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.
“I would propose hazard pay for frontline workers. Thanks is nice,
but recognition of their efforts and their sacrifice is also
appropriate,” Cuomo said.
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.
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.