The government, businesses, and individual people have shown their true colors during the country’s time of need. The pandemic helped the world open their eyes to how the country truly operates. The main themes being revealed during this time are greed and lack of basic human decency towards essential workers.
To eliminate the spread of the coronavirus, essential businesses stayed open and abided by specific guidelines. Essential workers consist of first responders, grocery store employees, sanitation workers, and warehouse employees. On top of their job duties, essential workers have to abide by new health guidelines and policies. With extreme precautions put in place, essential workers believed that their employers would have their best interests in mind.
Strikes and protests have occurred more frequently over the last few months
Although these strikes are coming from different people from all over the country, the demands look almost identical. Essential workers are demanding hazard pay, provided protective gear, and safe working conditions. Large corporate businesses such as Amazon, Walmart, Instacart, Shipt, and Target have been facing backlash for the treatment of their employees. The risk of exposure is higher for its employees. It would make sense to equip them with the necessary gear they need to stay safe.
Amazon was under fire for reports of unsafe work conditions back in 2019. Now, Amazon employees are one of the main essential workers participating in protests and walk-outs. According to The Guardian, “Amazon’s revenue topped $33 million an hour within the first three months of the pandemic.” Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos is projected to be a trillionaire by 2026. Meanwhile, six warehouse workers have been fired for protesting and speaking out on the lack of effort to keep its employees safe. Vice President of Amazon, Tim Bray, resigned at a protest after the company’s “chickenshit” decision to fire employees who raised concerns about their safety.
Essential workers are taking a stand everywhere and aren’t stopping until they get what they deserve
On May 1st, also known as International Workers’ Day, essential employees came together to protest and support. Protests took place in areas such as Staten Island, NY, California Bay Area, Los Angeles, Ohio, and Kentucky. The Washington Post stated employees from Instacart and Shipt spoke to them about the “attempts” the companies have taken to ensure their safety. “Flimsy masks and spilled hand sanitizer” were given to workers. Spokespeople from these companies have released statements about implementing better policies including a two-dollar raise for some places.
Job security falls in the parameters of keeping a job and feeling taken care of within the job. Some essential workers took to social media what they received ‘instead of extra pay or benefits’. Those employees felt as though they’re not as valued as their employers say they are.
These employees are putting their health on the line to carry on service for others but can’t get the decent protection they deserve. Instead, they face backlash for demanding better and holding these companies accountable. At the same time, the CEOs of these companies are continuing to make money and are unaffected by the same issues their employees face.