A rousing boo to any store that is closed on Thanksgiving but doesn’t have holiday pay. And too many workers will still be called into jobs that really don’t need to be done every single day.

Some jobs, though, need to be worked 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, without regard to holidays. Nurses. Doctors. Paramedics and EMTs. Firefighters. This year, many of those workers have spent more than a year and a half working through a pandemic that has made their jobs more difficult, more dangerous, more relentless. More than 3,600 health care workers died of COVID-19 in the first year of the pandemic, and while vaccines have done a lot to protect them from serious illness and death over the past eight months or so, they have still been forced to preside over enormous amounts of suffering and death, most of it preventable.

So on this day of giving thanks, remember to thank the people who’ve gotten us this far, who’ve put their health and their lives on the line to care for our sick or make sure there are groceries on the shelves. But remember how much of that risk and brutal work shouldn’t have been necessary—or should have been done in the context of employers and a society that valued the workers and the work more highly.

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