There was hope when the coronavirus began that it might prompt a profound change in the treatment and consideration given to the hourly workers and service industry employees whose toil was suddenly classified as “essential.”
Medical professionals have always held an esteemed place in society, so praise showered on them, though very much warranted, was in keeping with their station. Appreciation heaped on postal workers and grocery store clerks, restaurant employees and cleaning personnel represented something different.
These women and men often work in the margins, pocketing modest wages for work that is central to our communities. The pandemic put a spotlight on their efforts and brought them the sort of attention that type of grueling and invaluable work deserves.
It’s been a popular conversation in the intervening months, with many Americans resolved to tip better, to be more considerate and to not let such essential work go unnoticed, unrecognized or unfairly compensated.