May 12, 2020

Following Requests to Leadership, Watson Coleman Applauds Inclusion of Hazard Pay Provision in Next Coronavirus Relief Bill

HEROES Act Released by House Democratic Leadership Includes $13 per Hour in Hazard Pay

Following the release of the text of the Heroes Act,  Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12) applauded the inclusion of hazard pay for all frontline workers, a provision she had sought in recent weeks.

“We rely on warehouse workers to ship us the goods we order online, grocery clerks to keep stores stocked, transit workers to move doctors and nurses and other healthcare professionals around, nursing home staff to care for elderly family members. These workers are essential to keeping basic services running, and they’re putting their lives and the lives of their families in jeopardy with every shift,” said Watson Coleman. “I’ve been vocal in the push for hazard pay that acknowledges the risks they’re taking, and I am thrilled to see this provision included in the bill released by Democratic leadership today. This is an example of our continuing commitment to fight for working families.”

Watson Coleman previously announced the Essential Pay for Essential Workers Act, legislation that would pay workers providing essential services an additional $15 per hour in compensation, on top of their regular pay. She also sent a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy urging a broader definition and stronger protections for essential workers in further coronavirus relief packages, and another signed by more than 150 members of Congress urging protections for essential federal workers.

“Our essential workers are risking their own health to serve us during the COVID-19 public health crisis,” said Congresswoman Nanette Baragán, an original sponsor of the Essential Pay for Essential Workers Act. “They deserve more than our thanks.  They deserve hazard pay.”

“As a cosponsor of the Essential Pay for Essential Workers Act, I’m proud to have joined my colleagues in fighting to get this overdue legislation included in the HEROES Act. A constituent I spoke with on a teletownhall over the weekend put it best: The essential workers on the frontlines of this battle against COVID-19 will be the veterans of this war. These workers, from nurses to grocers, are risking their lives every day to ensure our society continues to function during this public health crisis. Hazard pay is the least we can do to show our gratitude and support for their incredible work,” said Congressman Eliot Engel.

“I’m pleased we will be voting on hazardous pay for frontline workers when we return to Washington on Friday,” said Congressman Steve Cohen. “I am proud to be an original cosponsor of the Essential Pay for Essential Workers Act. First responders, medical personnel, warehouse and grocery store workers are putting their lives in jeopardy and deserve this extra help.”

“There are countless Americans working hard on the front lines in our nation’s battle against the coronavirus, putting their own health and well-being in jeopardy for all of us,” Congresswoman Joyce Beatty said. “As a cosponsor of the Essential Pay for Essential Workers Act, I am proud to have joined with my congressional colleagues to ensure these brave individuals receive the recognition and hazard pay they deserve for their ongoing dedication and commitment during these trying times.”

“The inclusion of hazard pay for frontline workers in the Heroes Act is a critically important step in taking care of our neighbors who have heroically risen to serve their communities by risking their lives to keep our grocery store shelves stocked, our packages delivered, our hospitals clean, and so much more,” Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib said. “I am glad to see that Congressional leadership answered our call to get them this pay they so richly deserve, and I look forward to continuing the fight to ensure no one is left behind by our relief efforts.”

"Our entire society is depending upon the healthcare workers, the workers in the forensic labs, the unemployment clerks, the group home workers, and thousands of people who are risking their own health to help not only their own family, but all families,” said Hetty Rosenstein, NJ Director, Communications Workers of America. “We need to recognize these heroic workers and this bill does that."

As new challenges continue to emerge as a result of this pandemic, our officers are being stretched thin, yet continue to show up and do their jobs without complaint,” said William Sullivan, President of the New Jersey State Policemen’s Benevolent Association Local 105. The labor union represents the nearly 6,000 correctional police officers and parole officers across the state. “On behalf of our membership, I would like to thank Congresswoman Watson Coleman and Speaker Pelosi for staying in tune with the true needs of essential workers during this time.”

“New Jersey State Firefighters Mutual Benevolent Association thanks Congresswoman Watson-Coleman for her strong leadership and proven track record of supporting firefighters, EMTs, and dispatchers,” said Eddie Donnelly, President of NJFMBA. “During this public health crisis, it is imperative that the first responder community and fellow essential workers receive hazard pay while they are on the frontline, risking their lives daily to provide necessary services to the public.”

“Nursing home workers do some of the most difficult, physically and emotionally draining work there is, yet rarely receive fair compensation for their life-saving responsibilities,” said Milly Silva, Executive Vice President of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East. “Essential workers in nursing homes, hospitals, and across many non-medical fields are the ones keeping millions of people cared for during this time of crisis.  On behalf of our Union’s 450,000 members, 1199SEIU applauds Congresswoman Watson Coleman for securing strong hazard pay provisions in this relief bill.”