San Francisco Giants concessions workers deserve safety from COVID-19 infection, not inadequate hazard pay!

As the Socialist Equality Party candidate for governor of California, I support the San Francisco Giants concessions workers who voted on Saturday by more than 96 percent to strike against unsafe conditions and the impending loss of health care. No workers should have to risk their lives and health to do non-essential work during a pandemic.

The SEP rejects the lie, promoted by Democrats, Republicans, and trade unions alike, that the pandemic is all but over, at least for vaccinated people, and that life can return to normal despite surging case rates and hospitalizations. Governor Gavin Newsom points to the catastrophes in Florida and the South to argue that he is keeping California safe from those, like Republican candidate Larry Elder, who oppose the most minimal mitigation measures.

In fact, Newsom and the Democrats’ policy of opening schools, sporting events, and non-essential workplaces is already leading to a similar disaster here in California.

The UNITE HERE union is preparing to reach a rotten agreement with Bon Appétit, the San Francisco Giants’ food service contractor, based on keeping the stadiums open. Workers absolutely deserve hazard pay and full health care, but the essential issue is the catastrophic conditions created by the ruling class’s response to the pandemic.

Workers should not have to endanger their health and lives, and the lives of their families, with or without an extra $3 per hour in hazard pay. I condemn the UNITE HERE union for ordering its members to work for the Dodgers–Giants game yesterday, even after they voted to strike!

Since games began in April of this year, over 20 concessions workers already have confirmed COVID-19 cases from working indoors with crowds of often unmasked spectators. Even if all workers and spectators wear masks and are vaccinated, if Oracle Park stays open most of the hundreds of concessions workers are likely to get COVID-19 and bring it home to their families.

The SEP opposes the lie that workers must “learn to live with the virus.” As was illustrated in a recent panel discussion with public health experts, hosted by the World Socialist Web Site, a scientifically grounded combination of serious public health measures can eradicate this virus.

To do that, we need to close schools and non-essential businesses, such as sports stadiums, with full pay for all workers, whether or not they can work remotely. This, combined with a successful vaccination campaign, physical distancing, and masking, could bring transmission to nearly zero in as little as two months.

To any who say “there is no money” to fund a serious lockdown with full wages and health care for all, California is home to some of the world’s wealthiest billionaires. Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, and Larry Ellison collectively saw their wealth grow by over $300 billion during the pandemic.

This task cannot be completed in California alone, which is why the SEP and its sister parties in the International Committee of the Fourth International are fighting for the same approach across the world to completely eradicate COVID-19.

Giants concessions workers: You have powerful allies! Resident assistants at Stanford University are on indefinite strike against unsafe COVID-19 conditions on campus. There is a growing movement of teachers and educators against the unsafe reopening of schools. Nurses and health care workers are once again facing a disastrous situation produced by the uncontrolled spread of the pandemic.

This is part of a broader movement of the working class. Workers at auto parts manufacturer Dana have formed a rank-and-file committee, which just overwhelmingly voted down a pro-company, union-backed contract that would continue to force them to work up to 80 hours in a week.

The fight against the pandemic requires the intervention of the working class. This means the development of a network of rank-and-file committees in every section of the working class, independent of the unions, which have worked throughout the pandemic to enforce the policy of the ruling class and both its political parties.

I am calling for a “no” vote on the recall of Newsom because the recall campaign is driven by right-wing forces that want to end even the most minimal restrictions on the spread of the pandemic. But absolutely no support can be given to Newsom and the Democrats, who, with the assistance of the unions, are implementing a policy that will guarantee mass infection and death.

Vote for me, David Moore, in the California gubernatorial recall election! Build rank-and-file committees to develop a powerful counteroffensive in the entire working class against inequality, exploitation, and death! Join the Socialist Equality Party and take up this fight!

For more information on the campaign of David Moore for governor, visit socialism2021.org.