To the Editor: Governor Cuomo has been comparing the Coronavirus fatalities in New York to the toll during 9/11, and that is the right way to look at the current situation. This unseen virus is also killing many health-care and other essential personnel today, and we must make sure that they and their families are taken care of.
Local 768 Physician Assistants, Respiratory Therapists, Social Workers and many of our other members are on the front lines in this war as much as anyone else. They are joined by all the other health-care and essential personnel. Yet our Physician Assistants, Respiratory Therapists and Social Workers today are working in H+H alongside hired temps from the firm Krucial Staffing who are earning as much as $1,000 a day as special pay.
Not our members. They are earning the same pay as before COVID-19. Local 768 demands comparable pay now in line with what the temps are getting, as well as hazard pay similar to that paid to workers in many private hospitals and nursing homes.
Our front-line members are making grave sacrifices which will cost some their lives. In normal times, no union would allow its members to march into this sort of danger without adequate staffing, training and protection. Workers need to be assured that when they make the sacrifice for the community, their families will at least be compensated if they succumb to this deadly disease.
Local 768 supports a significant line-of-duty death benefit in line with the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund for those workers and their families taken by the coronavirus.
President, Local 768
District Council 37 AFSCME
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