Study: Latino Janitors Were Major Asset During Pandemic
Despite being disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, Latinos rebounded and stepped up for America during this pandemic according to a recent report.
Commissioned by the Latino Donor Collaborative (LDC), "The Latino Community Stepping Up for the Community and How They Will Drive America's Recovery" found that Latino workers were vital to the core functions of society during the COVID-19 pandemic. Their contributions were particularly significant in industries like agriculture, food processing, commercial cleaning services, health care, and construction. And not only in states where Latinos account for higher shares of the population, like California, New Mexico, Arizona, Florida, Nevada and Texas, but in what the LDC calls "driver states." Driver states are states where Latinos now amount for 10 to 20 percent of the workforce, of the voters, and of the GDP production. Such 'driver states" are Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Connecticut, West Virginia, Rhode Island, Mississippi, Ohio, Maryland, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Louisiana.
The pandemic created a special job class – frontline essential workers who had to carry out their job functions to keep essential services online. Many of those essential worker positions were filled with Latinos who had to work to support their families.
Essential workers were most vulnerable to health risks, and many of these workers earned lower wages and were less likely to have health insurance than non-essential office workers, according to the LDC.
"Throughout the pandemic, Latinos have served on the frontlines as essential workers — from the fields in the Central Valley to the corridors of our hospitals in Los Angeles and they have stepped up for all Americans," said the LDC in a press release. "In fact, two in three undocumented workers who file taxes with an Individual Taxpayer Number (ITIN) work in an industry deemed essential."
Early on Latinos were disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. In fact, Latino essential workers were more than three times as likely than non-Latino essential workers to be uninsured at 25 percent versus eight percent. Latinos were also three times as likely as whites to become infected with COVID-19 and nearly twice as likely to die from the virus.
"Society needs to recognize the remarkable work ethic and sacrifice of Latinos during these difficult times, as well as ensure equal access to government programs supporting workers and business owners and continue to invest in health care access in the Latino community," said Ana Valdez, executive vice president of the LDC in the press release.