Front-Line Workers Use Online Tools And Public Shaming To Fight For Fairer Workplace : NPR

Front-line workers at grocery and retail stores have been flocking to a nonprofit site,, to make demands such as better pay and better schedules — with a fair degree of success.


The tools of the Internet and a bit of public embarrassment can go a long way in drawing attention to a cause. Front-line workers at grocery and retail stores have used them effectively during the pandemic. Most of those workers aren’t unionized, so they’ve been flocking to a nonprofit website to fight for a fair workplace. NPR’s Reflect America fellow Ashish Valentine has more.

ASHISH VALENTINE, BYLINE: Takaya Elzey (ph) works at a New Seasons organic grocery store in Portland, Ore. When the coronavirus pandemic hit back in March, employees petitioned New Seasons for better wages. They did it on a website called, and it worked. They got thank-you pay for coming back to

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How U.S. Soccer turned jerseys into masks for frontline workers

Deep in the bowels of the 19th century Chicago mansion that serves as the headquarters for the United States Soccer Federation, several hundred decades-old U.S. national team jerseys hung on storage racks, gathering dust.

Some of them had been worn in games by the biggest stars in modern men’s and women’s national team history. But even after a December 2019 purge during which the USSF sent many to the former players whose last names were emblazoned on the shirts, much of the inventory remained. Three months later, the coronavirus pandemic hit, and with it a shortage of personal protective equipment for frontline workers. An idea was born: maybe the old jerseys could be turned into functional, virus-mitigating face masks.

Led by its chief medical officer Dr. George Chiampas, U.S. Soccer had already started working on a number of COVID-19-related initiatives. Now, federation staffers found themselves lurking on Etsy, an online

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This Company Just Made N95 Masks Available to the Public, But at What Cost to Frontline Workers?

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The pitch came in like any other pitch I get: “Our client has a product that I think you’d be interested in.” But this wasn’t an email about a new TV or bottle of tequila or deodorant spray for your balls (yes, that’s a thing). Instead, it was a company offering N95 respirator masks for sale to the general public — the same N95 masks hospitals have reported a shortage of, as doctors and frontline workers continue to treat patients affected by the COVID-19 outbreak across the country.

Though the FDA has approved the use of these masks as personal protective equipment (PPE), the agency has, until now, recommended that N95 masks be reserved for healthcare professionals — in accordance with the latest CDC guidelines. The CDC suggests cloth face coverings for everyone else.

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