But it’s a mistake to treat the growing ideological divide over when and how to reopen the country as a matter of class rather than partisanship. The push for a faster reopening, even in places where coronavirus cases are growing, has significant elite support. And many of those who face exposure as they’re ordered back to work are rightly angry and terrified.
Because here’s the thing about reopening: It’s liberation to some, but compulsion to others. If your employer reopens but you don’t feel safe going to work, you can’t continue to collect unemployment benefits. In The Texas Tribune, a waitress in Odessa spoke of her fear when she was called back to work at a restaurant that hadn’t put adequate social distancing measures in place. “It scared me, so I left,” she said. “Then I had to remember that if I do quit, I would have to lose my unemployment.”…
Indeed, across America there’s been a surge in labor activism as people made to work in unsafe conditions stage strikes, walkouts and sickouts. “It sounds corny, but we’re moving towards a worker rebellion,” Ron Herrera, president of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, told The Los Angeles Times.
Meanwhile, financial elites are eager for everyone else to resume powering the economy.