, Beacon Press 2022

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"When life gives you SARS, you make sarsaparilla" -Joey "Accordion Guy" DeVilla