There has been no event in living memory that has exposed the true nature of the US medical industry than the COVID 19 pandemic. From the corporate decision-making model to the lack of preparation to the executive indifference to unsafe working conditions and the basic functions of health care itself, COVID 19 has shown us a health care industry that is so divorced from its alleged mission that it compelled a collapse of the US economy itself. 


Few are talking about this systemic failure and its implications for frontline workers and entire communities. No one except the corporate layer of health care disputes the fact that a deadly and contagious pandemic was imminent and that this would overrun the US health care system. Models and warnings of this were commonplace for over 15 years. What is missing from the debate, however, is the fact that surplus ventilators and PPE do not make profit for the owners of health care and this is why they did not exist when COVID 19 hit the United States. 


The response from CEOs and politicians is to deny the severity of the problem and send frontline workers across into workplaces that are inherently unsafe and even fatal. This is to prolong the profit stream which is based upon the exploitation of our labor in every sense. 


But there is another fact conversation missing from the promoted national conversation. In the course of the pandemic, frontline workers have been shown that our labor is the single most critical element in keeping capitalism alive. If we collectively refuse to work, the CEOs, government, and the wealthy have no recourse at all. In other words, we are far more powerful than anyone is letting us know. 


It is this lesson that we have to recognize, organize around, and act upon. It can change the fundamentals not only of our power as frontline healthcare workers, but can inform a 21st century labor movement that unites workers across the economy. 

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Cliff addressing press at MNA COVID 19 press conference, March 19, 2020