One Essential Worker Details the Challenges he Faced During the COVID Pandemic

Home Depot Delivery Associate and college student, Juwan Finch, voiced his frustrations about the unfair distribution of the CARES Act stimulus. 

“I felt like no one cared about me,” said Finch. 

Finch, like many others, did not receive a stimulus package due to his dependency status on his parents’ tax report. 

According to CNBC, many college students are still claimed by their parents as dependents. But because they’re often age 17 or over, they’re not eligible to receive stimulus payments based on eligibility requirements in the CARES Act.

“I risked so much with little compensation,” said Finch. 

According to US House Representative, Jimmy Panetta, “42 members of Congress sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy supporting hazard pay and required workplace protections for essential frontline blue-collar workers keeping the economy afloat during the COVID-19 crisis.  Lawmakers urged Pelosi and McCarthy to require that employers protect workers on the job while providing them with hazard pay in future COVID-19 legislation.”

“It just wasn’t fair, I had to go to work while so many people were paid to just sit on their butts. I even contemplated quitting” Finch said.  

Those who were out of a job received hundreds of dollars during the economic shutdown. According to the Brookings Institution, “The failure of the federal government and most employers to provide hazard pay is especially detrimental to low-wage workers, who comprise nearly half of all frontline essential workers. As the pandemic-fueled recession deepens, many of these low-wage workers face additional financial hardship on top of elevated risks of infection. Nearly half of these low-wage frontline workers are nonwhite, with Black and Latino or Hispanic workers overrepresented among critical jobs that pay less than a living wage”.  

“I felt like I deserve something too and I hope that Congress would include essential workers into a new stimulus bill,” said Finch.

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