About the COVID-19 Workplace Project

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, many workers continued to report to work in-person. These workers faced a changed working environment, along with new health and safety concerns. The COVID-19 Workplace Project focuses on the experiences of these essential and in-person workers during the pandemic. We began surveying essential workers in Massachusetts at the start of the pandemic in April 2020, and since July have expanded the survey to include in person workers from multiple states. The project is coordinated by faculty from the Labor Center at the University of Massachusetts, Clare Hammonds and Jasmine Kerrissey.


Latest Reports

At the Frontlines of the Debate on Masks: Worker Experiences Enforcing COVID-19 Safety Protocols

November 2020

Clare Hammonds, Jasmine Kerrissey

This research examines the experiences of workers in six states as they are asked to confront a public with mixed feelings about wearing masks and complying with other COVID-19 safety recommendations like social distancing. The research draws from a survey of 2,300 employees working in person the week of July 5th, which was near the height of the summer surge.


Black and Latino essential workers experience greater safety concerns than their white counterparts

August 2020

Clare Hammonds, Jasmine Kerrissey & Donald Tomaskovic-Devey


Stressed, Unsafe, and Insecure: Essential Workers Need A New, New Deal

June 2020

Clare Hammonds, Jasmine Kerrissey & Donald Tomaskovic-Devey

With some of the strongest labor protections in the country, Massachusetts is probably one of the best states to be an essential worker. Even with those protections, our survey of over 2500 essential workers in Massachusetts from April 24 to May 1, 2020 found they faced widespread safety, stress, and family insecurity hardships. The hardships we found for essential workers in Massachusetts are likely to be even worse elsewhere in the country. 

Low-wage essential workers get less protection against coronavirus – and less information about how it spreads

June 2020

Jasmine Kerrissey, Clare Hammonds


A Survey of Essential Workers’ Safety and Security During COVID-19

May 2020

Clare Hammonds, Jasmine Kerrissey

While most of the country shelters in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, essential workers continue to do their jobs — often at great personal risk to themselves and to their families. Essential workers sustain our ability to live during this crisis, providing critical food, shelter, transportation, and health. They work in a range of industries from healthcare and transportation to social services and public safety. This study describes the experiences of essential workers in Western Massachusetts, providing some of the first survey data to capture the safety and security concerns of these critical workers in the time of COVID-19