essential workers essential workers
Stories About

essential workers

People lined up to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at a mass vaccination site in Disneyland's parking lot in Anaheim, Calif. on Jan. 13. The state says all residents 65 or older are now eligible to receive the vaccine. Mario Tama/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Mario Tama/Getty Images

In 2020, Willy Solis became a voice for thousands of gig workers at Target-owned Shipt, leading calls for better treatment and pay during the pandemic and beyond. Courtesy of Willy Solis hide caption

toggle caption
Courtesy of Willy Solis

How The Pandemic Turned An Introvert Into A Voice For Gig Workers

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/949788920/950639552" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Gen. Gustave Perna tells NPR that if a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine is approved by the Food and Drug Administration in December, "10 to 30 million doses of vaccine will be available that we can start distributing" in the United States. Chip Somodevilla/AP hide caption

toggle caption
Chip Somodevilla/AP

Operation Warp Speed's Logistics Chief Weighs In On Vaccine Progress

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/933060635/933265321" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

A pre-pandemic Seattle supermarket boasts row after row of prepackaged snacks. Even before the coronavirus pandemic put extra stress on grocery workers, keeping shelves stocked with the variety that Americans have come to expect took a hidden toll on producers, distributors and retail workers, says author Benjamin Lorr. David Ryder/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
David Ryder/Getty Images

Tekiah Elzey is using Coworker.org to petition for hazard pay to be restored at the New Seasons Market where she works in Portland, Ore. Chloe Meeske hide caption

toggle caption
Chloe Meeske

Power Of The Petition: Nonprofit Helps Front-Line Workers Fight For Their Rights

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/923476974/923600380" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals panel ruled that the plaintiffs failed to prove that racial animus was a factor when the administration canceled temporary protected status for four countries. Jeff Chiu/AP hide caption

toggle caption
Jeff Chiu/AP

A triage team screens patients outside the Emergency Department at Owensboro Health. The hospital lost two-thirds of its revenue while elective surgeries were halted, but it didn't lay off any workers. Owensboro Health hide caption

toggle caption
Owensboro Health

Kentucky City Enjoys Booming Economy Amid Pandemic As Rest Of Country Reels

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/909630002/909660281" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Kern County, shown here in April, is one of eight counties in California's Central Valley that will receive federal funding and resources to help relieve inundated hospitals and mitigate the spread of COVID-19. George Rose/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
George Rose/Getty Images

A fish-plant worker processes seafood at Blue Harvest Fisheries in New Bedford, Mass. Workers were provided face shields to prevent the spread of the coronavirus on the plant floor. Josh Souza/Special to The Public's Radio hide caption

toggle caption
Josh Souza/Special to The Public's Radio

This City's Coronavirus Safety Measures Could Become Best Practices

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/890752881/892393134" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

As coronavirus cases persist and some states even backtrack their reopening plans, essential workers have flooded social media with calls for hazard pay. Malte Mueller/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Malte Mueller/Getty Images

When Essential Workers Earn Less Than The Jobless: 'We Put The Country On Our Back'

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/882957793/885878618" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

More than half of New York City's households don't have access to a car. Across the country, people without vehicles are weighing their options — or lack thereof — as the pandemic adds a new risk to public transit. Gabby Jones/Bloomberg via Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Gabby Jones/Bloomberg via Getty Images

CDC Now Recommends Driving Alone. But What If You Don't Have A Car?

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/874750935/878853047" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Dr. Lauren Jenkins reads to her twin sons, Pierce and Ashton, while wearing her "hazmat" suit. Because lung cancer has compromised her husband's immune system, Jenkins moved out of her home and visited in the suit as a precaution. Courtesy of Lauren Jenkins hide caption

toggle caption
Courtesy of Lauren Jenkins

She's A Frontline Doctor. Her Husband Has Lung Cancer. Now, A Simple Hug Is Dangerous

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/868966713/872470163" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Parkview Early Learning Center in Spokane, Wash., has been operating at one-third capacity under pandemic guidelines. Co-owner Luc Jasmin III says it has been tough to turn away parents, many of whom are essential workers. Kathryn Garras hide caption

toggle caption
Kathryn Garras

Bartolomé Perez of Los Angeles has cooked at McDonald's for 30 years. He helped stage a walkout at his restaurant in April after a coworker tested positive for COVID-19. Courtesy of the Fight for $15 and a Union hide caption

toggle caption
Courtesy of the Fight for $15 and a Union

Virginia State Sen. Jennifer McClellan, D-Richmond, is joined by Del. Lamont Bagby, D-Henrico, (far left), and other members of the state's Legislative Black Caucus in November 2019. On Wednesday, the VLBC sent a letter to Gov. Ralph Northam opposing his plans to start reopening the state on May 15. Steve Helber/AP hide caption

toggle caption
Steve Helber/AP

Willy Solis, who delivers groceries for the app Shipt in Denton, Texas, says the coronavirus pandemic has elevated the voices of workers like him, who are risking their lives to do essential jobs. Courtesy of Willy Solis hide caption

toggle caption
Courtesy of Willy Solis

More Essential Than Ever, Low-Wage Workers Demand More

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/843849435/846514634" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript