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Who defends the front line? Organization and mobilization of hospital cleaning workers and nursing technicians to face the COVID-19 pandemic

Grant number: 22/01244-0
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): August 01, 2022
Effective date (End): February 29, 2024
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Political Science
Principal Investigator:Andréia Galvão
Grantee:Ingrid Saraiva Tavares
Host Institution: Instituto de Filosofia e Ciências Humanas (IFCH). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil


In the framework of a phenomenon as recent as the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, we observe that the work of care and maintenance of the population's survival conditions has acquired even more importance and visibility in the last period. The categories of technical workers in nursing and hospital cleaning, mostly female, despite being a significant part of the front line to combat the pandemic, suffer from precarious contracts, overload of tasks and double and/or triple working hours. These are categories with less tradition of organization, represented, in the region of Campinas, by Sinsaúde (Union of Employees in Health Services) and by Siemaco (Union of Employees in Cleaning and Conservation Companies, Urban and Environmental Cleaning), both affiliated to the central union UGT (General Union of Workers). Outsourcing is a common mark of these categories, whose union entities have been suffering a process of weakening, especially after the approval of the 2017 Labor Reform. In this sense, this research project aims to investigate the relationship between union leadership and base of outsourced hospital cleaning workers and nursing technicians, from 2019 to 2022, before and after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the city of Campinas. The investigation proposal consists of an exploratory research, of mixed methodology, combining quantitative and qualitative methods. It proposes, in addition to an bibliography review, an analysis of the official website and the social media most used by unions, semi-structured interviews with syndicalists, as well as the application of a questionnaire to the worker base.

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