Cabin Fever: Hope on the Edge of Despair at YYZ

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A Socialist Project e-bulletin ... No. 2100 ... May 22, 2020

Cabin Fever: Hope on the Edge of Despair at YYZ

Sean Smith

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman infamously defended globalization with the comment, "No, most of our political elite has not realised that the world is flat." His beloved neoliberal globalization has indeed helped flatten our world as we are all reading this in some form of quarantine.

With lightning speed our lives came to a halt as COVID-19 arrived on planes from one country to another, making airline cabin crew and airport workers the first domestic workers exposed to its horrors. At Toronto’s Pearson Airport (YYZ), we have already lost 13 co-workers, all precarious workers, with hundreds of other confirmed contacts and infections.

Unbelievably, Canada’s Public Health Agency (PHAC) refuses to even report the total numbers of confirmed cases and deaths to protect the "privacy" of the affected corporations and its employees (no worker in history has ever demanded their co-workers not know about unsafe work). For weeks bureaucrats calmly assured us that all was under control, denying all work refusals,... until posters of fundraising appeals for children of the deceased started silently appearing in our lunchrooms.

When directly confronted PHAC dismissively stated that co-workers’ deaths are a "labour" issue for us to take up with our bosses, as their mandate is for the health of the travelling public only. To paraphrase Marie Antoinette, ‘Let the dead file a grievance’.

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