Frontline Works Part 2: Blue Collars

Frontline Works Part 2: Blue Collars

3 minutes of coffee drinking

A picture of a welder welding that represents blue collar workers.


Blue collar workers have always been the ones who keep the gears of the world greased so we can keep going around. And that’s been more true than ever during the past couple years of state-wide shutdowns, broken supply chains, spikes and surges, and new variant outbreaks.

And blue collars have been incredibly resilient during this whole nightmare.

You might say that’s not really a surprise—in a lot of these jobs, it comes with the territory.

Even compared to others on the frontlines of the pandemic, blue-collar workers as a whole have faced bigger health risks with less ability to minimize their risk of infection during the coronavirus pandemic.

Take one example—auto mechanics and repair technicians.

With more and more things going virtual, and less commuting happening as a result, you might think they’ve been able to relax a bit.


If anything, auto mechanics have been even more “essential” in the age of Zoom. And like other blue collar workers, they’ve been putting themselves at risk for infection every time they go into work—they can’t exactly do their jobs from home.

With severe shortages of car parts in the supply chain, less new cars in dealer inventories, and less people buying/driving new cars than usual, people have been maintaining and fixing their existing cars more than ever.

Because of the pandemic, a big percentage of the work mechanics have been doing for us has been focused on major, mission-critical repairs like engine work, transmission work rather than smaller fix-ups and maintenance work.

Since early 2020, Americans have been trading in their cars less and less—which explains why you may have noticed dealerships trying harder than ever to get you to trade in your ride.

With factories, refineries, warehouses, and construction companies dealing with massive workforce shortages, those blue collar workers who are working those jobs have had to pick up a ton of slack.

These kind of places have been adapting to the smaller pool of workers available—slowly—with new tech, and workplace efficiency optimizations. (Anyone who’s worked a blue collar job probably shuddered at that phrase).

Sometimes these advances and optimizations make blue collar workers’ jobs easier, but many times they burden them with even more responsibilities without pay increases, benefits, or even overtime to help make up for it.

While most of the media focuses on all the new tech that companies are using, they’ve largely stopped talking about the plight blue collar workers have been dealing with, and continue to face on a daily basis.

According to this study, they’ve been twice as likely to contract COVID-19 than white collar workers—with only 16% still working remotely compared to 49% of white-collar workers.

While we can’t really do much on an individual level to help make up for this, what we can do is at least appreciate what these folks have been through—and are still going through—to keep our country moving.

I don’t mean lip service, I mean feeling honest, authentic appreciation.

Let these unprecedented times—hellish as they’ve been for all of us—be a reminder to let the blue collar workers in your life know how much you personally appreciate what they do for us.

In Part 3 of Frontline Works, we’ll take a closer work at how healthcare workers have been risking their lives, to help us keep ours.

Read: Frontline Workers: Part 1 - First Responders

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