Dear SLHTA Members,
This Labor Day will stand out in our memory like none ever before.
Known predominantly as a labor union celebration of the economic and social significance of workers, this May Day – at the height of the COVID-19 crisis – makes us look at the contributions of workers in new and striking ways.
Across the world we now appreciate that really essential workers are not always the ones with the prestige, and that the humblest of them, shop workers, bus drivers, nurses and others, have been literally putting their lives on the line to keep our communities on track. Notwithstanding the depth of this crisis, we also applaud those volunteers who continue to give freely and tirelessly to prepare and distribute hot meals and food baskets to the neediest among us. Our spirit of neighborliness is strong and defines us well beyond our professional commitments.
Whether we are employers of workers, workers ourselves or looking for work, we look back to the pre-COVID-19 period, and suddenly realize that we took for granted our ability to operate a business or to work for one. And we also all realize that we did not give enough thought to what a “rainy day” would really look like.
The shockwaves of business closures, loss of employment and loss of income are still sending daily ripples across the world and, let’s be honest, an end to this unprecedented crisis is not yet in sight.
So let us use May Day 2020 not only to celebrate the enormous contributions of all workers, but also to take time to examine how together we can better protect our precious essential workers in the future.
Once business has restarted, let us also seriously consider a Pension Fund, Hospitality Worker Disaster Relief Fund, and the creation of an unemployment protection scheme.
Similarly, we have to implement better essential health protection, while on the educational and training front let us do what we can to create more opportunities for our workers to gain professional knowledge and qualifications to move up the career ladder and guarantee a work environment that is as rewarding mentally as it is economically.
To better and brighter days.