People choose to celebrate Labor Day in a variety of ways, the long weekend most people receive as an added perk. This year, when we take the day off, let’s take a moment to honor our workers. Since COVID-19 began there have been efforts to recognize and appreciate essential workers, those putting themselves on the line every day to keep us safe and comfortable. Finding a way to honor workers is right in the spirit of Labor Day!
Doctors, always critical to society, have been even more important during the pandemic. But so many related positions often go unnoticed and unthanked. Aside from doctors, many others work in healthcare--nurses, phlebotomists, admitting and insurance workers, janitors, laundry workers, lab workers and myriad assistants, therapists and technicians work right up against COVID-19 to keep us safe, putting themselves at risk of infection in the process. Beyond hospitals, we shouldn't forget all of the caregivers, mental health professionals, those working in labs to find a cure, pharmacists, social workers and dentists who are also doing their best to help us stay healthy.
There is so much we take for granted in our day to day lives but now, more than ever, let’s thank the people who keep our lives running smoothly. Food and agriculture workers, grocery store employees, and everyone in the chain that gets food from the farm to our table (farmers, food processors, warehouse workers, and delivery drivers, to name a few) help us stay fed. Restaurant and fast-food workers and delivery drivers give us that tiny bit of normalcy (along with a change of pace from our own cooking) that we crave right now.
We rely on energy and water every day, let’s remember and support utilities workers, telecommunications staffers, natural gas and propane workers, the electricity industry, and the employees needed to operate and maintain drinking water and wastewater/drainage infrastructure. Think about everyone in transit, from the postal and shipping workers allowing you to online shop while stuck at home to the trash collectors, keeping our houses and streets sanitary. There are public workers working on dams, locks, levees, and bridges. There are communications and internet people: I can assure you I have been relying heavily on WiFi and service while stuck at home. Where would I be without the wireline, wireless, and cable service providers? Those who work in satellite operations, the manufacturers and distributors of communications equipment, and workers who support radio, television, and media services? How about our electrical engineers? The list goes on and on. There are many who make my life comfortable and convenient every day but now more than ever, as we sit at home in quarantine, it is important to remember, respect, and support those who are still out working.
Here are a couple of suggestions for ways to offer support and love. Make a sign: there are so many supporting so many people out there more, add to the joy! If you can, consider donating. There are COVID relief funds but not all donations have to be monetary. There is always a need for PPE gear and many homeless shelters still need food and help with food prep. Tipping the essential workers around you will not go unnoticed or unappreciated. Many cities have been making noise in the evenings to show support - in Portland, OR, we are banging pots at 7 PM. Show kindness. And of course, stay home unless absolutely necessary! Don’t needlessly put others at risk.
(Essential worker lists provided by Fortune.com)