On September 1, the U.S. Department of Labor inducted essential workers into the Hall of Honor for their steadfast contributions made during the Covid-19 pandemic, with opening remarks given by Julie Su, deputy secretary of labor. Similarly, The American Hotel and Lodgings Association established Sept. 1 as National Hotel Employee Day in the National Day Calendar, recognizing the contributions of hotel employees, which are crucial in supporting the meetings, tourism and travel industries.

“As we honor these essential workers, we also have a new understanding and appreciation of how our economy and society depends on the tremendous hard work, commitment, creativity, resilience and sacrifices of workers every single day,” Su said.

Acknowledging Workers’ Efforts and Commitment

While essential workers include various sectors such as education, supermarkets and transportation, hotel employees played an integral role in sustaining the hospitality industry—facilitating the re-emergence of in-person meetings and events that drives U.S. business.

“America’s nearly 2 million hotel employees’ contributions to our industry and our society are invaluable. And their resilience and professionalism has been especially evident over the last two years. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, many hotel employees helped provide shelter for health care workers and other first responders. Hotel professionals deserve recognition, and we thank them for their service on this National Hotel Employee Day and every day,” said Chip Rogers, AHLA president and CEO.

The Department of Labor’s Hall of Honor inductees were selected following a national survey nominating essential employees who made continuous sacrifices and efforts to serve communities across America ahead of the Labor Day holiday.

“The Hall of Honor is about people who changed history, and that’s exactly what the essential workers of the coronavirus pandemic did for our country,” said Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh during Thursday’s ceremony. “Today, we remember the essential workers who passed away during the pandemic and honor the ongoing labor of all essential workers. I am so grateful for the chance to thank some of them in person during our Hall of Honor induction ceremony, and in my travels around the country.”

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Essential Workers Push On

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Hall of Honor was first established in 1988 to recognize employees who made strides in elevating their profession by improving working conditions, wages and quality of life for America’s labor force. This year, Secretary Walsh highlighted the department’s recent efforts, as well as those of the Biden-Harris administration, in promoting good jobs and providing U.S. workers with the resources needed for success.

The development of the country’s workforce by providing valuable information needed to obtain in-demand skills and training was made possible through a collaboration between employers and government agencies known as the Good Jobs initiative and the protection and advancement of workers’ right to organize through the White House Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment. In addition, Walsh pointed to the additional jobs created through the  Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the CHIPS and Science Act and the Inflation Reduction Act.

Moreover, Rogers noted that the inaugural National Hotel Employee Day comes while hotels across the nation are scrambling to fill 120,000 vacant hotel positions with a bump in average pay from $18.74 an hour prior to the pandemic to $22.25 an hour as of May 2022. He also pointed to the over 200 career paths in hospitality and the frequent job promotion available to hotel workers.

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