One year ago, the COVID-19 pandemic upended our lives, transformed work, and temporarily shut down many non-essential businesses. The last year has seen an outpouring of gratitude for essential workers, whose critical and often low-paid work has kept the country functioning. Millions of these essential workers have risked their health on the COVID-19 frontline, while thousands have lost their lives. A year into the pandemic, these workers still deserve far more than thanks and praise—but decent pay, protections, and power remain out of reach for millions of workers.
On Thursday, March 18, the Metropolitan Policy Program hosted an event honoring frontline essential workers. The event highlighted innovative local, state, and federal programs that have supported essential workers and identify the policy priorities that remain.
Jared Bernstein, member of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, opened the program by highlighting the Biden-Harris administration’s policy priorities supporting essential workers. Then, Brookings Rubenstein Fellow Molly Kinder discussed Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 Hazard Pay Grant with Governor Tom Wolf and Seattle’s Hazard Pay Mandate with Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda.
Viewers submitted questions by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or tweeting to @BrookingsMetro using the hashtag #EssentialWorkers.
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