Essential Workers During COVID-19: Pay Them Like Their Lives Depend On It

April 7, 2020

Essential, by definition is something or someone that is important or necessary. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses have been shutdown and many people’s lives as they know it, have come to a screeching halt, however, there are some exceptions. In certain areas, activities approved as essential include grocery shopping and picking up medications. Some restaurants remain open but only allow people to pick up food from outside the establishment, whereas others have even added delivery to their services to continue to satisfy their customers during this world crisis. Many people have lost jobs considered to be non-essential, however, some have been fortunate enough to be given the option to continue their work at home, and  have therefore been able to remain employed. 

There are even those who have had to stop working but have the luxury of still receiving pay equivalent to their working wages and sometimes more. And now this brings us to our workers who have been recognized as essential, but don’t have the option to stay at home. These include our doctors, nurses and all medical staff. Additionally, everytime they leave their homes to go to work, they risk contracting the virus and bringing it back home to their families. Yet and still, people are depending on them to save their lives even if it means they end up losing their own, which has often been the case recently for many.

Next, we have our grocery and retail store cashiers, our truck drivers moving essential products across state lines, our warehouse workers, postal service workers who deliver our mail, and those in the transportation industry whether actual drivers or those who simply serve as support to this function. The bottom line, is that there are a lot of people out here risking their lives because what they do is deemed essential. They are esteemed as heroes on the news and in the media and are applauded for what they are doing. The sad reality however, is that being essential and being everyone’s hero doesn’t make them immune to the Coronavirus nor does it make their families immune either. It seems as though the rational thing to do for these workers who are risking their lives every-day, would be the most obvious which is  upping their pay.

Many have voiced this same sentiment and see this as the logical solution, after all, it’s the least that could be done. These essential workers are on the front lines facing danger and  fighting this virus head on as though at war of some sort. Many public figures and celebrities have taken to their instagrams and social media accounts to express the same view. Co-host of daytime television talk show The View, Meghan McCain, has even suggested that these essential workers receive double pay for their troubles. The matter of pay in the climate we are living in has become a very hot button issue and quite reasonably so.

Essential industries are essential for a reason. They are the back bone of all infrastructure right now and the world is relying on them. So perhaps their pay should reflect that. Everyday the message is made loud and clear to stay home and save lives. But what if you can’t stay home? Some cannot afford to come off of their jobs and still have a place to stay or food on their table. We are living in serious times and some serious decisions need to be made. We need to better protect our essential workers because after all, they are necessary.

Here is a salute and a huge thank you to all the essential workers out there still making it happen. You are appreciated!