The coronavirus pandemic caused massive layoffs, after union organising drives surfaced in the US. Several workers claimed that they had been fired because of worker organising efforts. Experts believe that employers are now using these lockouts to suppress organising efforts.

Iglika Ivanova

Iglika Ivanova, an economist, re-tweeted an article on US companies using the coronavirus pandemic as a tool to break unions. The article further details how the lockouts have impacted unions because of the coronavirus-induced unemployment and greater availability of replacement workers.

This has led to protests and summons against employers who have been leveraging the pandemic as an opportunity to mount an attack on collective bargaining. For instance, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Local 28, filed unfair labour practice charges against the National Labour Relations Board and also held protests outside the Portland Trailblazers home games. This happened on account of the Portland Trailblazers having replaced their unionised crew with non-union workers, to organise their games.

Employers are refusing to recall workers as an extension of their duties and replacing them with people already present. Lockouts and work stoppages are initiated by employers in the case of a labour dispute where the employer seeks replacement workers.

John Cochrane

John Cochrane, an economist and senior fellow at Hoover Institution, shared Jay Bhattacharya’s views on Covid, vaccines, tests, and more on GoodFellows, a weekly Hoover broadcast.

Bhattacharya is a Stanford doctor and professor who believes that not prioritising older people for vaccinations was an enormous mistake and disastrous for US states such as California. Even the vaccine rollout to frontline healthcare workers has been much slower than expected he opines.

In his views, zero Covid is an impossibility and it is imperative to control the pace of the disease. The key question, however, is to protect the vulnerable, as data suggests that mortality rates double with every eight years of age.

He also stated that the disease survival rate is 95% for people aged above 70 years and 99.95% for those under 70. Therefore, the right strategy should be to protect the high-risk mortality groups with the available vaccine doses than to exponentially curb it.

Susan Hayes

Susan Hayes, an economist, shared an article on how the Irish recovery has fared in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic. Ireland has imposed graver restrictions and prolonged ones to curb the virus spread, which has directly impacted sectors such as hospitality, tourism, retail, and personal services, the article detailed.

Many Irish small and medium enterprises (SMEs), particularly pertaining to the hospitality and retail sectors, are on the verge of insolvency as their cash reserves seem to have been depleted during the two lockdown periods. In addition, there is no certainty of the government being able to sustain these businesses.

Economists believe that Ireland will witness a higher structural unemployment rate in the years ahead, as it will take time for sectors such as retail and tourism to recover from the coronavirus-induced job losses. This, in turn, will further require the Irish government to fund re-training schemes and other programmes to help create jobs for people in other sectors.