Tag Archives: Essential Workers

Pandemic Year Pushes a Daughter of Custodians to Fight for Her Mom’s Profession

by Sally James


For the daughter of two custodians, a process that started with bringing coffee and bread to custodians in  their workplaces one year ago swelled into an advocacy and lobbying effort. She wants to ensure that custodians receive preference for the COVID-19 vaccine — as well as better wages, hazard pay, and increased status in society.

Evalynn Fae Taganna Romano identifies as Filipino and white. Her mother emigrated to Seattle from the Philippines. Her father, who died almost two decades ago, was born in Seattle but was the son of immigrants from Turkey. Romano lives in Beacon Hill and is a graduate student studying public health and social work at the University of Washington (UW). 

Her year of helping and valuing custodians “made me think about how human lives are valued in our society and custodians, many of whom are immigrants and refugees, are often overlooked,” she told the Emerald in an interview.  

Continue reading Pandemic Year Pushes a Daughter of Custodians to Fight for Her Mom’s Profession

State’s Essential Workers Added With Educators in Qualifying for Vaccine on March 22

by Andrew Engelson


In an online press conference on Thursday, March 4, Gov. Jay Inslee announced that in the coming weeks the State would make essential workers, such as agricultural workers, grocery store employees, and law enforcement officers, eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine on March 22. This comes a day after he announced, upon prompting from the Biden administration, to immediately make all educators, school staff, and child care workers eligible to be vaccinated.

Continue reading State’s Essential Workers Added With Educators in Qualifying for Vaccine on March 22

Essential Workers — Including Those in Health Care — Hit Hard by COVID-19 and Environmental Health Threats

by Jadenne Cabahug


Edna Cortez has worked as a registered nurse at Seattle Children’s Hospital for the past 30 years — and she received a commemorative pin to mark the occasion. Cortez wears another pin these days during the pandemic: she places a button with a picture of her face on top of her scrub hat to help her young patients feel less afraid. 

She usually keeps her face covered while working, like all nurses do during the pandemic. Cortez has to wear full personal protective equipment (PPE), including masks, goggles, face shields, and gowns. Not everyone has access to the same equipment, or the right kind.

Cortez is among the state’s essential workers — in health care and other professions  — who have been put at higher risk from COVID-19 and other environmental health factors in 2020.

Continue reading Essential Workers — Including Those in Health Care — Hit Hard by COVID-19 and Environmental Health Threats

OPINION: What’s it like to be striking for your life in a pandemic? (Seguridad y Salud)

by Johnny Mao and Johnny Fikru



Farmworkers are striking for their families and for everyone in Washington State. Without receiving the necessary protections for COVID-19, they pose a danger to the ones they love — and that is simply unjust. 

Four-hundred and fifty farmworkers at six different fruit packaging plants have decided to protect their lives and health with the only option they have left: strikes, pickets and hunger strikes. They are demanding protections from COVID-19, hazard pay, and an end to retaliation from management. This is all taking place in the county with the highest rate of COVID-19 cases spiking on the West Coast.

Continue reading OPINION: What’s it like to be striking for your life in a pandemic? (Seguridad y Salud)

“This is not a game” — Union Members Hold Vigil for Essential Workers Struck by COVID-19

by Elizabeth Turnbull


Standing around luminarias made from candles and brown paper bags, a small group of SEIU6 Property Services NW (SEIU6) union members gathered late on Thursday night under the Bank of America building located at 800 5th Ave. in downtown Seattle.

At roughly 10:00 p.m., the union members took turns placing roses on a sign that read, “in remembrance of our fallen essential worker.” Continue reading “This is not a game” — Union Members Hold Vigil for Essential Workers Struck by COVID-19