As the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the world, essential workers proved to be the backbone of the global economy―yet they faced drastic losses in income, in addition to the health risks. One year into the pandemic, 52 percent of care workers said their pay did not allow them to adequately secure basic needs such as housing, food, and transportation. This is not the treatment essential workers deserve.
At the Essential for Recovery global summit from September 8-10 2021, essential workers and leading thinkers on these issues laid out a vision for a just economic recovery that prioritizes protections for workers, and builds up workers’ rights in stark contrast to measures taken after the 2008 financial crisis. 

We encourage all summit participants to continue to engage with participating organizations after the event is over. Here are a few ideas on what is needed next to ensure that workers obtain healthy and safe workplaces for all.

Step 1: Follow and Amplify the Work of Global Labor Organizations

Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO)
WIEGO is a global network focused on empowering workers in the informal economy & securing their livelihoods.
• Website:
• Newsletter: sign up here
• Facebook: @wiegoglobal 
• Linkedin: WIEGO
• YouTube: wiegoglobal

StreetNet International
StreetNet International is a global alliance of street vendors’ orgs which was launched in South Africa, in 2002
• Website:
• Twitter: @Streetnet1
• Facebook: @StreetNetInternational
• YouTube: StreetNet International

UNI Global Union
UNI is a global union representing 20M working people in skills & services sectors around the world.
• Website:
• Newsletter: sign up here
• Twitter: @uniglobalunion
• Youtube: UNIglobalunion 
• Facebook: @UniGlobalUnion 
• Instagram: @uniglobalunion

International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)
IUTC is the global voice of working people, representing the rights & interests of 200 million workers in 163 countries.
• Website:
• Newsletter: sign up here
• Twitter: @ituc
• Facebook: @ituccsi
• Youtube: ITUCCSI
• LinkedIn: ITUC
• Instagram: @ituc_global

Solidarity Center
The Solidarity Center is the largest U.S.-based international worker rights organization helping workers attain safe and healthy workplaces, family-supporting wages, dignity on the job, widespread democracy and greater equity at work and in their community.
• Website:
• Media Mentions: sign up here
• Twitter: @SolidarityCntr
• Facebook: @solidaritycenter
• YouTube: Solidarity Center
• LinkedIn: Solidarity Center
• Instagram: @solidarity_center

HomeNet International is a global network of membership-based workers’ organizations representing thousands of home-based workers (HBWs) around the world.
• Website:
• Twitter: @HomeNetInt
• Facebook: @HomeNetInt
• Youtube: HomeNet International

Step 2: Know The Issues and Take Action for Essential Workers

Increased income graphic

Increased income and improved working conditions 

Prior to the pandemic, we were working in jobs without decent income and little-to-no security or rights. Many days, we weren’t able to feed our families. Since March 2020, many of us have experienced significant losses in working hours and income.

After the 2008 economic crisis, the “recovery” plunged working people further into poverty. That can’t happen again. By investing in social programs and promoting collective bargaining now, we can chart a course that creates, not undermines, economic parity: fair incomes and secure livelihoods, targeted economic relief and humane working conditions.

Healthy and safe workplaces

Healthy and safe workplaces and access to healthcare

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we were the people keeping the economy running — and the people most exposed to this deadly pandemic.

At the same time, we often lack access to affordable healthcare and we do not have protective equipment or the ability to keep ourselves safe and healthy at work. We need to make sure essential workers have what we need to keep ourselves safe while working hard to keep the world moving.

Here is how you can stand with essential workers for healthy and safe workplaces:

Social protection benefits graphic

Social protection benefits and support for vulnerable workers

The legacy of COVID-19 can be a global economy built on a solid foundation, which means that essential workers are paid fairly and have the right to paid leave, either when we are unwell ourselves or have to look after our families. Many essential workers, and virtually all informal economy workers, cannot take time to rest, recover and spend quality time with our families. We are simply calling for fair incomes for the work we do and the value we provide for our communities.

We can — and must — put people before profits. That’s why essential workers around the world are demanding social protections for a just economic recovery that stabilizes and supports essential domestic workers, agricultural workers, street vendors, caregivers and home-based workers.

Here is how you can stand with essential workers for stronger social protections and benefits:

End sexual harassment and violence graphic

An end to sexual harassment and violence 

No one should experience sexual harassment and violence at work. But too often, we lack the resources and protections we need to keep us safe, particularly for those of us who identify as women and those who work in the informal economy.

We must have the protections we need to ensure a workplace free of sexual violence that supports survivors. That includes paid leave, union representation, flexible work arrangements and protection for victims of sexual violence, the inclusion of sexual violence in workplace risk assessments and connection to resources and awareness-raising about the effects of sexual harassment and gender-based violence.

The International Labour Organization’s C190 Convention Eliminating Violence in the World of Work has only been ratified by seven countries. 2021 marks the 10-year anniversary of the ratification of C189 at the ILO, establishing safe working conditions and fair wages for domestic workers. Still 10 years later, most countries have not ratified C189, including France, US, UK, Mexico and China.

Here is how you can stand with essential workers for an end to sexual harassment and violence at work: