Welcome to the Small Business Rundown. Each day, we bring you stories that impact small business owners and their workforce.
Small business News Highlights for March 31:
- Instacart, Whole Foods and Amazon workers planning to strike
- Music company in Pennsylvania files suit against governor over mandatory closure
- President Trump calls for $2 trillion for infrastructure upgrade
“We are walking out to protest the impossible choice of coming to work at a toxic workplace and possibly spreading the virus or going unpaid during an economic crisis.”
Workers at a number of major grocery and delivery companies are calling for strikes to protest unsafe working conditions and inadequate protection against coronavirus infection. Amazon warehouse employees at a Staten Island location walked off the job on Monday afternoon while over a hundred thousand Instacart contractors also went on strike on Monday over unsafe work conditions.
Workers cite growing concerns about contracting and spreading the disease, as well as a lack of paid time off for sick employees. In response to employee demands, Instacart has added 14 days of paid sick leave for workers who can prove that they contract COVID-19.
Similarly, front-line workers at Whole Foods planned to strike today, calling for paid leave for employees who must go into quarantine, as well as healthcare benefits for part-time and seasonal employees.
“It shocks the conscience, and is arbitrary and capricious, to allow employees — and the small businesses that employ them — to privately bear without compensation the cost of the COVID-19 closure orders, orders which were issued for the public purpose of slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus across Pennsylvania.”
A handbell manufacturing company in Pennsylvania has taken a different approach, however. The company, which manufactures orchestral handbells, has had to lay off 9 of its 20 workers. In response, the world’s largest handbell manufacturer has filed a class action suit against the governor of Pennsylvania, claiming their rights were violated.
“It should be VERY BIG & BOLD, Two Trillion Dollars, and be focused solely on jobs and rebuilding the once great infrastructure of our Country! Phase 4.”
After House Democrats began discussing the next phase of economic rescue legislation yesterday, President Trump declared his desire to see another $2 trillion invested in infrastructure projects and job creation. While the White House didn’t advance a specific plan for Phase 4, conversations with Republican lawmakers indicate that the money would go towards repairing and rebuilding the nation’s roads, bridges, tunnels, and ports. Some warn, however, that these projects might conflict with current stay-at-home orders and national priorities.