Workers Sacrificed Safety During COVID-19, Left Out of Recovery (Opinion)
People who worked all of last year during the pandemic and those who continue to stay working are the real forgotten heroes. The recovery packages that were put together by both the Trump and Biden administrations did their best to help people, but, we all know that many of those who chose to stay home are the ones who made out like bandits.
I understand that we need to help the people who are (or were) stuck financially because of COVID, but, there are a lot of other people that are taking advantage of good intentioned policies. I'm talking about the thousands and thousands of people who stayed home because they would make more money by not working. This was part of the complaint by Republicans in this latest stimulus package, but, the GOP was just as guilty for allowing the un-policed extra $600 in weekly benefits given out in unemployment checks last year.
I do understand that there were a lot of people who were in deep financial trouble and this extra stimulus money allowed them to survive. But, it has also incentivized a lot of people to sit home and avoid going back to work because they were satisfied with the amount they were making sitting on their buttocks. There were also many part-time workers who enjoyed astronomical increases in pay, just by sitting home.
Let me just clearly say, I understand the incentive was there and I don't hold anything against anyone who took advantage of it. My issue isn't as much about what we've done or what they did, but more about what we didn't do, and what we're not doing right now.
The workers who kept working in so many industries back in April, May and June, and those who are continuing to work - have gone unnoticed. The essential workers from healthcare and delivery to grocery store workers and fire fighters who kept working without any time-off during the shutdown are the ones forgotten.
Sadly, so many of these essential workers ended up getting the short end of the stick over the last year. Many were forced to take pay cuts or cuts in hours because business was so drastically different. I've spoken to people who were told they would be rewarded for being fearless against the virus by continuing to work and when it was all said and done, they either received nothing extra or they saw their jobs eliminated.
These are the people who kept everything going in 2020 and the ones who picked up the slack because staffing was so diminished, it was essential for the survival of the business. These are the people who often times looked differently at their jobs during COVID-19, seeing themselves as public servants who were keeping America moving forward during a catastrophe.
We missed the opportunity twice last year and again this year to thank them, but, maybe the next stimulus will offer something for these people who kept the nation going while everything came to a halt. Rewarding them would also incentivize others to get back to work.
It seems logical, but, I'm not sure logic is the key to our strategies these days.