Small Acts of Kindness Bring a Bright Spot During the Coronavirus
As the news cycle and overall global mindset has been focused on disease and death, stories of hope and community have popped up across the nation. Michael E. Ruane recaps some recent stories near Washington, D.C. in a recent piece for The Washington Post. In Maryland, local teachers have taken to forming a mini-car parade, where they drive through the neighborhoods of their students, smiling and waving at them from afar. “It had us … a little choked up too to see how happy our children were,” one parent tells the Post. “It was such a bright spot in an otherwise difficult time,” she said. At Children’s National Hospital in D.C., volunteer Kitson Jazynka is recording herself reading children’s books, and sending them to young patients who cannot leave the hospital or receive many visitors. In Mt. Rainier, Maryland, one resident performs daily cello concerts from her front porch for her neighbors to hear. “People who are in any kind of extreme need, music is normally quite a big help,” Jodi Beder says. “My purpose is to connect to other porches and backyards and people on the street, some of whom I know and some of whom I don’t.”
Instacart Gig Workers to Stage Walk Out
In a recentSpotlight Analysis, PRRI’s Brianna Tucker looked at the pitfalls facing workers in the gig economy as the need for their services rise amid the coronavirus. “Gig economy jobs have often been touted as a flexible, on-demand work opportunity for workers, but the outbreak of the new coronavirus (COVID-19) has highlighted the downfalls of this type of work. While there’s a growing consensus from Americans that the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to stay home and avoid public spaces — especially if they feel sick or have suspected symptoms many gig economy workers aren’t afforded that luxury, and must continue to working and interacting with others to provide for their welfare and pay their bills,” Tucker writes. Workers from Instacart, a grocery delivery service, plan on expressing their anger over these current working conditions by staging a walk out next week. Vanessa Bain, an Instacart employee and walk out organizer, spoke of the disparity between those on the ground, and those in the corporate office to Vice. “While Instacart’s corporate employees are working from home, Instacart’s [gig workers] are working on the frontlines in the capacity of first responders,” Bain explains. “Instacart’s corporate employees are provided with health insurance, life insurance, and paid time off and [are] also eligible for sick pay and paid family leave. By contrast its [gig workers], who are putting their lives on the line to maintain daily operations are afforded none of these protections. Without [us], Instacart will grind to a halt. We deserve and demand better.” PRRI data from California, where Bain works, shows that in 2018 11% of Californians reported participating in the gig economy in the last year. In the findings, workers who are struggling with poverty are about twice as likely as workers who are not struggling to report participating in the gig economy in the last year (17% vs. 9%). Of those who work the gig economy, 48% are struggling with poverty. In the first weeks of the coronavirus outbreak, Instacart has refused to offer its drivers increased compensation for the increased demand for their services, sanitizer for their cars, or paid time off for workers who are immunocompromised and susceptible to the virus.