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An Open Letter of Gratitude to the Working Class

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

These past two years have been hard on everyone, but it’s the working class who took the brunt of it. People who couldn’t afford to stay home during quarantine, who couldn’t afford proper medical care, and lost loved ones to COVID as a result. People who deal with rude customers and bad management all while getting paid far less than a living wage. 

Beyond the pandemic, these past couple of years have been filled with disappointments. Biden’s broken promises of student debt cancellation and raising the federal minimum wage are just two of the recent factors that have made life for working-class people increasingly difficult. And it seems that everyone is waking up to a certain reality: we deserve better.

There is a labor shortage right now, and businesses are having a difficult time finding people to hire. Some are raising their wages from just above minimum wage to $15 an hour, and still, they cannot find people to work for them. Workers are quitting en masse and it’s all because of this realization that we deserve better. We deserve better than a $15 minimum wage, which is still unlivable when inflation is accounted for. We deserve better than poor working conditions and employers who treat us unfairly. 

Additionally, since this summer several major strikes have occurred and the workers have been winning. In July, workers at the Frito-Lay plant in Topeka, Kansas went on strike to demand better conditions and they won. In August, Nabisco plant workers across the country were on strike for over a month and won increases in pay as well as other policy changes they had been fighting for. Kellogg’s workers have been on strike since early October and are still going strong as they demand better healthcare policies, holiday and retirement benefits, and higher wages. 

All around the country, it feels like something is changing. People are standing up for themselves and the class struggle is moving to the front of the public consciousness once more. Maybe it’s because the pandemic further exposed and exacerbated the fact that our country has failed to provide for its people. Or maybe it’s that things are particularly tumultuous lately, with issues like climate change and racial strife hanging over everyone’s heads and people are thinking more about our society’s problems. Either way, it’s the working class, especially working-class people of color, that are leading the charge to address these issues.

So this isn’t a letter of gratitude thanking workers for their service, or for sucking it up and taking it with a smile on their faces. No, it’s the exact opposite of that. I want to thank every worker who has decided not to put up with it any longer. Who has quit, gone on strike, told off their boss, or simply realized that they deserve better. 

A better world is possible, but only if ordinary people have the strength to stand up and demand it. So thank you for doing that.

Hi!! My name is Greta and I'm from Columbus, Ohio. I'm a sophomore history major at Denison who is very passionate about social justice and community organizing. Some of my favorite pastimes include going thrifting, reading, and listening to music.
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