WHEN WE THINK OF ESSENTIAL WORKERS we immediately think about doctors and nurses and police and firefighters. Essential? Absolutely.
But this corona virus emergency shows us many essential workers don’t have badges or wear uniforms. Neither do many of our new heroes. They are just regular, everyday folks, doing their regular, everyday jobs. Think about it.
Just think about all the people who are actually keeping us safe and clean and healthy before the virus hits its peak. And all the people we will need once the worst of this emergency has passed.
Usually forgotten; absolutely essential
Who would have thought that so many of the usually forgotten would become so essential to all of us in this fight for our lives?
Who would have thought that cleaners and janitors would be called on to be on our first line of defence? But they are. So are the truck drivers and the people who work at Shoppers Drug Mart who we turned to when almost everything else was closing. So are the people behind the counter at restaurants passing us our orders and the line cooks behind them preparing a hot meal for seniors and the most vulnerable among us.
Doctors and nurses are the definition of essential. But they are not magic. They could not do all we expect and get from them without the support of the intake and reception staff, nursing assistants and all the unseen lab technicians.
Long-term care homes are virus hot spots. But personal care workers, cleaners, and cooks go in to work every day, just the same.
Home support workers and social workers are on the job. They look after people who already have the virus and they still do all they can to protect children and women who may be at risk of not just illness, but abuse.
All these workers—and many, many more—are easily forgotten. They shouldn’t be. What they do is essential. They do it all with little or no regard to their own safety.
Unseen, unnoticed, undervalued and underpaid
There are thousands, maybe millions, of forgotten essential workers, like the postal workers who are delivering our mail and soon, we hope, support from the federal government to allow us to readjust and carry on. Like the sanitation workers who are taking away our waste and the grocery clerks who are restocking the shelves every night, so we can continue to eat, as we isolate and protect ourselves and our communities.
So many people who are unseen, unnoticed, undervalued and underpaid.
We salute all of them. We have not forgotten you. We see you and support you.
And when this crisis is over we are going to do everything we can to make sure that you are recognized, respected and paid what you really deserve.
It's what all heroes deserve.
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