Sunday, January 23, 2022

Back To Work, Serfs

The only solution to problems like this can't be, "make the precarity of existence worse so that people are forced into these jobs."

As the omicron variant of the coronavirus drives record staff shortages at nursing homes nationwide, Francis has increasingly found herself alone on her 12-hour overnight shifts at Bridgepoint Healthcare’s skilled nursing facility in Southwest Washington, fighting off panic attacks as she tries to feed, clean and rotate more bed-bound residents than she can handle. Some nights, she retreats to a corner of the facility, where she calls her partner and sobs. Other nights, all she can feel is anger.

“I’ve never, ever felt this disrespected,” Francis said.

Frustration is surging among the low-wage workers who make up the backbone of the nursing home industry, as tens of thousands of their colleagues call out sick with covid-19, inflaming shortages that already were at crisis levels. Hailed as “heroes” during the early months of the pandemic, these workers, most of whom are women and people of color, say they’re facing untenable levels of pressure.

I know our system is bad, two senators are horrible, and the president doesn't have a magic wand. But I also *know*, because the most ghoulish people in government love to give anonymous quotes to the press explaining how the they are fucking smart and the hippies are wrong about everything, that there is absolutely no interest in even thinking about problems like this in a constructive fashion.