Raising their voices on behalf of loved ones serving on the frontlines, youth around the country are banding together via the #YourWorkersMyFamily Campaign. Throughout this week and beyond, this intergenerational movement — that includes labor activists, working people, concerned family members and the National Children’s Campaign (NCC) — is demanding universal hazard pay and required personal protection equipment (PPE) for all essential workers during the COVID-19 crisis.
“It’s unfortunate, but it just so happened that COVID-19 acted as our platform to amplify the voices of workers who have continuously faced mistreatment by the corporations who employ them,” Victory Nwabufo, the youth activist co-founder of the movement tells Parentology.
Fellow Co-founder, Youth Activist Yolian Ogbu tells Parentology #YourWorkersMyFamily is organizing in solidarity with workers taking part in the #CoronaStrike Coalition. Their specific mission: making the world aware essential workers aren’t merely labor, but “…humans, our parents, our families.”
“It often takes children and young people to bridge the political divide during these polarizing times,” Kimberly Gutzler, president and co-founder of the NCC says. She urges others to join their efforts. “America must come together to protect these frontline heroes.”
Due to the pandemic, #YourWorkersMyFamily is providing a platform where people can strike digitally.
Because It’s Personal
Nwabufo and Ogbu are 20-year-old Texans and juniors at the University of North Texas. Catching the young women’s attention was a wildcat strike – a strike action held by union workers that’s not backed by the union itself – held by Texas healthcare workers that met with great success. The duo mobilized to do their part. Especially as they have so much at stake.
“My mom is a nursing home worker caring for elderly and immunocompromised residents and my dad is a delivery truck driver,” Ogbu says.
As for Nwabufo, “My mom works in the medical field as a healthcare provider for children and adults with various disabilities.”
When COVID-19 first hit, their families immediately felt the impact. “Obviously, my mom wants to stay safe, as well as keep everyone in the household safe, but since she’s considered an essential worker, she risks her life every day to care for people who cannot care for themselves,” Nwabufo says. “Even though she is put in a vulnerable position every time she leaves the house, she has not been provided with the proper protection and pay that she deserves by her employers.”
Ogbu’s family faces the same scenario. “It’s scary knowing that they risk their lives every day in unsafe working conditions as well as not properly being compensated for it. It took my mom organizing a strike of her own with her coworkers to prove to her bosses that they deserve hazard pay and proper protection protocols.”
Throughout this week, #YourWorkersMyFamily will be carrying out myriad actions, including a tweet bombing campaign, as well as the sharing of stories of workers from the frontlines and their families.
One such story comes from Rich, a pharmacy supervisor in New Jersey. “I joined this coalition because it feels like my employer values making money more than it values me as a worker. They’re pushing promotions and coupons driving people into the store to buy non-essential items and putting my health at further risk.”
Rich states it plainly, “Is profit more important than my health?”
Getting Behind Frontline Heroes
On May 1, International Workers’ Day, they’ll join in other nationwide movements, including #CoronaStrike, #MayDay2020. The #YourWorkersMyFamily coalition invites others to join in their efforts via Twitter @YWMForg, Instagram @YourWorkersMyFamily and Facebook at Facebook Your Workers My Family.
Nwabufo says, “We want to make positive, lasting change for the people who have risked their lives to make our lives easier.”
Victory Nwabufo, co-founder #YourWorkersMyFamily
Yolian Ogbu, co-founder #YourWorkersMyFamily
Kimberly Gutzler, president and co-founder, National Children’s Campaign