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A loyal labor force

Not a lot of good has come out of the COVID-19 crisis and mostly the microscopic virus has brought misery and dislocation to billions of people across the globe. But there are a few things that the pandemic has revealed. An old saying in the business world goes, “Only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked.” Maybe a corollary should be, “Only when the tide goes out do you discover the overlooked and under appreciated in our labor force.”

In my experience, few grocery store clerks, shelf stockers, bus drivers, janitors, garbage collectors and others performing essential services get much recognition at all. But with this virus racing across the globe, all of a sudden those ringing up our groceries, trucking in produce, driving public busses, collecting our garbage and performing other desperately needed services are the ones revealed in the best light. I’d say they are heroes but that word has been so overused and hackneyed in our culture, maybe we need to come up with other descriptors. I like the word stalwart. It means loyal, steady, trustworthy, and hardworking. It is the polar opposite of the fluffy celebrity trying desperately to stay relevant in this crisis with their Instagram posts and tweets.

Even before this crisis began I’ve always thought that the men and women plowing our roads in class 7 plow trucks at 2 in the morning and those driving RFTA busses on nasty icy roads in January deserved far more recognition. COVID-19 has forced us to look at our labor pool with new eyes. Those doing solid work at jobs that our lives and economy depend on — jobs that don’t pay well and that come with little glory — are the stalwart. I salute them.

Mark Harvey

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