Essential Workers

"The Hall of Honor is about people who changed history. And that's what the Essential Workers did. They kept our nation strong and made our recovery possible. And more than that: they gave us a new understanding of how our lives depend on labor."

– U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, our nation’s essential workers redefined what it truly means to show up for your neighbor. When everyone else was encouraged to stay at home to be safe, essential workers did not have that option. These workers gave the nation a new understanding of and appreciation for the vital jobs they do and the services they provide us every single day.

The essential workers who make our economy function, from care workers to farmworkers, nurses to grocery store clerks, childcare workers to teachers, port truck drivers and warehouse workers and so many more who make life possible for the rest of us are disproportionately low paid workers. They are disproportionately women. They are disproportionately workers of color.

Since 2002, the Department has inducted not only individuals but groups of workers whose collective contributions shaped and inspired us: the 9/11 rescue workers, the workers from the Memphis Sanitation Strike, farmworkers who led the farmworker movement, the Chinese railroad workers.

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