Who are the important essential workers of America ?
There are roughly 55 million workers in industries deemed “essential” at this time. Essential workers are people who conduct different operations & services, such as grocery store workers, funeral directors, delivery people, plumbers, housekeepers, hospital personnel, bank tellers, cashiers, bus drivers, mail carriers, first responders, warehouse workers, day care providers, and more. As of right now, states are beginning to decide how and when to re-open parts of their economies, workers considered essential will continue to remain relevant.
The transit system, is currently being impacted by covid the most. When people load up on a bus, they are forced sit or stand between 1-2 feet from each other, putting everyone at risk. The transit system has taken steps to protect its drivers, requiring passengers to board the bus at the rear entrance and supplying operators with cloth masks and hand sanitizer.
The healthcare industry, is the most important industry, that needs to stay open, during this pandemic. Women make up the highest percentage of essential workers in this industry, with (76%) representation. Many of these women are required to work without protective equipment. They have no effective right to refuse dangerous assignments and are not even being granted premium pay, despite working in difficult and dangerous conditions. This could have an impact on the community, if these people are being surrounded by different people everyday, it could be dangerous for older family members who live at home, who may come in contact, with one of these workers.
Men make up the majority of essential workers in the energy sector ,water and wastewater management ,and critical manufacturing. These are important industries, that need to stay open during a pandemic. Black Americans, make up the majority of essential workersin food and agriculture and in industrial, commercial, residential facilities and services.
All of these workers, have sought to gain protections through union negotiations, walkouts, social media appeals, and drawing media attention to the problems.
These workers are impacted, because they do not have any rights to refuse assignments that are dangerous, or deadly. The policymaking in the workplace places a significant impact on the lives of essential workers. Black American essential workers are especially important.
They need tangible support from the government because of this virus, and rewards and protections that extend beyond the crisis. Because of systematic racism that exist in society , black essential workers are hit with a double whammy. Because these black essentialworkers have been impacted the most, the most attention should be given to them.