Mike Rowe Says There’s ‘No Such Thing Right Now As A Non-Essential Worker’

Screenshot/Fox News

Virginia Kruta Associate Editor
Font Size:

“Dirty Jobs” alum Mike Rowe said Tuesday that there’s really no such thing as a “non-essential worker.”

Rowe appeared on “The Daily Briefing” with Fox News host Dana Perino to discuss how the coronavirus pandemic has changed the landscape of “work” in America. (RELATED: No ‘Trigger Words,’ No ‘Safe Space’: Mike Rowe Explains How The Military Is Getting It Right)


Rowe began with a comment about Perino’s previous guest — a physical therapist who, like many Americans in recent weeks, was furloughed because her job was deemed “non-essential.”

“Right now, a fascinating conversation going on on your network and all the networks, we are making a distinction between the essential workers had nonessential workers,” Rowe explained. “Not to oversell it, but there’s something tricky with this going on here because in regards to an economy, I don’t think there is a such thing as a nonessential workers.”

Rowe went on to make the analogy that the whole American economy was like a quilt, and pulling on just one thread can have an unforeseen impact on the other side of that quilt.

“You start pulling on jobs and tugging on careers over here and over there, the whole thing will bunch up in a weird way. Essential workers do exist, but in my mind, they exist more in the old ‘Dirty Jobs’ mentality where you look at first responders and garbage men and plumbers and pipe fitters, so I just wanted to make a point that when you talk about the economy, it’s essential,” Rowe said.

Perino cut in then to point out that to someone who may have just had surgery, a physical therapist would maybe be essential as well.

“The other thing I wanted to mention to you and have you addresses a lot of people who worked in these jobs that were just laid off, they’re very prideful people,” Perino added, saying that they were the kind of people who would never think to ask the government for anything, but now that the government was telling them to stay at home, they might not have a choice.

“It’s very, very tough,” Rowe conceded, adding, “We have to get in front of it, so I think what you’re saying is people have to get in front of their own notion of what’s appropriate, what’s dignified, what’s humiliating, what’s essential. Obviously, how do we know how long it will be there? Take it now. You need it now. Don’t wait.”