Gov. Cuomo on Hazard Pay for Front Line Workers

April 21, 2020

Yesterday the Governor stated he is pushing federal lawmakers to

include Hazard Pay for essential workers as part of any future federal

stimulus package.  We agree!  Our front line workers are courageous

and dedicated. They are risking their lives each day.  The least we

can do is provide needed financial support.

So now the work is to ensure that whatever definition is agreed upon

nationally that it includes our human service workforce. Staff working

in/supporting mental health, addictions disorders, developmental

disabilities and other essential programs and services should ALL

benefit from any national effort to provide hazard pay to frontline

workers.  We must not let this opportunity slip through our fingers!


‘Pay Them What They Deserve’: Cuomo Wants Hazard Pay For Frontline Workers

Lisette Voytko, Forbes

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a Monday press conference that

frontline workers, who are disproportionately people of color, should

be given hazard pay by the federal government for doing their jobs in

the bull’s-eye of the U.S. coronavirus epicenter.


According to Cuomo, 41% of New York’s frontline workers are people of

color, with women making up two-thirds of frontline workers, while one

third come from low-income households.

“Black and brown Americans are disproportionately victims of

COVID-19,” read one of Cuomo’s PowerPoint slides.

“The economy closed down, frankly, for people who have the luxury of

staying at home,” Cuomo said, while workers in healthcare, public

transportation, delivery services, childcare and building cleaning

services have continued to go to work during the pandemic.

Cuomo called on the federal government, as part of its next economic

stimulus package, to increase hazard pay for frontline workers with a

50% bonus: “Pay them what they deserve.”

A pilot program is also launching this week in New York City to

deliver cloth masks for every resident in public housing, Cuomo said,

along with hand sanitizer.

New York is also partnering with an organization called Ready

Responders, Cuomo said, to provide healthcare services⁠—including

COVID-19 diagnostic testing⁠—to public housing residents.

Crucial quote

“I would propose hazard pay for frontline workers.  Thanks is nice,

but recognition of their efforts and their sacrifice is also

appropriate,” Cuomo said.

Key background

State-level data of coronavirus infections seem to show people of

color being most impacted by the disease. According to The Atlantic,

African Americans make up about 14% of Michigan’s population, but

constitute 40% of the state’s coronavirus deaths. In Illinois, the

infection rate is twice as high among African Americans as compared to

the overall state population. New York City officials are not

releasing data on the race of patients being tested, hospitalized or

dying from coronavirus. A New York Times database of COVID-19 cases by

city zip codes compared to census data showed that the five zip codes

with the highest number of cases were overrepresented by Latinos and

Asians, The Atlantic reported.

Surprising fact

The CDC is not collecting data on the race of patients who tested

positive or died of coronavirus, CBS News reported.

What to watch for

Over 20 New York hospitals that participated in trials of

hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria drug, will report their results to

the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control

and Prevention on Monday, according to Cuomo. President Trump has

touted the drug despite it being an unproven treatment for COVID-19.