Essential workers are risking their lives on a daily basis to make sure the rest of us can get the supplies we need to shelter in place properly. They include grocery store workers, delivery people, postal workers, healthcare workers, restaurant workers, sanitation workers, and more. Many of them make minimum wage. And many of them are not making any extra for putting their lives on the line.
Some companies have attempted to "thank" their workers with such tiny gestures as bags of candy and pun-filled notes. It's insulting, and it's happening more than you realize.
Twitter user @milkvamp posted this baggie their friend received for working at Walmart. Instead of hazard pay and benefits, they got a few pieces of candy and a beer coozy. It's awful. Some pointed out that management has no control over their pay and was just trying to do something nice, and sure. But that doesn't mean this doesn't point to a much larger problem.
Whole Foods employees received t-shirts proclaiming them to be "heroes" instead of providing their employees with masks and adequate hero pay, not to mention enough paid time off. Whole Foods, of course, is owned by Amazon, which has been notorious for treating its employees terribly, even before the pandemic. Speaking of Amazon...
Can you imagine putting on a mask, working tirelessly all day in a warehouse or out making deliveries for Amazon despite the health threat, and getting this, a single packet of Crystal Light lemonade powder, in return? Meanwhile, Jeff Bezos is set to become a trillionaire. It's disgusting.
The squished Cadbury Creme Egg really gets me. And the "stay safe" note. It should say, "Have fun trying to 'stay safe' without an income or any support!"
Someone saw this at their local Family Dollar store. This sign is saying, "We aren't willing to donate to our essential workers during this time, so we're going to rely on you, the customer, to donate money so we can buy them candy." This is worse than just giving out the free candy!
A person who works at a post office posted this picture of what they received "instead of a pay raise." It's bonkers. The note is trying to be all cutesy, but it's so transparent. And Tootsie Rolls and Smarties? Those are two of the worst candies. This is worse than what I got for my two-year anniversary at a past job — not a raise, not a bonus, but a few Hershey's kisses and a token that said, "Good job."
The person who posted this wrote, "I guess this was better than nothing but it wasn't even given to all the employees." $25 worth of food might seem more generous than a bag of bad candy, but it's not doing much more to provide support to the people who need it the most right now.
Many people who are still working and risking their lives to do so are still working because they cannot afford not to. A cup doesn't help. Hazard pay does. Pay raises do. Paid time off does. These are the ways in which employers could show appreciation for their employees. But they choose not to.
This looks like a snack pack you'd get on a long plane ride. Instead, it's a "thank you" from "one of the biggest banks in the country," to OP's dad, who "has worked 11 hours a day for the last few months."
This person received a rubber bracelet declaring them essential...and nothing else. It's unconscionable. It really seems like a bad joke. The disparity between incomes of CEOS / top executives and low-wage workers, who are more often than not the ones on the front lines right now, is despicable.
more than I got - a pen that says “covid hero” and I work in healthcare— TurduckenWrath, mother of dragons (@boomdingwinning) May 24, 2020
Yikes. What an insult. Healthcare workers are putting themselves on the line to help others. Yet some are losing pay due to a lack of non-COVID patients. Some are forced to work even though they're sick. Some receive no benefits or paid time off so they can recover when they need to.
These "thank you" gifts are indicative of a completely broken system, one that's been bad for a long time but is coming to a head during this pandemic. COVID-19 has made it very clear which jobs are actually "essential," and none of them have to do with sitting in an office and collecting a giant paycheck while others work for pennies below you.