Made to Fail
Chapter Eight: Busted in Wisconsin
When COVID-19 began to burn across America, the hospitals of Madison, Wisconsin weren’t ready. They weren’t ready to meet the needs of the patients -- collapsing in the emergency room, dying while awaiting ventilation -- but they also weren’t ready to meet the needs of the doctors. And the nurses. And the custodial staff.
The front line workers who were forced to wear the same dirty masks, shift after shift, as more and more COVID-19 patients poured through the doors, gasping for care.
It didn’t have to be this way, and it might not have been, if Wisconsin’s once-mighty unions still held the power to organize and fight for the rights of essential workers. But years ago, the state’s conservative politicians deliberately dismantled organized labor. So when crisis came to the Badger state, workers had no one looking out for them.
And then they began to get sick.
This country’s employment infrastructure was made to fail -- but failure doesn’t have to be the ultimate fate of American workers. Because unions made this country strong -- and in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we need them to make the country strong again.