We are living in a historic moment. The Minnesota Historical Society is collecting and preserving Minnesotans’ stories related to the COVID-19 health crisis so future generations can learn how the pandemic has impacted our lives. We invite you to read a sampling of these stories here and to share your story.
We all depend on the essential workers
In the pastel drawing, "Essential Worker Portrait #1 - Grocery Cashier and Bagger," I was inspired by my family. My daughter is a cashier/bagger at a Minneapolis grocery store. I have listened to the extensive effort managers and workers have gone through to make the store safer for workers and shoppers. The essential workers, like my daughter, make about $12.50/hr. Management upped their pay an additional $2/hour (hazard pay) with the governor’s "Stay at Home" order which was helpful—financially and mentally. Now the hazard pay may be going away and the virus is still here. Not any safer she says.
It’s exhausting work but necessary. They disinfect everything, again and again, knowing it's important work. She’s happy for the work and to be where she is. She appreciates her coworkers’ and managers’ consideration for them. Folks look out for each other to the best of their ability but it is still a stressful job. I sewed her masks and she gave some to coworkers. I’ll sew some more and send them again. I'm sure this story is shared by many families. We all depend on the essential workers.
Credit Image: Essential Worker Portrait #1 - Grocery Cashier and Bagger, pastel by Carolyn Sue Olson. See more from Olson’s Essential Workers series.