EP 631 Do We Really Consider Frontline Workers as “Essential”?



We put up signs and cheered and serenaded from rooftops and labelled “heroes,” healthcare workers, teachers, grocery clerks. delivery drivers, food processors, and we gave them a new label “essential”, when the COVID-19 pandemic swept across America. Before this event, we had spent the better part of forty years ignoring the worsening plight of working class people, often doing thankless jobs, here in America.  “Essential” before this, they were not, by any measure.  We did not pay them enough, protect their health enough or even thank them enough.  The question is as the pandemic ebbs, has their status in our society really changed?  You would think that in the face of a worker shortage (though our guest says it can be more aptly described as a “surplus of bad jobs”)we would bestow more value and benefits as a society and as companies.  In his book, “Essential” How the Pandemic Transformed the Long Fight for Worker Justice,” Jamie McCallum makes the argument that some progress is being made, but it’s not nearly enough.  We will give you a framework for discussing this important topic in your community and workplace on this podcast.