Who is the hero?Some US states and cities are still discussing COVID hazard pay

The U.S. government could qualify from agricultural workers and childcare staff to janitor and truck drivers when the so-called hero allows frontline workers to pay for the potential use of pandemic bailouts. I proposed a profession.

State and local governments struggled to determine who needed to qualify among the many workers who faced the rampant coronavirus pandemic before vaccines became available. Should it go to a small pool of essential workers such as nurses or spread it to others, including grocery shop workers?

“We’re in a bad position because the local government is trying to pick winners and losers, or recipients and non-recipients, so by default we’re saying whether it’s important or not,” Jason Levesque said. Mr. says. , Mayor of the Republican Party in Auburn, Maine. Authorities have not yet determined who will receive the hazard pay from the city’s American Rescue Plan Fund.

A year and a half after the pandemic, such decisions have political implications for some leaders, including unions working to expand eligibility, leaving workers confused. I feel that.

“It sounds like a financial problem, but it’s a sign of gratitude,” said Ginny Rigi, a prison officer infected with COVID-19 in Connecticut last year. “It’s very difficult to put into words the actual feeling of stepping into the place every day, every day, every day. It hurt us. It really did.”

Contents of the federal regulations

Interim Federal Regulations, released six months ago, allow state and local COVID-19 recovery funds to be spent on premiums for key workers up to $ 13 per hour in addition to regular wages. The amount cannot exceed $ 25,000 per employee.

The rule also has a third party with qualified workers defined as “regular face-to-face interactions or regular physical handling of items also handled by others” or those at increased risk of exposure. Allows the employer to provide a grant to COVID-19.

The rule tells state and local governments that “many important workers have not yet received additional compensation for work done over months and are retroactive if possible. Encourage “priority in payment of insurance premiums” and at the same time prioritize low-income qualified workers.

As of July, about one-third of U.S. states used federal COVID-19 relief aid to reward workers deemed essential in bonuses, according to an Associated Press review. ..

The list of state allocations for risk and premium payments as of November 18, provided by the National Assembly of Parliamentarians, states that funds are usually reserved for civil servants such as state soldiers and prison officers. is showing.

In Minnesota, lawmakers still have $ 250 million in aid to reward heroes, but are struggling with how to distribute it. The special committee was unable to make a compromise and instead sent two competing recommendations to the entire legislature for consideration.

Republican Senator Mary Kiffmeyer, a member of the Commission, said: Last month’s meeting.

Senate Republicans in Minnesota want to offer a $ 1,200 tax-exempt bonus to about 200,000 workers who say they have taken the greatest risk, including nurses, care workers, prison staff, and first responders. ..

However, House Democrats have spread the money more widely by providing about $ 375 to about 670,000 essential workers, including low-wage food service and grocery store employees, security guards, and janitor. I would like to.

Earlier this week, Democratic Chairman Melissa Hortman told Minnesota Public Radio that wages for front-line workers could be reached after the political impasse seemed to be alleviated by another issue. He said he believed. Duel proposal.

Governor of Connecticut put pressure

Connecticut has not yet paid the $ 20 million federal pandemic fund that state legislators set aside for key Connecticut state officials and members of the Connecticut State Guard in June.

As negotiations with union leaders continue, the Connecticut AFL-CIO trade union will give $ 1 an hour hazard pay to all public and private sector key workers to Democratic Governor Neddramont, who will be reelected in 2022. We are pressured to provide. Those who worked during a pandemic before vaccination became available.

Ed Hawthorne, President of Connecticut AFL, said: CIO. “These workers have appeared in Connecticut. It is (for) … when the governor appears for them.”

Lamont spokesman Max Rice said the numbers quoted by organized labor were “infeasible.”

Meanwhile, the administration is in talks with state employee unions to classify the work done by state employees during the pandemic and whether they may have shifted to more or less risky other responsibilities. Judging, it can also affect whether they receive or not, he said more or less money.

“I would like to commend the workers who continued to work every day because they had no choice but to work face-to-face, from those who work in state-owned medical facilities to those who need to plow roads in stormy weather.” “The next part is that we need to come up with a decision about who all of them are, and there is a verification process for it.”

In some states, such as California, cities are a way to equitably distribute some of their federal funding to support critical private sector workers who may not have received additional payments from their employers. Has been decided.

Rachel Torres, Deputy Officer of the United Food and Commercial Workers’ Union, Local 770’s Political and Civil Rights Department, said Oxnard, whose union voted this year to provide payments to grocery and drugstore workers. He said he was urging the city to follow the leadership of Carabasas. As much as $ 1,000.

“It shouldn’t be a really essential competition between the workforce. There should be money available to many workers,” Torres said.

David Dobbs and his fellow firefighters in Bridgeport, Connecticut are angry that their city has not yet provided them with the $ 110 million share they received at the Federal Pandemic Fund. .. Democratic Mayor Joe Gamin said in a statement that he upheld the concept of premium payments, but that the issue is still under consideration to ensure that payments comply with federal regulations.

Dobbs, president of Bridgeport Firefighters, said: An association that gave up pay raises when the city’s budget was tight. “Imagine lending a decent amount to your friend, then hitting a powerball and not doing things right.”

Who is the hero?Some US states and cities are still discussing COVID hazard pay

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