The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act (ARP) signed into law in March includes $350 billion to state and local governments. With Massachusetts set to receive $5.3 billion in aid, Rhode Island set to receive $1.6 billion and Connecticut to receive $6 billion, lawmakers are presented with the opportunity to offer a portion of these funds as long overdue hazard pay for essential workers.
The pandemic has continued to exert both a mental and physical toll on frontline workers. While crowd gatherings were prohibited elsewhere and millions of workers transitioned to work remotely, essential workers continued to show up each day, increasing the likelihood of contracting the virus and spreading it to a loved one. Essential workers found it nearly impossible to remain socially distanced from customers and other workers as well. Additionally, frontline essential workers have suffered from greater levels of anxiety and depression due to stresses of contracting COVID-19.
We collectively owe a debt to those who continue to step up during a once in a lifetime public health crisis. It’s time for policymakers to seize this opportunity and deliver hazard pay for frontline workers.
The attached letter was signed by Locals representing members in Massachusetts and was delivered to elected officials. We are advocating for these same measures in Rhode Island and Connecticut.