Opinion There's a time to work and a time to grieve. Mourning is its own kind of labor.
Forced labor makes a range of U.S. imports. But now officials are cracking down on it.
With the closing of an old loophole, the U.S. is blocking the import of millions of dollars worth of clothing and other goods made with "slave" labor.Although many of the goods listed Vietnam as their country of origin, Customs and Border Protection inspectors detained the goods because of "reasonable suspicion" that they were actually made with cotton harvested by forced labor in China's Xinjiang region, where more than 1 million Uyghurs are believed to be held in camps.
Eight unopened jars of olives sit on my kitchen shelf. They stare at me every morning as I settle in to work at my home office (my kitchen table), reminding me that my father didn’t live to finish his pandemic stockpile. After oatmeal, before work, I make time to cry.
Even with some employers postponing fall office returns over delta variant concerns, perhaps millions of American workers will carry complex grief to their in-person and remote workplaces. My grief has slid from the unfinished business of the pandemic to my father’s recent death from cancer. Like those untouched olives, I’ve barely digested my accumulated losses.
Are Doctors' Offices Open on Labor Day?
Are Doctors' offices open on Labor Day? The federal holiday falls on September 6 in 2021. The annual holiday causes many shops to close but what about medical services?As it is a federal holiday, many government offices are closed and some private businesses are also shut on Labor Day. This can include various stores as well as some medical facilities, such as doctors' offices.
Companies remain woefully unprepared to support workers mourning everything from our pre-pandemic way of life to lost wages, homes, relatives, friends and colleagues. Despite– including disturbed sleep and elevated cortisol, blood pressure and heart rate, weakened immune response and , the United States has .
Thein President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better Agenda would provide all workers with an overdue minimum standard. But increasing bereavement time closer to of paid leave, far beyond the (depending on the relation), could make good economic sense, considering that unaddressed grief costs our economy .
Biden marks Labor Day delivering sandwiches to union members
NEW CASTLE, Del. (AP) — President Joe Biden marked the Labor Day holiday on Monday by delivering deli sandwiches to union members, the people he says built the middle class. A casually dressed Biden stepped from his dark SUV holding boxes of sandwiches from Capriotti's, a restaurant chain founded in Wilmington, in his home state of Delaware, in 1976. Wearing Ray-Ban sun shades, Biden put the boxes on a table alongside other food at an event held by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 313 in New Castle, Delaware.
Creating inclusive workplaces requires addressing the grief of racial and ethnic minority workers mourning the pandemic’s disproportionate impact, systemic racism, police killings andin communities of color. Research documents how low-wage, essential workers and , which could ultimately compromise their health.
Organizations that fail to support grieving workers risk increased health care costs, decreased productivity, absenteeism, burnout and employee turnover whento look for a new job over the next year.
You can't outrun grief
Despite the difficult timing, my father’s death arrived at a “good time” for me. My entry into midlife coupled with the pandemic had already sparked growing resistance to measuring my self-worth against my productivity. Grief empowered me to slow the work treadmill and forced me to push back against America’s culture of overwork.
Juan Williams: Labor's surprising winning streak
OPINION: There are new signs of hope in the union movement.On this Labor Day 2021, let's apply Mark Twain's famous quip to America's labor unions.
Whenever I hesitate over taking extra rest or a break, I recall other traumas my family had no opportunity to process, such as my mother’s death when I was a teenager. We kept our heads down then, trying to keep our family afloat. We didn’t talk about it. I didn’t cry. I thought that by maintaining straight A’s in school and patching the chasm of Mom’s absence with new routines, I’d escaped unscathed. Wrong. I learned you can’t outrun grief, which has shadowed my family for 25 years.
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Despite growingand academia’s in addressing grief, in my position as a professor on a health sciences campus, I enjoy enormous freedom to structure my schedule and the protection of remote work. I have time to grieve now, and I’m using it. I’m more exhausted three months on from Dad’s death than in the days following when I still ran on the adrenaline required to care for a loved one dying at home. Everything takes longer these days.
Biden seeks to build Democratic support among unions
President Biden escalated his engagement with labor unions this week in hopes of garnering more support with the pro-worker community that helped elect him into office."I intend to be the most pro-union president, leading the most pro-union administration in American history," Biden said during a forum on Wednesday, resurfacing a campaign pledge meant to sway scores of workers to support a Democratic administration. "I think one of the reasons"I intend to be the most pro-union president, leading the most pro-union administration in American history," Biden said during a forum on Wednesday, resurfacing a campaign pledge meant to sway scores of workers to support a Democratic administration.
Sleep, food and times off the clock
I have close-to-home reminders of my uncommon privileges. My sister who helped me care for our dying father lost her job weeks later without warning. Her boss used the soft language of office “restructuring,” helped by a woman whose job is to facilitate Zoom firings. Now unemployed, my sister finally has time to grieve. She booked a trip to Greece, where my father worked on ships before coming to this country. She says she feels close to Dad by the water.
Throughout my summer of mourning, Spanish-speaking men like my father have worked on suspended platforms outside my kitchen window, repairing the building’s facade. Dad held similar jobs when he immigrated to New York from Chile and found himself painting window frames on a high-rise building, with no experience or training but for his boss’ advice: Don’t look down. As we exchange glimpses, I imagine they must wonder what a spoiled life I lead, as a woman who can spend all day in her bathrobe staring at a laptop. When do they have time to grieve their losses when they must summon every ounce of energy to stay aloft?
My father’s working-class wisdom carries me through my lowest days. I hear his voice, as always, urging sleep, food and good times off the clock. I’m catching up on the movies I should’ve watched in lockdown, including my father’s favorites we enjoyed together in his dying days:, " ," " ." Time allows me to savor the peculiar sweetness of grief, as I stumble upon memories in every household drawer and around every corner in New York City.
N. Macedonia: 12 patients among 14 dead in COVID unit blaze
SKOPJE, North Macedonia (AP) — Forensic experts have identified the 14 victims of a fire in a COVID-19 field hospital in North Macedonia as 12 patients and two visiting relatives, authorities said Friday. The fire broke out late Wednesday in the western town of Tetovo, destroying the facility within a few minutes. Twelve people were also injured. The blaze is believed to have started by accident, although an investigation is still under way. Witnesses and officials have said an explosion preceded the fire.
Among my mourning tasks, I’ve finished the raspberry preserves Dad suddenly hated when his taste buds changed. I’ve worked through his pandemic provisions and the bland food of his dying: pudding, yogurt, apple sauce. I’ll tackle Dad’s olives when I feel ready. There’s no rush. For now they sit uneaten, reminders of my longest year.
, a member of USA TODAY's Board of Contributors, is an assistant professor of sociology in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at University of California, San Francisco.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY:
End of Trumka era has some unions looking for a new direction .
Trumka's passing presents the AFL-CIO’s 56 affiliate unions with the first real opportunity in more than a decade to change the direction of the powerful national organization when it chooses a permanent successor for Trumka next year. Organized labor appears to have the best odds in recent history to expand federal labor law with self-described “union man” President Joe Biden in the White House and a Democratic majority in Congress, albeit a razor-thin one.