Professor David Pettinicchio has recently spoken to the media about how COVID-19 can exacerbate existing inequalities. A story by UTM’s Research Communications Office highlights his insights. We have included an excerpt of the story below. The full story is available on the UTM website here. Professor Pettinicchio is an Assistant Professor of Sociology with undergraduate teaching responsibilities on the UTM campus. His research focuses on social policy, political sociology, law and society, disability politics and social movements.
As reality sets in about the extensive fallout to various people and industries from the current coronavirus pandemic, Professor David Pettinicchio cannot help but notice that people with disabilities, a part of the population already marginalized and often most impacted by various crises, are noticeably absent from mainstream conversations.
An assistant professor with UTM’s Department of Sociology since 2014, Pettinicchio looks at how people with disabilities, who already struggle with precarious employment, low earnings, minimal benefits, and insufficient economic security, become even more vulnerable at times like this.
“I think what’s important to keep in mind is that what COVID-19 is really highlighting is how precarious and insecure a lot of people are just generally, and how it’s going to have serious implications down the road,” says Pettinicchio.
Pettinicchio’s work has demonstrated that people with disabilities have difficulty finding work, and when they do it is often in low paying, non-unionized jobs, particularly in the service sector, such as food preparation, or they are burdened by longer hours in warehouse or grocery store positions. He says any jobs they could previously obtain or the flexibility they once had to accommodate their disability are now heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and this will have a long-term impact on household finances.