This is why we elected Joe Biden
President Joe Biden has done a lot of good things for American workers, but one of the best things he did came in the form of an executive order. President Biden’s executive order allows workers to turn down jobs and remain on benefits under certain conditions. Unlike Donald Trump, who couldn’t have cared less about American workers, President Biden hoped to protect citizens who did not want to work in unsafe conditions.
Back in May, NPR reported on workers who were hesitant to return to low-paying, dangerous jobs. They spoke with a preschool teacher who was dreading the reopening of her school. Not only would she make less upon her return, but she was constantly faced with sick children. She called it the “epicenter for spreading disease,” and with COVID-19 on the loose, she was not looking forward to returning to that environment. NPR also spoke to a Cracker Barrel worker who said that he is frankly afraid the pandemic is not over and returning to serving rooms full of strangers at low pay was not attractive. Republicans call these people “lazy” because they prefer to not return to their jobs, but Republicans do not know what it is like to live paycheck to paycheck, let alone live with the same fears. Thanks to President Biden’s executive order, these two did not have to immediately return to environments in which they felt unsafe, but the executive order did one more thing that no one expected: People want to do better than they were doing before, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
As a piece in Salon stated: “The reality is that workers in the COVID-19 era aren’t growing lazy. They’re growing empowered.” Salon spoke with several of these newly empowered workers to get to the heart of this issue. One man said that his work environment was “toxic” before the pandemic, and it only became worse. He said that his employer found a “loophole,” declaring the workers “essential” and forcing them into unsafe work environments, especially because he failed to follow CDC guidelines to keep them safe. The U.S. is not a country where people can be forced into dangerous conditions. The same employer also made fun of employees who were afraid rather than providing a safe environment for them, which is wrong on every level. It merely shows that, once again, corporations and their leadership care extraordinarily little for the very people who keep them operational. While Republicans want to force these people back to work, claiming their refusal to work is hurting the economy, economists disagree.
Salon spoke with several economists about the issue, and those economics said that “workers demanding decent treatment as a precondition to actually working is a positive social and economic development.” Overall, this phenomenon will allow workers to demand better pay and working conditions, which ultimately benefits the economy, as people who have more money spend more money. This is not the 1800s, and workers are not slaves. They must be paid a decent wage to excel at life. When everyone excels, the entire population benefits.
Shirley is a former entertainment writer and has worked in the legal field for over 25 years