After a few weeks of acknowledging that “essential” work includes grocery stores employees and delivery personnel, in addition to doctors and nurses and EMTs, it appears that at least some employers believe that a return to “normalcy” is license to retract the increases in pay and benefits that have been extended as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
It is important to note that these individuals did not suddenly become essential because of the pandemic. We just never noticed how essential they have been all along.
The “pandemic raises” of as little as $2 an hour that were provided merely underscored that these essential employees are worth the extra money not only during a crisis, but before and after a crisis.
It should not be too onerous for corporate owners to extend those raises permanently. They might even extend a portion of any salary and benefit cuts they administered to themselves during the pandemic response to finance the extended recognition that our society, let alone their companies, cannot thrive without these historically undervalued employees on the job.
Jim Mullen, Seattle