To the editor,

For many of us, Labor Day marks the final days of summer, one last weekend to throw a backyard barbecue before the school year begins.

This year, Labor Day — like everything else in our lives, is going to be much different. We likely won’t have any parades and even our get-togethers with loved ones should be masked and spaced six feet apart. Historically, Labor Day celebrates the contributions of America’s, regular ole working people- all the Betty and Bill Bobcat’s out there. This year my toast is going to be dedicated to a lot of very special people. No, not the “job creator” folks — hedge fund managers or CEOs will not make it into my toast. Instead, my glass will be held high to those who have to take their shower after work instead of before work. I’ll toast all those workers whose jobs have been looked down on over the years who now find themselves classified as “essential employees,” all while still getting the same crappy pay and benefits (if any at all) as they always have. You know who they are; they are the ones who have kept our country running through the COVID-19 pandemic. These folks kept the shelves stocked, served our food, kept our mail rolling, cared for the sick, kept improving our aging infrastructure and all the service folks. The list is endless; think about it. The only sacrifice many of us were asked to make was to stay home and be safe.

There are millions of America’s working people that have stepped up, risking their lives and livelihoods, to continuously go to work since the onset of COVID-19. Now we find ourselves itching to get the kids back in school. This adds more workers that society is asking to step up. Our educators and support staff in our schools will also become “essential employees”. No one should have to choose between risking their life or losing a paycheck. In our moments of great darkness, we must continue the fight for safe working conditions, hazard pay and paid sick leave. I would be remiss if I didn’t make a toast on Labor Day to honor all our brothers, sisters and friends who have fallen to COVID-19, especially those who became infected while on the job.

This Labor Day, let’s celebrate all of the working people who got us here and will keep us going. They are the true heroes of this pandemic and will be saving our collective butts, until the end. It will be workers, through their hard work and dedication that gets us through this crisis, of this I am certain.

Ted Linscott

Athens, Ohio

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