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This Labor Day, we owe a special debt to essential workers - East Bay Times; September 6, 2020

Updated: Sep 23, 2020

BARHII is proud to have contributed to an article published in the September 6, 2020 edition of the East Bay Times.

About 30% of workers continued working during shelter-in-place, often at personal risk, so the rest of us could shelter safely at home. This article examines statistics related to essential workers while reflecting on the debt owed to them for their work.

Key quotes from the article include:

“Since March, approximately 30% of workers continued working, often at great personal risk, so the rest of us could shelter safely at home.”

“It’s time we put essential workers, disproportionately people of color, at the top of our list and made sure they have the supports in place to be safe and healthy.”

“The mortality rate for Black, Latinx and Pacific Islanders under the age of 65 is 2½ to 4 times their share of the state’s population. Cal/OSHA has received over 3,500 complaints about workplace safety concerns since the launch of the pandemic.”

“Ensure paid leave for every worker: Everyone’s health is protected if everybody can get paid to stay home if they’re sick. Without a federal or statewide comprehensive effort to protect workers, local governments must act to fill in the gaps.”

“Keep workers housed: Californians already were struggling to pay for housing before the pandemic, many working two or three jobs to pay rent. Essential workers shouldn’t be worried about homelessness or eviction, especially after working so hard to be sure the rest of us are healthy.”

“Expand access to county mental health services: The big three requests right now from people seeking community services by calling 211 are for food, housing and mental health services. It’s time to invest in access to mental health, whether via telehealth or additional community outreach. Essential workers are dealing with increased stressors as they face putting their lives at risk every day.”

“Enforce labor protections: Cal/OSHA is underfunded, understaffed and ill-equipped to investigate the thousands of complaints pouring in. Essential workers can’t wait for that infrastructure to be created. Local officials should immediately develop workplace emergency standards for COVID-19 and use CAREs Act funds to enforce them.”

“Counties have an array of tools to protect, treat and strengthen the health of essential workers, even during a pandemic. They have been taking care of us. It’s only fair that we use our collective resources to care for them.”

View the article BARHII contributed to here.


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