Over the last 10 weeks, the term "essential" has been used often to describe those doing the work required to keep our systems from working as well as possible. It's a group that includes individuals working in healthcare, fulfillment, grocery, delivery and more.
While the term is applied broadly, it seems it's often only done so on the surface. Too many essential workers are underpaid and under appreciated. Healthcare is a luxury that isn't provided to many of those working in these jobs, and the pay is typically only marginally better than minimum wage, if at all. Covid outbreaks have been common at meat packing facilities, Amazon has had numerous problems at their own warehouses, and grocery cashiers are expected to interact "safely" with dozens of strangers each day in a confined space.
This isn't the way to show people they are essential. While Walmart, amazon and target see record ecommerce numbers, they do so at the expense of the health of many individuals. Without the frontline workers powering these business, they wouldn't be able to operate, let alone surge right now.
The services provided by frontline workers are essential to making the big companies work. Too often people are treated as replaceable parts.