M.P.S. Students Research the Impact of Pandemic on Work and Worker Movements

The pandemic has created urgency and obstacles for new research on the world of work. In summer 2020, four M.P.S. students in Labor and Global Workers’ Rights stepped up to this challenge by writing capstone papers on the implications of the pandemic for work and worker movements.

 

M.P.S. Students Research the Impact of Pandemic on Work and Worker Movements 

The pandemic has created urgency and obstacles for new research on the world of work. In summer 2020, four M.P.S. students in Labor and Global Workers’ Rights stepped up to this challenge by writing capstone papers on the implications of the pandemic for work and worker movements.

Sergio Saravia’s capstone shed light on the puzzle of why Peru became one of the world’s hardest-hit COVID hotspots despite its rapid implementation of stay-at-home orders and border closings. Through case studies of nurses, market vendors, and domestic workers, he found deep-seated inequalities increased workers’ vulnerability to the pandemic’s health and economic impacts. Mikael Ruukel wrote a report for trade unions about how to push for occupational safety and health measures that will better prepare workplaces for future pandemics, a strategy he refers to as, “repairing the roof when the sun is shining.”  

Jafar Iqbal’s capstone analyzed potential labor movement responses to the pandemic in Bangladesh, where more than one million garment workers lost their jobs. He proposes strategies for grassroots organizing, direct action, and transnational solidarity. Luis Mendoza researched the history of the U.S. immigrant workers’ movements to suggest pathways forward in the face of a double crisis: the disproportionate impact of the pandemic and political attacks on immigrant rights. We are proud of the students for this timely and impactful research!