Small logo Subscribe to leading news on impact investing. Learn More
The Brief Originals Dealflow Signals The Impact Alpha Impact Voices Podcasts Agents of Impact Open
What's Next Capital on the Frontier Measure Better Investing in Racial Equity Beyond Trade-offs Impact en las Americas New Revivalists
Local and Inclusive Climate Finance Catalytic Capital Frontier Finance Best Practices Geographies
Slack Agent of Impact Calls Events Contribute
The Archive ImpactSpace The Accelerator Selection Tool Network Map
About Us FAQ Calendar Pricing and Payment Policy Privacy Policy Terms of Service Agreement Contact Us
Locavesting Entrepreneurship Gender Smart Return on Inclusion Good Jobs Creative economy Opportunity Zones Investing in place Housing New Schooled Well Being People on the Move Faith and investing Inclusive Fintech
Clean Energy Farmer Finance Soil Wealth Conservation Finance Financing Fish
Innovative Finance
Personal Finance Impact Management
Africa Asia Europe Latin America Middle East Oceania/Australia China Canada India United Kingdom United States
Subscribe Log In

Agents of Impact: Essential workers

ImpactAlpha, April 3They are the ones who are going to get us through this. Not the bankers and CEOs, hedge fund managers nor even impact investors. Essential workers are the ones who are *not* working at home because they are, well, essential – ostensibly meaning valuable, not expendable.

Workers rose up across the country this week. “This is a cry for help,” said Amazon employee, Christian Smalls, who organized a walk-out of Amazon’s Staten Island warehouse to demand the company sanitize it after at least two workers tested positive for COVID-19. Just as no investor likes to take uncompensated risk, neither should workers. Smalls was fired. Employees of Amazon-owned Whole Foods staged a sick-out, demanding paid leave for self-quarantines, free COVID testing, and hazard pay. Bus drivers, garbage collectors, poultry workers and Instacart employees also walked out. Nurses at HCA Healthcare, the nation’s largest hospital chain, protested the lack of protection.

ImpactAlpha has recognized frontline health workers as Agents of Impact. So too are warehouse and retail clerks, delivery drivers and plant workers, farm hands and caregivers, COVID-19 has exposed the overlooked, underpaid workforce that keeps the economic wheels turning and lets the well-off virtually shelter in place. The full list of essential workers is here. “The working and the poor are more exposed,” said Ipsos pollster Cliff Young, who found nearly half of upper-middle employees were working at home, versus just 3% of workers in the lowest-income group.

Near Bakersfield, Calif., migrant farmworkers who don’t carry immigration documents do carry letters from their employer declaring them “critical to the food supply chain,” according to the Department of Homeland Security. “It’s like suddenly they realized we are here contributing,” Nancy Silva, an immigrant from Mexico, told The New York Times. In Massachusetts, union members asked GE to retool plants to make much-needed ventilators, rather than shut down.

Each of our stakeholders is essential,” CEOs declared last summer in redefining the purpose of a corporation. “Investing in our employees,” they went on, “starts with compensating them fairly and providing important benefits.” Now would be the time for CEOs to come through on their commitment to “deliver value” for essential workers and other stakeholders, as they said, “for the future success of our companies, our communities and our country.”

You might also like...