Governor urges federal government to provide hazard pay to essential public workers

Photo by Tom Rivers: The American and state flags are lowered outside the Orleans County Administration Building on Saturday. The governor has directed flags to be lowered out of respect for the victims of Covid-19 until at least May 15, while the state is on “pause” with schools and non-essential businesses closed. The governor today reported 478 people died from Covid-19 on Sunday, bringing the state’s death toll from the virus to 14,347.

Posted 20 April 2020 at 2:56 pm

Press Release, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Office

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today called on the federal government to provide hazard pay for essential public workers on the front lines, proposing a 50 percent bonus for these workers.

According to the Center for Economic and Policy Research, 41 percent of frontline workers are people of color. Of those frontline workers, 45 percent of public transit workers, 57 percent of building cleaning service workers and 40 percent of healthcare workers are people of color. People of color are also disproportionately represented in delivery and childcare services, and approximately one third of frontline workers are members of low-income households.

“Essential public workers are the ones on the front lines every day carrying us through this crisis, and we must ensure their efforts and sacrifice are appropriately recognized,” Governor Cuomo said. “This crisis is not over yet, and as long as these workers continue to work and expose themselves to the virus, they should be properly compensated. I am calling on the federal government to provide hazard pay to these frontline workers and give them a 50 percent bonus because they are the true heroes in this crisis.”

Governor Cuomo also announced the state is launching a new partnership with Ready Responders to bring health care services, including COVID-19 diagnostic testing, to residents of public housing in New York City.

The state will also partner with Representative Greg Meeks, Representative Hakeem Jeffries, Attorney General Letitia James, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. on this effort. An initial pilot program will begin this week at locations across New York City, including Highbridge Houses, Edenwald Houses, Washington Houses and Andrew Jackson Houses in the Bronx; Queensbridge Houses and Brevoort Houses in Queens; and Red Fern Houses and Hammel Houses in Brooklyn.

The Governor also announced the state will deliver 500,000 cloth masks and 10,000 gallons of hand sanitizer to public housing communities.

The Governor also announced the creation of the Reimagine NY Task Force to improve systems in downstate New York once the state is no longer on pause. The Task Force will be led by the state and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Westchester County Executive George Latimer, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran and Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and will be comprised of other local elected officials and housing and transportation experts.

The Governor also announced that SUNY is distributing more than 8,800 laptops and Chromebooks to students in need who are currently completing their spring semester coursework online amid the COVID-19 health crisis. As SUNY and campuses began planning the shift to distance learning in March, SUNY System Administration surveyed all 64 campuses and colleges to gauge student technology needs, and is providing the laptops and Chromebooks based on those findings. SUNY will continue to monitor and fulfill technology needs while remote learning continues.

Finally, the Governor confirmed 4,726 additional cases of novel coronavirus, bringing the statewide total to 247,512 confirmed cases in New York State.

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