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Letter: New mayor should support underpaid essential workers

Letter: New mayor should support underpaid essential workers

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Essential workers caravan parades through downtown

A sign states the requests of the SEIU Healthcare Workers as the caravan prepares to leave from near the Gateway Arch in Downtown St. Louis on Thursday, May 14, 2020. The group was asking for support from Missouri senators Josh Hawley and Roy Blunt to get protections for essential front-line workers in the next federal COVID-19 relief bill. Photo by Colter Peterson,

Regarding "Federal stimulus money could be ‘game-changer’ for St. Louis, officials say" (March 28): The American Rescue Plan is sending St. Louis $500 million to help our city recover from the pandemic. The next mayor will have limited powers to help ensure money goes into the communities that need it most.

Our next mayor will have a choice whether to support essential workers like me, including thousands of janitors, fast-food workers, hospital workers, home health aides and more by investing rescue funds directly into needy communities. We have kept St. Louis running, and we can’t be left behind.

Many of us have gotten sick. Many of us have seen our colleagues pass away. But while we’re called essential, we usually don’t get treated like it. We aren’t paid enough to properly support our families and often struggle to pay our bills or put food on the table. During this time of crisis, working people across our city need higher wages in order to better provide for our families and communities.

Throughout the coronavirus crisis, we have been called heroes and told that our work was essential to our city’s economic recovery. It’s time to turn words into action. With the American Rescue Plan, our next mayor should make sure those of us on the front lines are paid properly for putting our own health on the line.

Martha Dunn • St. Louis  

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