His Name is George Floyd 2020-05-27
Nobody's leaving on a jet plane and you really don't know when you'll be back again. I would not get on a flight until vaccinated. I don't feel comfortable taking any form of transportation other than my own car. I just don't even know if I could do it. You're talking to us about it it's the takeaway for Wednesday may twenty seven and I'm Shumita Basu also on the show. Meatpacking plants are being hit really hard by Covid nineteen. We're talking about how workers many of them undocumented are coping with their lives on the frontline. The National Guard was rumored to be coming to help carry out NASA testing people in the community. Were afraid of what that meant for them. If people are afraid to go to hospitals to get tested because they're afraid of being asked right edification let's get to it that is sound from protests that ran late into last night in. Minneapolis Minnesota over the killing of a black man. George Floyd by a White Minneapolis. Police officer a graphic video taken by a bystander shows the officer kneeling on Floyd's neck for several minutes. Floyd died soon after the encounter the outrage has led to an FBI investigation and the firing of all four police officers. Who were on the scene? We now turn to John Collins Senior reporter on Minnesota public radio's race class and communities desk. John Thank you for being here. Welcome to the takeaway. Thanks for having me so John. Many of us have seen that disturbing video by now. What are you hearing from all the backlash there mean? Yesterday there was a response from public officials from the governor. Tim Walls to attorney general. Keith Ellison the mayor Essentially condemning what people see in that video and calling for authorities to look deeper into exactly what happened in the public. There were people gathering at the scene throughout the day and then gathering in protest and hundreds of protesters who then marched through the streets in mostly in masks and spaced at some distance. Sometimes to the third precinct last night and what happened with these protesters have been seeing some some pretty disturbing videos of how they were met by police forces. They're worse than confrontations when they arrived at the precinct Some windows of police squad vehicles were broken. Window at the precinct was broken and police responded with a chemical irritants. Firing tear-gas over and over into around the crowds and this is on a relatively busy intersection in south. Minneapolis and and so protesters were gathered in a kind of downpour last night. With on four of intersection kind of having the standoff with police for hours last night. Now according to Mapping Police Violence Dot Org Minneapolis. Police kill black people at a rate of thirteen times higher than white people. That's larger racial disparity than almost anywhere else in the nation. Does that bear out in your reporting John. It's important to remember. The Minnesota's had just one police officer. That's been convicted for killing his civilian on job and that was off. Sir Muhammad Noor who shot and killed. Justin rose check in two thousand seventeen and Noor is back in Reuss. Jack was white in another high profile police killing that was Landau. Casteel the motorist. Who was pulled over by officer Horon Janas in two thousand sixteen inch guilt? The officer was acquitted in his staff has the Minneapolis. Police Department issued. Any kind of statement. The Minneapolis police. Chief has fired the four officers involved in this case. They seem that they're looking into the actual procedures. The the neely on the neck that will be part of their internal investigation and mayor. Jacob Fry said that firing the police officers was the right thing to do. Were these officers wearing body cameras. The Police Department is saying that the officers were wearing body cameras and that the incident was captured on body cameras. And then so we have that evidence that will eventually come out. We're probably not going to see the body cam videos until and if a trial happens or a decisions made not to charge the police officers right. So you're saying if there is a trial Anderson those four officers have been fired What could potentially lie ahead for them? I know that there's also an open. Fbi investigation now with the officers have been fired. They do have the right to contest that through their union In that process could take awhile and we may not know for quite a while. Exactly how it's going to play John. Collins is senior reporter on Minnesota. Public Radio's rubric. Class and communities desk. Thank you for coming on the show John. Thanks for having me around the country. Thousands of meat and poultry plant workers have been diagnosed with covid nineteen last month the CDC said they were around five thousand cases of Corona virus in Meat Processing Facilities However nonprofit organizations estimate that today. That number is closer to twenty thousand people so far sixty six workers have been confirmed dead. Although that number could be higher despite the health risks the trump administration ordered that meat plants stay open during the pandemic and this has led to counties with these facilities to have twice the rate of infection compared with the national average. So let's talk about how it's affecting workers and why it's such a problem. Tina Vazquez is gender justice reporter with prison and Nicole. Nora is an immigration reporter for Fox. Tina Nicole thanks for joining us. Thank you thanks for having me so Nicole. Why don't we start with you? Why exactly has corona virus spread so quickly in these meat and poultry plants? Is it the working conditions there or something else? Yeah it's the working conditions. Both inside the plants and outside the plants even in normal times meat packing is is backbreaking. Work with workers having to haul these huge cuts me and carve them into market ready portions on the production line for relatively low hourly wages on the production line. Workers are often standing shoulder to shoulder and in those kinds of setting. It's difficult to promote social distancing unless the plant significantly reduced their capacity. Some plants have already done so but at the same time. President has also ordered the meat packing plants to stay open and encourage them to keep working at full capacity in order to ward off shortages. So some plants may not be may be taking drastic action. Also plants are now taking employees temperatures handing out additional protective equipment but workers might still spread the virus unknowingly if their asymmetric there. There is also research suggesting that the virus might survive longer in the cold kind of humid air of meat packing facilities the required to stay that way based on federal guidelines on for food safety so it may spread as an aerosol on also via the kind of aggressive ventilation systems that they have in these facilities and in the local community is workers live they tend to sort of live in cramped shared housing and commute together. Sometimes on company provided buses a recent Bloomberg nalysts actually found that since trump issued his executive order requiring the plants to remain open infections in the counties near these large meat packing facilities have actually president more than twice the national rate and Tina. You've been speaking with a lot of workers at these plants in your reporting what do the working conditions look like in the facilities? And what are you hearing from people inside? I think the most troubling part of it is that the workers that I've spoken to say that there's a total lack of transparency from the companies that they work for I've been focusing on Mount Air Farms in burrows central North Carolina A lot of people are not showing up to work and workers are unsure if people aren't showing up because they're afraid of contracting the virus or if because they're sick with the virus and so several women that I've spoken to have told me that they've asked their manager supervisor directly if they've come into contact with anyone in their areas on the line who contracted the virus and they are told that is protected information confidential information that they won't be sharing there are new. Cdc Guideline for poultry processing plants in which it's recommended that employers tell workers if they've come into contact with people have contracted the virus. But that doesn't seem to be happening at least among the workers that I've spoken to in North Carolina and they've also reported that you can't distance from the person I mean these are people who are working on the line doing repeated movements they are shoulder to shoulder with other workers in North Carolina in particular. Testing is not being done at the levels that it needs to be done so people are asymptomatic and they're going to work Or they want to get tested but there isn't information about where they can get tested. There's a lot of fear in the community about whether it costs a lot of money There are language access issues so even people who want to get tested told me that they have no idea how to get tested in North Carolina unless you are showing symptoms of Kobe than you're not going to get a test Nicole. You mentioned that Executive Order President Trump. Signed it Last month invoking the defense production act to keep plants open during the pandemic did that executive order to any meaningful outcome for workers Some plants have closed right. Some plants have closed yes but He wants the plans to basically reopen in accordance with federal guidelines. The problem is with those federal guidelines that some agencies have been issuing in order to protect workers. They're not actually enforceable. They're basically sir kind of suggestions and there's no real accountability mechanism built in so actually hundreds of worker rights. Groups are petitioning Congress to pass a bill that would require the federal government to issue An emergency emergency temporary standard to prevent the spread of Corona virus in the workplace And that would be enforceable. So as Tina mentioned we haven't seen these plants really following through with some of the federal guidelines and and that would really help But in terms of of what trump's executive order has actually done it's sort of more of a semantic flourish than actually ordering these these plants to produce a certain amount of me on behalf of the federal government but it does have the effect of discouraging the plants From from taking more drastic action to prevent the spread of coronavirus in their plants. And when you talk about Labor organizing sorts of things are they asking to be codified for these plans to be doing differently so They basically just want to enact cleaning standard screening practices on Standards around the administration of personal protective equipment and social distancing on all these kinds of basic protections that we would hope employers are acting even outside of meat packing plants and these things are not being standardized at the moment. You're saying I mean they are through federal guidelines but those guidelines are not enforceable. Tina I understand that around one third of people working in these facilities and most likely more than one third are from immigrant communities and many of them are undocumented. Does that mean that they are particularly vulnerable as workers? Yeah I mean I what what's been really interesting to learn as I reported on the conditions North Carolina's when poultry processing plants talk about the protections that they're offering to their employees fat often doesn't encompass an entirely different workforce that makes up the bulk of their workforce which are undocumented workers who aren't considered direct as of these companies but rather hire through a staffing agency. Often that's how undocumented folks get jobs at these facilities. They're considered employees of the Staffing Agency. Which means they get paid less. They have fewer protections. They don't have healthcare and this. This creates a lot of additional hurdles especially during a pandemic. I mean At Mount Air Farms when the National Guard was rumored to be coming to help carry out massive testing people in the community. Were afraid of what that meant for them if they were confused. If that meant that immigration enforcement would be taking place. People are afraid to go to hospitals to get tested. Because they're afraid of being asked for identify -CATION So when you have. A large percentage of the workforce that is undocumented community and they don't have access to information in their language. They're afraid of immigration enforcement which has taken place in central North Carolina. We've seen large rates of different workplaces including these poultry processing plants. It creates an environment where people are afraid to ask for more information. They're afraid to seek the health care that they need. It creates insurmountable barriers for different communities. And what does labor organizing look like when these people are already afraid to be speaking out because of possibly because of their status? I mean it could be. That organizing is happening and that it's not public but among the women that I've spoken to who work at these poultry processing plants. They mostly described conditions of like mutual aid among workers were there. Some of them have said that the companies aren't telling them any information about the size of the outbreaks and so they're relying on information from each other. They're providing childcare to each other providing food to each other. I mean I think that its own form of organizing but it's less formal than what we think that. There is a lot of mutual aid happening. But what's unfortunate is the lack of transparency is. They can't develop an understanding of the risk. They're taking by going to work if they don't have the information that they need if it's not coming from the company's than they're watching the news so people who work at specific plants learned about outbreaks at their own plants by watching the news in Spanish but the downside of that of course are rumors that circulate when large percentages of people aren't going to work. They don't know if they're sick or just afraid. And so rumors circulate that you know there could be. Thousands of cases are hundreds of cases. Or this person or that person but there's no way to confirm So they rely on the information that they have and sometimes that's good. Sometimes it's bad we actually have seen Some employees staging walkouts at major meat packing facilities and One even anonymously filed a lawsuit against their employer. Smithfield's which is one of the nation's largest pork producers but Republicans are actually fighting to shield businesses from these kinds of lawsuits and liability if their employees contract corona virus. Which would make it that much harder for these employees to stand up for their rights. I want to ask you Nicole. You know our Friday politics host Amy Walter. She recently spoke with mayor. Quinton heart from Waterloo Iowa and in his city there was an outbreak of coronavirus at a local pork processing plant. That's owned by Tyson and the plant was later closed. So here's what may or heart had to say. There is a direct correlation between a strong agricultural base A healthy workforce production slow and the impact to local national economies. If you if you don't have A protected workforce or if you have a workforce where large numbers are not feeling well or could have potentially contracted the virus. Then you don't have production and with that many people calling in sick or unable to work due to the virus. No matter what you do you're not going to produce at the same level so that's mayor heart in Waterloo Iowa Nicole. What have we been hearing from? Local politicians and industry leaders. Are there efforts to help the workers? In these conditions. Certainly on a local level we've seen officials administering guidance and Requiring local facilities to close on there was one Smithfield facility. I believe that was foreclosed. Upon basically an ordinance from local officials on but yeah. I mean he's completely right in the sense that I think the worker safety problem is Not Distinct from the problem with shortages and our meat supply and keeping the facilities open and without additional protections for workers isn't going to resolve the shortages that we're seeing in supermarkets across the country. Right now it really is about protecting those workers and only then can we get production levels. Backup Somewhat Tina. Something that you tweeted my attention. You said that what's happening in these. Plants is an immigrant rights and worker rights issue. But it's also a gender justice issue. Can you explain that? How does gender play into this? When I started to do this reporting did not set out to cover it from a gender justice angle. I really thought that these would be immigration stories But as I started to my reporting and more and more people wanted to speak to me about the conditions that they were seeing the plans that they were working at They were all women and I didn't know if that's just who happened to be speaking out or that's WHO's working in poultry processing plants. I mean I Had ideas or assumptions about who? I thought worked at these facilities and it turns out that I was wrong. I started to ask around whether it was North Carolina Mississippi there large percentages of women. Working at these plants is book to woman last week name. Loosen I asked her directly. Is it just that women for whatever reason feel more apt to speak out or is it that large percentages of people who work at these plants are women and she said that it was both That women are the breadwinners that women have to take care of their children. that they're juggling all of these different roles in that they have the biggest risk to take and the most to lose if they get sick because that means it. They can't support their families that means that they can infect their children If they live in multi generational homes. That means that they can make parents sick And so I mean I think it's a combination of the two that that women for whatever reason in North Carolina want to speak out but also they make up a large percentage of the workforce. Tina Vazquez is a gender justice reporter with prison and Nicole. Nora is an immigration reporter for Fox was really great to have you both here. Thank you thank you for having me on a flight lately. I'm going to guess the answer is probably no at the start of twenty. Twenty air travel was doing great business according to CNBC just months ago the airline industry had reached its highest employment level in more than sixteen years today with a roughly ninety percent. Drop in air travel compared to a year ago. The industry has suffered dramatic economic losses. Twenty five billion dollars in federal relief is being provided to airlines as part of the cares act under the condition that companies do not reduce pay rates or lay off employees but many of the major airlines have cut their workers hours in response to the lower demands inflates and while in recent weeks airlines have started to see a slight increase in business. Many people in the United States just aren't ready to travel long distances on planes or other means like trains were hearing from you on this. How comfortable would you feel getting on an airplane right now? Crawling from Dunedin Florida. We do not feel traveling right now. Which is the same. Because we've got a gorgeous three year old granddaughter Montana and we would love plan to see her. My name is Scott live on Vashon island near Seattle tomorrow and flying to Boston from SEATAC? I have no concerns about my safety. As I have heard that the airlines are taking excellent care of passengers. All passengers are required to wear a mask as is and the jetsons. Airports are cleaned rigorously every day. I be careful wash my hands. Take all precautions. I'm not at all afraid. Hi My name's Lisa Rowdy. I'm calling from Seattle. I would be very nervous about getting on an airplane or train. Unless it was acquired that every passenger had their temperature before getting on board and as long as everybody wore a mask through the whole trip. I see. It's not terribly likely right now. I'm going to be doing all of my travel by car. Keep those calls coming at us at eight. Seven seven eight might take joining me. Now is banana. J. Wilson an editor at the travel website. The points guy. It's great to have you here. Thank you for having me and also with us is Leslie Joseph's in airline reporter at CNBC. Thanks for coming back on the show Leslie. Thanks for having me so leslie you heard there. Our last caller said she won't be getting on a plane unless it's required that every passenger gets their temperature checked and wears a mask or either of those measures being required by airlines right now well so far a major. Us airlines are requiring masks. That's a new change that started this month. The challenge with that is. How do you enforce it? Will they kick someone off a flight? Or they going to divert the flight probably not There've been airlines are telling their cabin crews don't essentially created a big fuss if a passenger refuses but try to talk to them and the flight attendants were trained in de-escalation So it is a requirement the airlines are telling people do not come on board without a mask try to wear them in common areas like ticket counters and gates are like near the plane It's they're limited in what they can do because this isn't a federal rule. Yeah exactly that was actually my next point. Those new federal body that sort of setting the regulations for this well the federal agencies that handle air travel and public health have been discussing this The Department of Homeland Security under which. Tsa Sits is looking at potential passenger. Temperature checks Maybe thermal scanning we've seen in in some other airports around the world are starting to see But but nothing has been done yet. so it's kind of this sort of hot potato which agency is handling what and what we've seen from FAA what we've seen from the Department of Transportation and even the CDC is recommendations which only goes so far So benign what is the experience of traveling on an airplane and traveling through an airport? Like right now It's a lot less crowded You come in. People have masks on most of the workers. Do have masks on People are trying to avoid the kiosk. I'm a person that uses my phone for my boarding pass and I don't check a bag so I don't have to worry about that Different rules about spacing through security lines. Some lines are empty and some lines up seeing photos of just normal. Tsa Lines then after you go through you know some of the gate depending on the airport. Some of the gate hold areas can look a little crowded Food areas. I was working on a story. About this. Air- airports are still trying to work out their regulations on how to keep people socially distant in restaurants and food courts. And then you know once you get on the plane. We've all seen that yet. Famous photo the united the pact flight after every single every single seat was filled on that flight. Yes yes after the airlines said they were GonNa try and do some social distancing although. I don't know how you can do that It's it's something that should be done but realistically you know it. That's going to be a challenge. Yeah and we talked a little bit earlier about the Federal Stimulus Money Leslie. How much of a lifeline has that stimulus been for the airline industry? Well that's definitely helping them. Keep stay afloat. But the airlines are also going to the bond market and raising equity sales and looking for other ways that they could raise money and they've raised billions. There is appetite to lend money from private markets. A two year lines But that money and the reason why it's important because it requires airlines to keep their entire staff through September thirtieth and they can't cut their pay rates so their hourly wages are still remaining. Same after September thirtieth. That's when things are starting to get dicey and even into the summer because often employees have to be warned when there's a big layoff coming under state rules so it is helping them stay afloat but the summer is the most important season for airlines the second and third quarters the most lucrative for them summer vacations. It's when probably airports are usually most miserable and the planes are at their fullest But after that point it. It's it's a big question. Mark it with what happens after that and some of the executives are already starting to let employees know you know we expect to be smaller airlines coming out of this And it is possible that they do have involuntary furloughs layoffs. I've been seeing some tantalizingly. Cheap flight deals in the past. Few Weeks Benin. These deals calling you or are you sort of staying away from them. Sh they are very very tempting. I'm a person who loves to travel but I am not quite comfortable enough yet to pull the pull the trigger And what what can we think about in terms of the long term for passenger costs? Well this this is going to have to be paid for. Somehow you know all these of the cleaning of the plane extra cleaning The money is going to have to come from somewhere and nine times out of ten that comes with airfare so I would not be surprised after the summer once. Things have kind of calmed down that we start seeing airfares rise right right and Leslie. I'm thinking about the transition away from person to person contact happening in airports. How can we expect this to affect airline security? Well the TSA is starting to think about this. But it's it's a very difficult thing to trace so you can screen people for temperatures. Which of course is a symptom of Cove Ed And maybe like weed out. People that are over a hundred point four degrees And then also maybe if someone is sick even just going through that might be a deterrent. But it's it's not really clear yet what it's GonNa look like. I mean it's still up for for debate Like inside the department homeland. Security is looking at those kinds of screenings. We're not at a point where like mass tested for. Covid or mass temperature checked at the airport But it is likely to add some time To to the security check and also keeping that social distance airport security lines. They're trying to space people out maybe some checkpoints of close because the demand for air travel has been so low and is likely to stay low compared with historical levels for a long time. What the uptick that we've seen. I think we're still awfully ninety percent From where we were a year ago started the summer. Spring and summer travel season So it is likely to add some time to the process and do any of the changes that are happening right now. Raise any new concerns for you when it comes to passenger privacy or even cybersecurity airlines have been looking at things like facial scanning instead of a boarding pass for a bit which has raised privacy concerns and other issues but since it's a public health crisis and one that has destroyed air travel demand pretty much like nothing else that we've ever seen airlines are really pushing the sort of the safety angle and looking at things like immunity passports Which you know aren't necessarily around the corner but it like once we get mass testing. It's still possible and travelers like they have always had to way with with air. Travel have had to weigh Privacy versus convenience. And that's going to be a question that every traveler faces when they go off and and when you say immunity passports you're referring to people who have gotten testing for antibodies. Right and maybe hit right weird for having antibodies. How how is how are airlines? Thinking about that is is that immunity testing really seen as something that they can give people a sort of immunity pass on. I don't think that they won. WanNa do any of testing but it could be something that could be required possibly down the line. It is somewhat theoretical and it's very early days with testing as well so if you have the antibodies are you guaranteed to never get or transmit cove again So those are some of the questions. Like how effective is it to even have somebody cleared And it raises all sorts of other issues. Yes yes banana. What do you think might be some of the long term changes to the air travel experience based on this a lot of people look back at September Eleventh? As a time when we completely revamped how we go through security. What might what might we see? Come out of this well. I think we're going to see a lot more Of social distancing as a requirement. I'M GONNA I'm saying we're GONNA see the spot floor. We're going to see a lot more Self-help options as more as checking bags and Checking in and everything. I think we'll see more people using their mobile phones to do all of these processes. I think we'll see spacing in gate hold areas although with some older airports that might cause some issues I also think we will see A the way. The airport operates as far as Foods in airport lounges There's GonNa be a of changes you're not going to be able to go up to the Soda Machine and just get your soda anymore. Things like that. Actually you wrote about how there are some bending new vending machines in airports. Now right with face masks and other sorts of things yes. Las Vegas Airport started a vending machine. That has n ninety five masks clorox wipes hand gloves all kinds of things. Yes we'll have to leave it there. Banana J. Wilson is an editor at the travel website. The point guy and Leslie Justice is an airline reporter at CNBC. Thank you both thank you. Thank you as we've reported on this show. Cruise ships were early hot spots for the Infectious Disease and the cruise industry effectively shut down in early. March with many believing that the crisis would only last for thirty days and while passengers and some ship's crew members have been sent home. It's now two months later. And one hundred thousand crew members are still stuck at sea and for those on board life has been difficult. Some workers aren't being paid and in many cases they don't know when they can go home. Taylor. Dolphin has been following this story closely. She's a business reporter covering tourism for the Miami Herald so the cruise industry really had a front row seat to the effects of this virus way back in early February while while the rest of the world outside Asia was still trying to figure out what this might look like long term for the entire globe. The largest outbreak outside of China as of mid February actually happened on the Diamond Princess cruise ship anchored in Japan and so the initial response was really to ramp up. Screening companies prevented people who'd recently traveled to Asia from boarding ships. All over the world Said they were cleaning more often and doing health screening of passengers before boarding. But as we know. Those measures were not enough to prevent dozens of outbreaks on cruise ships across the world and as the virus spread It it definitely spread through cruise ships globally And I think many of our listeners will probably remember the panic and getting people off of cruise ships and what that was like but what people may not realize is that many crew members have since then been in limbo and been on these ships. Why are these crew members still stuck at sea? Yeah so the. The cruise industry finally decided to halt operations on March Thirteenth. After repeated outbreaks on cruise ships. And you're right after that it was a scramble to get ships back into port. Country denied those ships So here in South Florida. We sort of became a safe haven. For some of these ships and saw a lot of passengers getting disembarked and repatriated here in south Florida but yes crew members largely remained on board. The Industry Really Thought on March thirteenth. That they were only going to be pausing operations for a month for thirty days. And so they even brought more crew on. You know sent some home but brought more on in that month and then when it became clear that the industry would be shut down for much longer than thirty days They were really stuck in the situation of ramped up travel restrictions across the world. An incredible cost of getting all these people home. And so yes. We've seen now. You know two months after that initial shutdown that thousands of crew members are still stuck on board without much reliable information about when they're going to be going home. Oh my goodness and do you have actual numbers on that. Do you know how many crew members have been affected by covid nineteen? Yeah so we're at the Miami Herald where we're actually tracking the number of positive cases linked to cruise ships and the number of deaths. And we know that at least five hundred crew members have tested positive since the industry down on March Thirteen points. At least seven have died. You mentioned that it's been tricky trying to figure out how to repatriate. All of these crew members tell us who who works on these ships. Where are these crew members from? So most crew members are are not. Us citizens are are international. Crew and a lot of them are from the Philippines. That's a really big nationality for crew members also Indonesia and India but yes they come from over one hundred countries and so these companies are navigating travel restrictions. That range from you know still open for commercial flights to Not Allowing under any circumstances crew members to return and those travel restrictions are changing. And so it's been sort of a logistical nightmare. But meanwhile you know these these people remain on the ships and are just waiting for news about when they'll be able to see their families again and Taylor you have been in touch with many crew members for your reporting. What are you hearing from them? Howard how are they doing? The ones I'm in touch with are are not doing well They're just really really Desperate more than anything for transparency and reliable information about exactly what their company and government are doing to get them out of this situation A lot of them have been told repeatedly that they'll be flying home on on one day only to see that date canceled and this happened. You know five six seven times and so it's it's really It's really wearing on them and it's a difficult situation. I mean they're they're no longer being paid They are not able to leave and A lot of them are are worried about their families at home. And and just really want to Get there to be with them during this difficult time Taylor. You said they're no longer being paid. They're not being treated as paid working influences at the moment. No there are a certain number of crew on each ship that are working Even even the mega ships require at lea- around one hundred people to operate them when they're not in full full cruising mode But but most of the rest have been relieved of their contracts and so are no longer being paid some companies are paying Like Royal Caribbean for example is paying giving what they're calling goodwill payments to crew of about thirteen dollars a day but crew. Tell me that they're having to spend most of that on Toiletries and other supplies on board. Oh Gosh and you've also reported that there been a few apparent suicides connected to this right. Yeah it's as as with any suicide you know. It's difficult to to know the circumstances but we know of few Instances during this time since the industry has shut down where where crew members have committed suicide. Yes Now because these cruise ships are often operating in international waters who regulates them and do do any labor laws apply that could helpful to these crew members so It US Labor. Law does not apply because these are while while all of the cruise companies are headquartered in south Florida there inc and other countries and then their ships are flagged too often another country and so the sort of international body that regulates this is the Internet International Labor Organization And they've come up with recommendations for shipping companies on how they should be treating employees during this time but the enforcement falls to the flag state in a lot of Cruise ships are registered in the Bahamas. So that would be one for example or Malta's another popular one but we haven't so far seen any Any big oversight when it comes to the the payment issue there for example But it is sort of a patchwork of laws you have the the ship's flag state. Then you have these international groups associated with the UN. Then you have where the ship is based and so. It's often difficult to tell. What's the role of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in a situation like this? Do they have any role? Yeah they definitely do and they have Stepped up their their oversight. I would say during during this time whenever the ship is in. Us WATERS CDC. Rules applied to how it how it operates. And so they've come up with strict protocols for how companies can disembark and repatriate crew since mid April. On they've been requiring that repatriation to happen on private transportation. Which is caused a rub with some of these companies who are not seeing any revenue now have to charter flights for thousands of people to go home but they are. They're definitely taking I. I would say a stepped up approach to oversight here and I'm sure they'll be involved in drafting protocols for win when cruises start up again. Yeah and last I heard at least carnival. Cruise lines is thinking about how to start up again at the end of the summer. What are you hearing from from these cruising companies? In what are you hearing from crew members about what it will mean to start up again yeah? Most cruise companies have decided to cancel cruises through July. Which is the CDC has actually banned cruising in the US through at least July twenty fourth. So so we're looking at August. I possibly to start. And while none of the companies have come up with protocols publicly about what they'll do they've all said that cruising we'll definitely look look different crew members that I'm in touch with are really just hoping to get home And are hoping to get back to work you know once. They're able to Reunite with their families and recover from this. But I think we can. We can be sure that cruising is going to look a lot different. You know the same kind of changes. We're seeing on land. We'll definitely There to mass social distancing etc. Those things seem like they would be very different though on the confines of cruise ship. I mean what? What are some other changes that are being talked about that could considerably change what the cruise industry looks like? Yeah definitely Doctors and infectious disease experts. Say That Cruise ships are incredibly dangerous environments for This virus is spread comparible to nursing homes and prisons and other long-term combined environments and so You know disinfecting will be really important I've talked to experts who recommend that ships not Not Go on. Voyages at full capacity so maybe consider filling just half of the ship with with passengers that they not go too far away from land at anytime to always have a land hospital available on because cruise-ship infirmaries typically only have capabilities to treat one person in critical condition one sort of ICU. Ventilator Situation And so those are some of the things that are being floated but we we don't know yet what these companies will do. I would think that one of the things that this has highlighted is the fact that when you're working with an international crew on international waters in a situation like this which is unprecedented What should happen to those people? Are there any considerations and changes to labor laws that could affect how crew members might be able to travel home in a situation? Like this if it happens again. Yeah it's an it's an interesting discussion. I haven't heard of anything in the works but we have actually seen late last week. A maritime attorney here in in Miami filed a A petition for emergency relief from a federal the federal court here To to get these people basically asking a federal judge to to order the companies to send these crew home as soon as possible and Other attorneys I've talked to. You know agree that this is a long shot. It's not clear if if a federal court in the US has any sort of standing even though these ships are in US waters often docked in us. Sports you know they. They do operate Under foreign flags and and have international crew but You know people are are really desperate at this point. So that's an example of one effort to try and get a federal judge to try and intervene citing the the humanitarian crisis here Taylor Dolphin is a business reporter covering tourism for the Miami Herald. Taylor thank you for your reporting. Thanks for coming on the show. Thanks so much for having me. We heard from many of you about foiled. Summer travel plans for a lot of us. It's up to books to take far away the summer and we have some recommendations for you. Courtesy of constants grading book critic for Vox Constants. It's great to have you with us. It's great to be here. Thank you so much so I made the mistake of trying to read some nonfiction in the early weeks of lockdown and boy my brain was just asking to be taken away somewhere in your view. What makes a book a great escape? There are two things that you want in an escape book. He want this really driving for narrative that will keep you reading and make it feel like it's just purely fun and never homework but I'm also a little bit of a snob. Because they have to be book critic so I always want in my escape to have beautiful beautiful sentences so I never get distracted by thinking. Oh well that's a little bit clunky I think to be the perfect escape book. Good writing and strong storytelling exactly okay. So let's start. You brought a list. Let's start at the top. Tell us about the enchanted April. This is a really lovely but from nineteen twenty two by Elizabeth von Karman. It's about a bunch of Middle Age. British ladies who get sick of taking care of there has been so they all decide together to just up and go off on vacation together to an Italian island for a month. There's lots of description of wisteria growing everywhere. And they're sitting on the terrorists drinking cocktails. It's just delightful so that sounds pretty classic in a lot of ways the next pick on your list is it seems a very different kind of story. Tell us why you loved the vanishing half. Oh Gosh I love this book. It comes out next week on Tuesday by Bennett. Who brought the mothers her debut novel? Which came out a couple of years ago? It is so rich and so interesting. It's about two twin sisters growing up in a small town in the south. The town is all black and everyone in. It is devoted to making sure that each successive generation of residents has later skin. These two twin sisters run away from the town one of them begins passing for white and the other one Mary's darker skinned man and has a darker skin child. It's so rich and interesting and the writing is just beautiful. I keep nothing as I read to. Just sort of luxury. The sentences now. I WanNa read the headline of the review that you wrote for your next Book Pick. You wrote Gideon. The ninth is about Lesbian Neck. Romances in space. Obviously it's perfect. So the tagline on this book is Lesbian Akron Series in space. It really. It's so much more than that. It's this gothic fantasy. The pros is just velvety. There's this incredibly involved mystery plot that I can never figure out There's a romance I cried at the end. It's a fantastic book. The Sequel Herald the ninth comes out in August. Does it remind you of anything if you could guide our listeners? If you like this if you like X. You might like this book. It's not really a space opera type book the way you might think of like a star wars story. It's more magic. That happens to happen in space so I think the closest thing would probably be like a little bit game of thrones but fewer terrible terrible people. Okay well let's go onto the next pick. We are back to the theme of sisters but this is a very different backdrop than the American south. Tell us about the seamstress so this is a beautiful beautiful book by Francis Dupont. His People's it's about two sisters a nineteen thirty th Brazil both of them are great seamstresses but one of them ends up marrying rich and the other becomes an outlaw. Got This really really mark fast narrative that just pushes you all the way through and it's all powered by the fraught relationship between the two sisters. Now let's turn to queen of the night which gives us a little bit of history little bit. What makes this book great escape for you man? So this is by Alexander Chee. He's a literary novelist who got a lot of claims for his first novel. Edinburgh which is very spare and grounded in realism Queen of the night. It's not that it's one of these books where every emotion is really outsides. Operatic because mostly it's about an opera singer who is in Paris at the end of the nineteenth century and second empire France. So there's lots of opulent descriptions of all these ornate clothing and furnishings and everything is very over the top and happening at like level ten all times. It's very easy to get mom. Okay next on your list to novels that have cities very front and center city of girls by Elizabeth Gilbert and the city. We became by n Que Jemison so tell us why these major list. They're wonderful. They're both New York books. They're both very joyous. And and really compelling. Cd of girls is a historical novel. Set in the nineteen forties at a rundown vaudeville theatre. It's read like drinking a glass of you. Just want to guzzle. It down. City became science fiction by the Hugo Witter K. Jonathan the premise is that New York city is coming to life and each borough is represented by different Avatar and they have to team up together to save the city from reactionary politics and racism. And it's just so much fun to read so constants before we let you go what has been the most surprisingly exciting soothing or even distracting book for you during this time beyond. What's on this list already? Oh man well. I'm someone who in times of deep deep stress. I always think the best thing to read as a how to guide by a control freak. The it'll really give some of like the world is under control their like rules and regulations that you can learn and follow so a book that I find very soothing in this time is a housekeeping manual by Cheryl Mendelson called home comforts. Like she will tell you. Exactly how many inches you need to turn down your seats. When you're making your bed you OUGHTA is. This is a modern manual. Yes it came out in. I think two thousand five and then updated a few times. I believe so. She'll she's up to date on all of the latest technology and she will tell you exactly what to do with everything. Wow okay tell us. Tell us a couple of habits. in new things you've picked up from this housekeeping manual. That are giving you comfort at this time so I actually very rarely do things in the book. It's just about reading it. Yeah Yeah it makes me feel sort of grounded and it's like you know what this woman has her environment under complete control there is ordering the universe somewhere when you are not reading fiction books. Do you have favorite nonfiction books that you like to turn to at a time like this? Yes I think another one for me is this. Nf Kate Fisher. Book of essays called a Cook. The both She was a food writer in the mid century. She's probably one of the best pro silence in American letters and it was the book she wrote about cooking during World War. Two first of all when their rations things that are scarce but also just getting comfort from her food in a time of terror and stress. And it's really grounded and really visceral and she's just a lovely lovely raider into able to make the food very Bachayev and really grounded in physical senses. Constance Grady is the book critic for Vox and the host of the. Vox Book Club which you can find it. Box Dot com slash book club constants. Thank you so much for being here with us. Thank you so much for having me. Okay everyone that's it for us today you can find. Constants is full list of book recommendations including a few that. We didn't get to talk about today at the takeaway dot org and of course you can call us at anytime about anything at eight seven seven eight my take or send us a tweet at the takeaway. Thank you so much for being with us. I'm Shumita Basu and this is the takeaway. I'll see you tomorrow.