Throughout American history, essential workers were very well respected. The mailman brought our checks, letters from our family during times of war, pictures of our newborn nieces from the other coast and the milkman was an essential part of all three meals. The grocery store clerks became friends and we caught up with each other every time we shopped. The local park workers kept our play safes clean and safe-lest we forget they do call the police. Wait a minute, it’s not the 20th Century? Nope, we are smack dab at the beginning of a new century rife with disrespect spread throughout the word through Facebook posts and Instagram shots. Complaints of the wrong orders at the drive-thrus where workers took your order, made it and handed it off for a very cheap price within 5 minutes. But that wasn’t good enough because you wanted extra ketchup. Really? Well hasn’t COVID-19 changed the game. And you better become a team player because millions of these so-called and so-disrespected workers deserve better, they deserve $15 or more dollars an hour.
From the Lyft and Uber drivers delivering people, doctors, and other essential workers to home and work to the Grubhub workers delivering your takeout, now we see the hazards of these jobs. There is an entire economic system built into Capitalism that has always been dependent on the gig economy workers. Even before and ever after COVID-19 these people still make money to spend money in our capitalist wheel while providing a means for others to do the same. Though these workers prefer to stay in a gig setting, there needs to be a reasonable set fee for them to maintain 40 hour work weeks with some benefit of healthcare. Over one hundred years ago, American unions and workers consistently held national strikes to force companies to be partners to workers to provide standard benefits such as the 40-hour workweek, OSHA and fair wages. It’s time gig companies begin to provide this since Uncle Sam already provides the labor, highways, lights, traffic control and everything else. Thes least companies could do is care and provide for their major investment-their workers. It’s time we follow California and institute workers’ rights for the gig economy across the nation. If our legislators really care about the economy surviving and thriving then the costs of healthcare need to be shifted back to employers.
As unemployment skyrockets which shouldn’t be a shock due to the circumstances, we are all reminded of the lack of Americans’ savings. There have been countless rebuttals that 1 in 4 Americans can’t cover a $400 emergency, the best being the other 6 Americans could put it on a credit card. Hold on isn’t that the same thing, cash broke is broke ask any economist or investor. What we need to realize is the majority of our newest essential workers are working poor, minorities and mostly women. How can you save $400 for emergencies if every day is an emergency? Just think about how much minimum wage in America is today, $7.25 an hour. They basically rake in an astounding $1,160 before taxes per month. That’s it. We need our Congressional leaders to make the stimulus an everyday stability factor by raising our federal minimum wage to $10 an hour in every state. Sure inflation may increase along with the price of a take out cheeseburger but in the long run, more people will be self-sustaining, especially in the cheaper cost of living Southern states. We need these essential workers today and every day so let’s give them a hand in making their tomorrows financially healthier by supporting the Raise the Wage Act.
There is not a better time to discuss this with your friends and family to finally support our real essential workers. They’re not considered first responders nor the tenth responders but they are essential to our everyday lives and now even in global health pandemics. These are but two quick ways that you, the American neighbor, can make this crisis into a gift for your neighbors. Please talk about it, support it and voice your opinion to your local political leaders.
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