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Mon Aug 10, 2020, 06:34 PM

Do-It-Yourself Contact Tracing for 1.3 Million: A Union Jumps In

The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union is stepping in where the government has failed, running its own coronavirus contact-tracing program for 1.3 million members.

Since the Covid-19 outbreak hit, the union has sent agents into grocery stores, meatpacking plants and food-processing facilities. They talk to workers and comb work schedules to figure out who might have been exposed. Then, they notify the employer’s human resources department and direct workers to free testing sites, some provided by the union.

The program fills a void left by the Trump administration, which has failed to create a national test-and-trace regimen -- and is an active advertisement for a labor movement that’s been waning for decades. Local health departments, which usually perform the function, have been overwhelmed by a disease that has sickened more than 4.8 million Americans and killed more than 158,000. And in any event, testing delays make contact tracing impractical in many areas.

In such disarray, workers must fend for themselves, said Marc Perrone, international president of the union.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-08-10/with-official-systems-swamped-union-gets-into-contact-tracing?

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