New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday the federal government should pay bonuses to front line coronavirus workers.
According to The Hill, Cuomo made the comments during his daily coronavirus press conference, saying essential workers don’t have the “luxury of staying home.” As a result, Cuomo believes essential workers should receive a 50% bonus over what they’re currently being paid.
“We all say ‘boy they did a great job, the healthcare workers did a great job, the police — they’re heroes,’” Cuomo said. “Yes, they are, but you know? Thanks is nice but also recognition of their efforts and their sacrifice is also appropriate. They are the ones carrying us through this crisis and this crisis is not over.”
Essential workers include health professionals, first responders, transit workers, grocery store employees, and shipping workers. Cuomo added that more than 470 people died of coronavirus in New York on Sunday, the lowest single-day toll in more than two weeks.
Cuomo also notes African Americans are disproportionately contracting coronavirus, partially because they’re exposed to it through low-wage positions and the inability to telecommute.
“The economy did not close down. It closed down for people who, frankly, had the luxury of staying home,” Cuomo told reporters. “All those essential workers have to get up every morning to put food on the shelves and go to the hospitals to provide healthcare under extraordinary circumstances,” he added.
African Americans make up 11.9% of the American workforce, but 14.2% of workers are African American in grocery, drug, and convenience store industries. More than 18% of workers are African American in the trucking, warehouse, and postal service industry, according to the Center for Economic Policy Research. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said last week that 30% of coronavirus patients are African American, even though they make up 13% of the population.
Senate Democrats are pushing a bill that would give essential workers bonuses of between $5,000 and $25,000. The bill would also provide funds for the families of essential workers who have passed due to the virus.