Many Companies Are Failing Their Essential Workers

The pandemic has cast a spotlight on essential workers, but many say their employers are not doing enough to protect them, according to Vox.

Some Walgreens employees say their management, initially, gave them the option of wearing jeans to work before supplying them with masks which did not arrive until weeks into March as the Coronavirus crisis worsened.

“Every job should be a safe job, no one should be risking their lives, and one of the biggest problems with trying to incentivize people to work in unsafe conditions is that it is inevitably condescending,” Celine McNichols, director of government affairs and labor counsel at the Economic Policy Institute, said.

The safety of its employees is a “top priority,” according to a Walgreens spokesperson.

The company later gave employees a one-time bonus in March, $300 for full-time workers and $150 for part-time.

Walgreens said it is also now following federal safety guidelines and has since instituted social distancing, added plexiglass shields to protect workers and began giving them face masks last month.

A group of McDonald’s workers in Monterey Park near Los Angeles walked off the job more than once in March, demanding a two-week quarantine and that the store be cleaned. One ended up hospitalized with the Coronavirus and on a ventilator. 

Employees have since achieved some of their demands, and the corporation said they are a priority. However, many essential workers nationwide are still concerned they are not being valued or given enough basic protections.