Essential Workers and Classism: A Research Paper

English 101

Topic: Essential Workers and Classism ( My specific topic is to research how Covid-19 has affected different industries of workers). The importance of essential workers to the economy in this coronavirus. Income inequality and wealth distribution The impact of the global pandemic on the income and life of essential workers Nursing and doctors took the […]

Essential Workers and Classism


Social media platforms are gradually being utilized as direct news sources, bypassing the editorial media. With millions of users, Facebook and Twitter have become platforms have become main online information channels and platforms for mass communication. Everyone is instructed to stay at home due to the current pandemic. The governments pass a clear message to the citizens that people are in the current pandemic together. However, the reality is that the coronavirus pandemic affects people very differently based on the type of job one has and the sector in that one works[1]. For the time being, the pandemic highlights how many key community workers, including delivery drivers, supermarket employees, and carers, are in extremely precarious situations. Hence, a social media campaign through Facebook and Twitter demonstrates that COVID-19, in many ways, is a magnifying glass demonstrating the depth of inequity that characterizes society.

The Importance of Essential Workers to the Economy in this Coronavirus

States in the US are struggling with the dual challenges of a public health crisis resulting from COVID-19 and the supplementary economic fallout of essential social distancing measures. For example, figure one below demonstrates that in this COVID-19 pandemic, a workforce supports Californians who are sheltering in place, keeping the development of the economy, and dealing with the public health crisis[2]. The essential workers fulfil the following roles in the economy: carriage, energy provision, health care services, and food service. In these sectors, some of the employees are seeing reductions in hours and layoffs based on their region, firm, and industry. Overall, regardless of these challenges, the essential workforce supports the state’s basic and economic health needs despite not being well prepared to weather the economic challenges of the crisis resulting from COVID-19.

Figure 1: Range of occupation areas in California’s essential workforce[3]

Income Inequality and Wealth Distribution

Consequently, a deep worldwide recession is unavoidable as a result of such measures due to imposed lockdowns. Based on figure two, this has touched workers on every continent, causing income inequality and wealth distribution. For instance, María Fernanda Peralta from Argentina was a musician at a hotel in Abu Dhabi hotel in the previous year. Nonetheless, she returned to Buenos Aires since her manager did not renew her contract due to COVID-19. With no income, Fernanda is further worried about the economic fallout in her country, which was, by this time, suffering from a devalued currency and rampant inflation. Ma Yanping from China asserted that sales from her seafood business disappeared this year due to the spread of COVID-19 in the region[4]. At least a dozen other merchants lost their earnings at the bazaar where she does business. From Ghana, Freda Obeng-Ampofo argues that her company had to shut down operations to safeguard the safety and health of its workforce. Since her current work is not something people can do from home, this impacts the workers since they support many people in their families. Therefore, not paying them leads to many negative trade-offs in their lives.

Figure 2: Half a billion people could live in poverty due to coronavirus[5]

The Impact of Global Pandemic on the Income and Life of Essential Workers

Figure 3: Essential workers live near the poverty line and are paid low wages[6]

Workers all over the globe are struggling to deal with the economic effect resulting from the spread of COVID-19. Figure three above depicts the concept of income inequality and wealth distribution. Workers in the healthcare sector, such as registered nurses, are on the front lines of the current public health crisis. It is critical work where consultants have a two-or-four-year degree. Also, they receive fairly high incomes ($52.32 an hour). On the contrary, personal care aides, encompassing those who aid people such as the elderly in their personal care facilities or homes, are the single prevalent vital occupation classification outside of the health care sector. Figure three shows that, contrary to registered nurses, 85% of these workers do not have a college degree and earn $13.50 an hour[7]. The pay and skill differences lead to noticeable variances in the financial well-being of these employees and their households. Truck and delivery drives, grocery store cashiers, farm workers, and store clerks make up a considerable portion of the essential workforce. Therefore, based on figure three, some of these employees are likely to encounter hardship in caring for their youngsters or family members with care facilities and schools shuttered, given their low hourly wage rates.

Nurses and Doctors took the Same Risk in the Current COVID-19 pandemic but have Big Different Incomes.

Figure 4: Salaries for chosen DHS-designated essential employees with regular proximity to others, 2018[8]

Around the US, many workers in nursing homes are losing pay after being forced to quarantine or catching COVID-19. Figure four above has produced significant results demonstrating that while millions of healthcare practitioners, therapists, and nurses are getting higher salaries, millions of other essential employees do not. With little doubt, this is an undesirable development for individuals who earn little pay in some of the nation’s most infected places of work. Federal guidance, in the nonexistence of universal testing for COVID-19, requires all ill nursing home workers to stay away from work until they are free from symptoms, such as cough and fever, for 72 hours before returning to work. Nursing assistants make a median wage of $13.38 per hour despite being the most common workers in nursing homes[9]. Arguably, that pay is less than half the typical hourly earnings in the US for employees in all sectors. Also, many of them lack enough savings to forgo weeks of income. Moreover, these workers cannot afford to take time off because they have families to support and are well below the poverty level. Overall, in the labour market, these inequalities are, in large part, is as a result of businesses’ cost-cutting and deregulation of how they operate.


In summary, COVID-19 has impacted different industries of workers leading to classism. The current analysis has demonstrated that many gig workers do not make the minimum wage and are not qualified for employment protection. Many of these employees are on the frontline, including deliverers, food producers, and care workers. With little doubt, these key personnel require the same security level as employees. Therefore, regardless of income, a universal basic income would offer all populations money and ensure protection for each individual in the community.


Bohn, Sarah, Marisol Cuellar Mejia, and Julien Lafortune. “Essential Workers and COVID-19.” Public Policy Institute of California, May 12, 2020.

Chown, Aaron. “Some Nursing Homes Get Virus Aid But Don’t Pay Infected Workers.” Bloomberg BNA News, 2020.

Harrison, Patricia, and Helen Collins. “Coronavirus Shows Key Workers Need Better Pay and Protection – Here’s What Has to Change.” The Conversation, May 1, 2020.

McCarthy, Niall, and Felix Richter. “Infographic: Covid-19 Could Push Half A Billion People Into Poverty.” Statista Infographics, April 9, 2020.

McSweeney, Eoin. “15 Countries, 16 People. How Workers Are Coping with Coronavirus.” CNN. Cable News Network. Accessed June 10, 2020.

Tomer, Adie, and Joseph Kane. “How to Protect Essential Workers during COVID-19.” Brookings. Brookings, March 31, 2020.


  1. Patricia Harrison and Helen Collins, “Coronavirus Shows Key Workers Need Better Pay and Protection – Here’s What Has to Change,” The Conversation, May 1, 2020, 
  2. Bohn, Sarah, Marisol Cuellar Mejia, and Julien Lafortune. “Essential Workers and COVID-19.” Public Policy Institute of California, May 12, 2020.

  3. Sarah et al., “Essential Workers and COVID-19.” 
  4. Eoin McSweeney, “15 Countries, 16 People. How Workers Are Coping with Coronavirus,” CNN (Cable News Network), accessed June 10, 2020, 
  5. Niall McCarthy and Felix Richter, “Infographic: Covid-19 Could Push Half A Billion People Into Poverty,” Statista Infographics, April 9, 2020, 
  6. Sarah et al., 
  7. Sarah et al., 
  8. Adie Tomer and Joseph Kane, “How to Protect Essential Workers during COVID-19,” Brookings (Brookings, March 31, 2020), 
  9. Aaron Chown, “Some Nursing Homes Get Virus Aid But Don’t Pay Infected Workers,” Bloomberg BNA News, January 2020, 

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Published On: 01-01-1970

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