Letter: Essential Workers Deserve Thanks, Not Attack


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Essential workers throughout Connecticut are courageously serving their communities and keeping our state running during this public health emergency. Despite their sacrifice, Red Jahncke uses this pandemic as an excuse to continue bashing public service workers. 

Besides being riddled with errors and mistruths (e.g. public workers have faced significant cuts to their workforce including layoffs ), Jahncke fails to acknowledge that essential workers are putting themselves and their loved ones at risk every day when they go to work. 

Essential workers that Jahncke so quickly derides are state police, firefighters, unemployment counselors and claim handlers, nurses, child abuse investigators, correctional officers and countless others still coming to work in the middle of a pandemic. To belittle them while he seems to be able to follow Gov. Lamont’s “stay home, stay safe” order is ridiculous and patently unfair. 

I know firsthand what it means to be an essential worker. I work at Stop and Shop keeping families in my community fed. My union was able to negotiate a 10% raise and additional paid time off to recognize the challenging nature of our work while COVID-19 ravages our state. For state workers to only get a 3.5% raise while they are becoming sick by the hundreds, and risking death, it seems unfair not for the bump but for how little they will be getting. 

As of April 14, nearly 120 Department of Correction workers have contracted the novel coronavirus. This represents a disproportionate number of workers who have become sick in relation to their total employment. Their job is dangerous enough without a pandemic. Numerous police officers, fire fighters, grocery store workers, and many others have also become sick. More needs to be done to protect them. So save your ridicule and attacks, and let’s do even more to support all of our state’s essential workers, public or private sector. 

Douglas Senn

Senn is a meat cutter at Stop & Shop and a member of UFCW Local 371