Inequality and the social crisis

As US cruise industry delays operations until November, thousands of seafarers remain stranded

By Tom Casey, 11 August 2020

Some 12,000 seafarers remain stranded in US waters five months after the shutdown of the cruise line industry due to coronavirus.

Trump executive orders set stage for tens of millions of evictions

By Jacob Crosse, 10 August 2020

An analysis released Friday by the Aspen Institute estimates that between 28,900,000 and 39,900,000 tenants in the US are at risk of eviction by the end of the year.

Caleb Reed, a youth activist in Chicago, falls victim to gun violence

By Brian Green, 10 August 2020

Most recently Reed opposed Democratic Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s budget that starves schools of resources while flooding the Police Department with billions of dollars.

As July report shows no let-up in mass joblessness

White House, Congress combine to cut off supplemental unemployment benefits

By Jacob Crosse, 8 August 2020

Driven by social interests irreconcilably opposed to those of the working class, congressional leaders from both parties adjourned Friday without restoring jobless pay.

As Senate adjourns for weekend

New US unemployment claims top 1 million for 20th straight week

By Jacob Crosse, 7 August 2020

Indifferent to the plight of millions of jobless workers and their families, senators from both parties adjourned Thursday with no agreement on extending expired unemployment benefits.

“A nationwide strike is what needs to be done”

Angry educators and parents across the US protest the reckless return to classrooms

By Nancy Hanover, 7 August 2020

From Florida to California, teachers and parents are caravanning, protesting and petitioning against a reckless return to school as demanded by Wall Street and the entire political establishment.

West Palm Beach, Florida seniors face eviction from low income housing

By Matthew Taylor, 7 August 2020

The St. Andrews Residence has been in disrepair for years leading many residents to believe the owners have deliberately neglected their health and safety in order to facilitate a sale of the million-dollar waterfront property.

As negotiations stall on federal coronavirus relief bill

Florida governor admits state unemployment system purposefully designed to pay out “least number of claims”

By Jacob Crosse, 6 August 2020

Republican governor Ron DeSantis had previously claimed nearly all applicants had been paid and blamed jobless workers for incorrectly filling out forms.

House Speaker Pelosi signals readiness to cut unemployment benefits

By Jacob Crosse, 5 August 2020

Congress continues to quibble over a new bill as the crisis deepens for millions of workers and their families.

Anger grows across the US as closed-door talks continue on expired unemployment relief

By Jacob Crosse, 4 August 2020

Millions of American workers don’t know how they’ll pay rent or where their next meal will come from.

Congress of millionaires robs the unemployed

By Patrick Martin, 3 August 2020

Allowing federal supplemental benefits to expire for 30 million jobless workers shows the class character of both the Democratic and Republican parties.

As stock indexes continue their climb

US unemployment supplement expires, setting the stage for mass hunger and homelessness

By Barry Grey, 1 August 2020

The congressional stalemate over an extension of the unemployment pay supplement, which is certain to result in the total elimination or a major cut in the benefit, is a declaration of war against the entire working population.

Congress prepares to scrap $600 weekly unemployment payment

By Kevin Reed, 29 July 2020

The expiration of the enhanced federal unemployment benefit this week will drive millions of working class people across the US into desperate financial circumstances.

British grandmother dies weighing just 42 pounds after her benefits are withdrawn

By Dennis Moore, 29 July 2020

The benefit system has evolved from its post-war ethos as a “safety net” to one based on punishing the sick and disabled and coercing the unemployed into low-paid work.

Trump, Republicans demand $400-a-week cut for the unemployed

By Patrick Martin, 28 July 2020

The savage class war proposal is the start of “negotiations” with the Democrats in which the outcome is already assured: a severe reduction in working class living standards in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Toronto tenants protest against looming evictions amid COVID-19 crisis

By Carl Bronski, 28 July 2020

The demonstrators demanded that Toronto’s mayor use his municipal emergency health and safety powers to block evictions, and denounce the Ontario government’s recently passed pro-landlord Bill 184.

UK manufacturers warn of “jobs bloodbath”

By Paul Bond, 24 July 2020

More than half of manufacturing companies said they will make redundancies in the next six months, with a further 20.1 percent saying they might.

Huge Australian budget deficits mean intensified assault on workers

By Mike Head, 24 July 2020

Governments and the corporate elite have begun extracting the cost from the working class, via cuts to jobs, pay and working conditions as well as social spending.

Trump, Congress condemn unemployed to starve

By Patrick Martin, 24 July 2020

The Democrats and Republicans are allowing the $600-a-week federal unemployment compensation supplement to expire, cutting off a lifeline for millions of jobless workers.

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos adds record $13 billion to net worth in a single day

By Jacob Crosse, 24 July 2020

US billionaires continue to profit fabulously off the pandemic while millions face hunger, eviction, and joblessness.

Bodies of two workers still entombed at collapsed Hard Rock Hotel in New Orleans nearly one year later

By Aaron Murch, 23 July 2020

Ten months after the partial collapse of the Hard Rock hotel construction site collapse recovery, efforts are finally under way to retrieve the bodies of two workers still buried beneath the rubble.

Death of 14-year-old on the job highlights growth of child labor in Canada

By Frédéric Charlebois, 23 July 2020

Young workers represent more than 50 percent of the workforce at some large corporations such as McDonald’s and Tim Hortons.

COVID-19 cases reach 15 million worldwide with 4 million in the US alone

By Benjamin Mateus, 22 July 2020

The United States is in the unique position of being the only developed nation to face such a disastrous and expanding outbreak.

Australian government slashes pandemic payments to workers after suspending parliament

By Mike Head, 22 July 2020

The blatant purpose of the cuts is to give workers no choice but to go back into unsafe workplaces regardless of the rising danger of COVID-19 infection.

Report exposes crisis in American university health care systems as coronavirus cases skyrocket

By Joe Williams, 22 July 2020

The response of university administrators over the poor state of health care on college campuses is to seek immunity from any legal accountability.

Democrats, Republicans prepare to slash workers’ unemployment supplement

By Shannon Jones, 21 July 2020

Congressional Democrats and Republicans are preparing to slash or eliminate the $600 weekly unemployment supplement that has been a lifeline for millions of workers laid off during the pandemic.

Millions in the US face disaster as $600 federal unemployment aid set to end this week

By Jacob Crosse, 20 July 2020

The extended weekly payment has been the target of venomous attacks by big business as a “disincentive” to work and is unlikely to be reinstated by Congress in its current form.

University of Akron announces plan to eliminate 178 professors, staff and contract professionals

By Isaac Finn, 20 July 2020

Last week, the University of Akron’s Board of Trustees unanimously voted in favor of eliminating positions from the university.

Workers disproportionately affected by coronavirus pandemic in Germany

By Marianne Arens, 20 July 2020

The disease particularly affects workers who do not have the opportunity to remain at home and maintain social distancing.

Driver plunges bus into a Chinese reservoir, killing 21

By Lily Zhao, 20 July 2020

The tragedy is a product of the social crisis confronting millions of workers throughout the country.

Australian bushfire victims still suffering six months on

By Cheryl Crisp, 20 July 2020

Hundreds of people who lost their homes are living in tents, caravans or shipping containers in what is now the dead of winter.

Michigan teen sent to juvenile detention for failing to do her homework

By Will McCalliss and Nancy Hanover, 18 July 2020

Amid the chaotic transition to online learning during the pandemic, a teenage girl has been taken into criminal custody for “failure to submit any schoolwork.”

Nearly 650,000 jobs lost in UK during pandemic, with much worse to come

By Robert Stevens, 18 July 2020

The collapse in the number of workers in employment takes place along with a drastic fall in hours for those remaining in a job, and a fall in wages.

Destruction of full-time jobs intensifies in Australia

By Mike Head, 18 July 2020

Governments and employers are working with the trade unions to exploit the COVID-19 catastrophe to accelerate the casualisation of the workforce.

Millions of Americans are losing health insurance as joblessness skyrockets

By Alex Johnson, 17 July 2020

The pandemic has left approximately 5.4 million American workers uninsured between February and May, according to an analysis by the Families USA consumer advocacy group.

First-time jobless claims in US top 1 million for 17th straight week

By Jessica Goldstein, 17 July 2020

The number of new official jobless claims demonstrate a state of deep economic crisis for US capitalism.

Real economy plunges but financial profits surge

By Nick Beams, 16 July 2020

Major US banks are raking in billions of dollars through speculative operations financed by the massive intervention of the Fed into all corners of the financial markets.

Markets soar as the corpses pile up

By Andre Damon, 16 July 2020

The massive run-up in stock prices has only one explanation: The capitalist state has put at the disposal of its masters in the financial oligarchy unlimited amounts of money.

UNICEF report: COVID-19 exacerbating hunger and other maladies facing South Asia’s children

By Naveen Dewage, 15 July 2020

According to the UNICEF report, close to 1 million more South Asian children could die in the coming year due to lack of access to food, vaccines, and timely medical care.

USDA food box program fails to deliver significant share of much needed aid

By Alex Findijs, 15 July 2020

The USDA promised to deliver $1.2 billion in food to families in need, but has delivered less than two-thirds of this amount so far.

Pandemic and Tory government measures having brutal impact on London’s disadvantaged young people

By Harvey Thompson and Charlotte Salthill, 14 July 2020

The report notes, “Families who were already enduring hard, challenging lives have had to survive lockdown in the most appalling circumstances.”

Puerto Rico declares emergency as drought leaves nearly 150,000 residents without water

By Julio Patron, 13 July 2020

A lack of consistent running water will make it more difficult for frequent handwashing to limit the spread of the coronavirus which has already infected thousands on the island.

Chancellor Sunak announces end of UK jobs furlough and rolls out cheap labour scheme

By Robert Stevens, 10 July 2020

Sunak’s declaration that “we can’t protect every job” is the understatement of the century. Companies are announcing thousands of redundancies every day amid warnings of unemployment reaching 5 million by next year.

As it charts depths of economic crisis

OECD pushes for cuts in assistance for jobless

By Nick Beams, 9 July 2020

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development says that up to 10 times fewer hours have been worked in some countries as compared with the first months of the 2008 financial crisis.

Melbourne public housing residents condemn Australian police lockdown

By Martin Scott and Oscar Grenfell, 9 July 2020

“Instead of nurses, doctors and social workers, they send us the police, which gives the wrong message among the community.”

UK: Coronavirus exposes Leicester’s sweatshops and government hypocrisy

By Thomas Scripps, 8 July 2020

Government ministers have struck a pose of outrage at a situation they have ignored for years and want to replicate across the country.

As cutoff of $600 weekly benefit and wave of evictions loom, Congress takes a holiday

By Shannon Jones, 7 July 2020

The $600 weekly federal supplement to unemployment benefits is set to expire July 25, while moratoriums on evictions have already expired in 20 states.

Illinois and Chicago offer paltry COVID-19 assistance program to residents

By Brian Green, 7 July 2020

As unemployment skyrockets, Illinois governor J.B. Pritzker and Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot push a return to work and COVID-19 relief programs too small to address desperately needed assistance among workers.

Millions in the US face catastrophe as federal unemployment relief set to expire amid surging pandemic

By Kevin Reed, 4 July 2020

The combined economic impact of the raging pandemic and the imminent cutoff of $600 weekly federal assistance is leading to a social catastrophe for millions across the US.

As pandemic spread accelerates

Wall Street celebrates biggest quarterly surge in more than 20 years

By Nick Beams, 2 July 2020

In the course of less than three months, the actions of the Fed—its reduction of interest rates to zero and purchases of debt across the board, including junk bonds—have put $7.1 trillion into the hands of stock investors and speculators.

“It’s eugenics by the back door”

UK disability campaigner Doug Paulley speaks on coronavirus pandemic

By Alice Summers, 30 June 2020

Doug has recently been involved in legal action opposing the use of “scoring” systems to deny ventilator treatment to the sick, disabled and elderly.

The poor in Germany have a higher risk of falling sick from COVID-19

By Elisabeth Zimmermann, 30 June 2020

The poorest people in Germany, including the long-term unemployed and recipients of Hartz IV social welfare, have an 84 percent higher risk of becoming seriously ill with COVID-19 and requiring hospitalization.

New report exposes staggering level of social inequality in Canada

By Louis Girard, 30 June 2020

Revealing the oligarchic character of Canadian society, the report found that the top one percent of Canadians own as much as the poorest 80 percent of the population.

Worker opposition grows as coronavirus spirals out of control

By Andre Damon, 30 June 2020

Six months after the world first learned of COVID-19, workers across the globe are going on strike to demand measures to stop the rampant spread of the disease.

New York City officials accused of undercounting and mismanagement after dozens of homeless COVID-19 deaths reported

By Sam Dalton, 27 June 2020

A new report gives an insight into the consequences of the city authorities’ malign neglect as the virus spread amongst the homeless in the center of global finance.

Another 1.5 million US workers file for jobless benefits

By Jerry White, 26 June 2020

The US Labor Department recorded a record fourteenth week in a row in which the number applying for unemployment aid topped one million.

General Motors lays off 680 workers and eliminates third shift at its Spring Hill, Tennessee plant

By Zac Thorton, 26 June 2020

The company has filed a 60-day notice of mass layoffs as sales decline due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Australian unions support Queensland Labor government’s public sector wage freeze

By Gary Alvernia, 26 June 2020

The pay “deferral” sets a new precedent for exploiting the COVID-19 emergency to intensify the ongoing corporate and government attack on the living and working conditions of workers.

Joblessness reaches Great Depression levels in Australia

By Mike Head, 20 June 2020

The rate of youth unemployment and underemployment would be a staggering 48 percent if everyone who had lost their job was counted.

Nearly 24,000 Ohioans told to return unemployment payments

By Isaac Finn, 16 June 2020

State authorities demanded that thousands of workers give back “overpaid benefits” they have received since the start of the economic crisis sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This government has decided that disabled people are better off dead”

UK disability campaigners speak out on coronavirus pandemic

By Alice Summers, 16 June 2020

The WSWS spoke to disability rights campaigners last weekend about the impact of coronavirus pandemic and the Johnson government’s “herd immunity” policy on the lives of disabled people.

White House demands end to $600 per week emergency unemployment pay

By Andre Damon, 16 June 2020

The Trump administration’s plan to cut unemployment assistance in July is a naked ploy to force workers back into factories that are hotbeds of COVID-19.

Detroit literacy case ends with no legal precedent for the right to an education

By J. Cooper, 15 June 2020

The US Sixth District Court of Appeals allowed the settlement of the “right to read” case in Detroit to stand while vacating the legal precedent.

Three years since the Grenfell fire: Collaboration with Grenfell Tower Inquiry must end!

By Robert Stevens, 15 June 2020

Hundreds of thousands of people still go to bed every night in unsafe buildings, with thousands in the “high-risk” category.

Classical musicians face unprecedented challenges amid COVID-19 pandemic

By Fred Mazelis, 15 June 2020

The New York Philharmonic and other orchestras are canceling performances for the rest of this year.

The paradox of the Wall Street surge

By Nick Beams, 10 June 2020

The rise of the market, taking place in the midst of the greatest health crisis in a century, stands in stark contrast to the underlying real economy.

Trump hails dubious May jobless report to boost stock market, back-to-work drive

By Shannon Jones, 6 June 2020

An unexpected decline in the unemployment rate in May is being used by the White House to declare the pandemic-fueled economic crisis over.

New US weekly unemployment claims near 2 million as foreclosures, hunger loom

By Shannon Jones, 5 June 2020

The economic meltdown triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic is evolving into a deep and long economic slump.

Australia: NSW government pushes public sector wage freeze

By Martin Scott, 5 June 2020

The government is now asking the Industrial Relations Commission to deny nurses, teachers, paramedics, and other essential workers a promised 2.5 percent wage increase.

Tennessee government to stop sharing information on known COVID-19 infections

By Warren Duzak, 2 June 2020

The Republican governor Bill Lee’s decision will place first responders such as paramedics, police and social workers at risk of catching the deadly infection.

Australia’s richest “Top 20” soar further in wealth during pandemic

By Mike Head, 2 June 2020

The results illustrate the immense concentration of wealth since governments bailed out the financial elite after the 2008–09 economic breakdown.

After ignoring migrant workers’ plight, the Indian Supreme Court now acknowledges unfolding social tragedy

By Wasantha Rupasinghe, 30 May 2020

The court’s intervention reflects concerns fear by India’s legal authorities that mounting mass anger will erupt against the entire capitalist elite and its state.

“When push comes to shove to make cuts, education is on the cut list.”

Massachusetts school district gets rid of art, music and PE teachers for coming school year

By Will McCalliss, 30 May 2020

The drastic cuts at Randolph and Brookline schools are a foretaste of what will befall many districts, teachers and students across the US.

Trinity Health to terminate psychiatric beds in Massachusetts in midst of pandemic

By Ben Oliver, 30 May 2020

If approved by the state, the closure will eliminate 74 beds for adults, the elderly, and children, along with 202 jobs.

Pandemic intensifies social crisis in New Zealand

By Tom Peters, 30 May 2020

More than a third of the population is in financial difficulty, as the Ardern Labour Party-led coalition government presides over tens of thousands of job cuts.

New York governor exempts nursing home operators from criminal liability after taking millions from the industry

By Philip Guelpa, 29 May 2020

Governor Andrew Cuomo took millions in donations from hospital and nursing home executives and then protected them from responsibility for deadly criminal actions regarding COVID-19.

Child poverty and hunger set to spike in Puerto Rico

By Alberto Escalera, 29 May 2020

Even before the pandemic, the island was reeling from a decade-long economic recession, chronically low labor force participation rates and a public debt crisis that served as a pretext for years of severe austerity policies.

UK: students charged rent, threatened with eviction during coronavirus pandemic

By Peter Reydt and Laura Tiernan, 28 May 2020

Eighty percent of students are worried about how they will cope financially. Even before the pandemic, soaring rents were creating social distress.

Hundreds of thousands of Americans face homelessness during pandemic as states begin lifting restrictions on evictions

By Trévon Austin, 26 May 2020

Across the US, moratoriums on eviction proceedings and home foreclosures, set in place during the onset of the pandemic, have either been lifted or are set to expire early next month.

The global pandemic and global war on immigrants and refugees

By Bill Van Auken, 26 May 2020

As with attacks on the working class as a whole and the drive to war, capitalist ruling classes the world over have responded to the pandemic by intensifying the brutal assault on migrant workers.

US juvenile detention centers record 474 COVID-19 cases

By Sam Dalton, 25 May 2020

As more information about COVID-19’s effects on minors emerges, the virus’s unchecked spread in the juvenile prison population is leading to deadly consequences.

UK local councils face financial collapse due to pandemic

By Dennis Moore, 23 May 2020

Social care spending could face a shortfall of £3.5 billion, placing up to 225,000 adult social care places at risk in the coming year.

Central Michigan residents speak on dam failures that sparked historic flooding

By Luke Galvin, 23 May 2020

The flooding has displaced over 10,000 residents and washed out multiple bridges and roads, forcing many to gather at emergency shelters.

The US opioid crisis in the era of COVID-19

By Katy Kinner, 23 May 2020

According to a report from the American Medical Association, over 20 states have reported an increase in opioid-related mortality since the official declaration of the pandemic.

Wealth of US billionaires soars as pandemic expands, nearly 40 million unemployed

By Niles Niemuth, 23 May 2020

The class logic at play in the homicidal push to reopen the US economy before the spread of the coronavirus has been controlled is becoming increasingly clear.

US unemployment claims approach 40 million since March

By Niles Niemuth, 22 May 2020

According to some estimates, the real unemployment rate has already hit 22.5 percent, which is nearing levels reached during the depths of the Great Depression in 1933.

Chilean government violently represses demonstrations against hunger

By Mauricio Saavedra, 22 May 2020

The ultra-right government of Sebastian Piñera has responded to an outbreak of hunger protests across Chile with repression and mass arrests

The economic impact of the pandemic on young workers in Wayne County, Michigan

By Helen Halyard and Kevin Reed, 22 May 2020

The WSWS spoke with Karissa, 27, about her experiences over the past eight weeks since she and her fiancé lost their jobs when the coronavirus pandemic hit the Detroit area.

Australian unions back pay cuts for fast food workers

By Oscar Grenfell, 22 May 2020

The attack on some of the lowest-paid workers, on the pretext of the coronavirus pandemic, is a precedent for a broader pro-business restructuring.

Coronavirus infections surging in German refugee shelters

By Martin Kreickenbaum, 21 May 2020

The forced placement of refugees in large communal accommodation facilities exposes many people whose health is weakened to a deadly risk.

World Health Organisation warns pandemic could “turn the clock back” on other killer diseases in Africa

By Stephan McCoy, 21 May 2020

The WHO has predicted that some quarter of a billion Africans will become infected with COVID-19 and as many as 190,000 will die within the first year of the pandemic.

Almost no US prisoners have been released since the beginning of the pandemic

By Sam Dalton, 21 May 2020

Despite highly publicized executive orders, only a handful of inmates have been released from jails and prisons across the US even as 100,000 inmates are projected to die from COVID-19.

Australia: Twelve fast food outlets closed in Melbourne after coronavirus outbreak

By Martin Scott, 21 May 2020

Around 1,000 McDonald’s workers have been stood down, and hundreds are in self-isolation.

Sunday Times Rich Listers receive billions in UK government handouts

By Simon Whelan, 20 May 2020

The pandemic has exposed how those buccaneers of the “free market” are happy to claim government welfare.

Millions of Americans, including front-line workers’ families, face loss of employer-sponsored health insurance in pandemic

By Alex Johnson, 19 May 2020

The families of health care workers, first responders and other workers deemed essential who have died from COVID-19 now face the prospect of losing their health coverage due to the cut-off of their loved ones’ employer-sponsored insurance.

NHS management said elderly would “have to die” in care homes

By Robert Stevens and John Stryder, 19 May 2020

Official statistics show that around 10,000 people have died in the UK’s care homes, but the real figure is at least double that.

Brazilian police massacre 13 in brutal operation in Rio de Janeiro

By Tomas Castanheira, 19 May 2020

“Instead of sending doctors and nurses to protect the residents from COVID-19, the government sends police, armored vehicles and helicopters to kill us.”

Canada: Quebec government advocates hiring children to disinfect daycare centres amid coronavirus pandemic

By Laurent Lafrance, 19 May 2020

Faced with a shortage of childcare staff, Quebec’s CAQ government is advocating their replacement by teenagers as young as 14, thus threatening to expose them to the potentially lethal coronavirus.

Prices for basic foods soar in the US as pandemic disrupts supply chains

By Alex Findijs, 16 May 2020

Grocery prices in the country rose 2.6 percent in April, the largest increase in a single month since 1974.

Australian governments exploit mass unemployment to coerce workers into unsafe workplaces

By Mike Head, 16 May 2020

Nearly half a million workers dropped out of the workforce in April, yet unemployment and underemployment still reached a record total of 19.9 percent.