FEW WORKERS GETTING COMPENSATED FOR COVID ILLNESS
President Anthony Wells, Vice President of Publicity and Community Relations Tanya Hatcher, and other union officials today attended a press conference and learned a shocking fact–that only a tiny fraction of workers who likely contracted Covid-19 on the job have applied for worker’s compensation benefits. Even fewer–less than one percent–likely got a hearing and actually went on to win their cases and receive the benefits they deserve.
Workers in many fields had to report to a physical work site during the worst of the pandemic and are still doing so today.
According to a report by Robert Grey (see PDF document below), a worker’s attorney at Grey and Grey LLP, vanishingly few of them were able to be compensated for their time out sick with Covid. Many Covid-19 patients have a lasting illness that requires them to be home for weeks or even months.
Robert Grey's Report on COVID-19 Workers' Compensation
State Senator Jessica Ramos–a former SSEU Local 371 employee–has introduced a bill (see the PDF document below), S. 1241, that would help address this injustice, by creating an outreach campaign to inform workers of their rights, expand language access, prevent retaliation, make more workers eligible, and require hearings for every case, among other provisions.
Bill S. 1241
President Anthony Wells noted during the conference that the union strongly supports the bill. “The definition of an essential worker must be expanded – it has been expanded,” he added, noting that members of SSEU Local 371 work in places like juvenile detention centers and hospitals, and their work is literally essential to the functioning of the city.
President Wells' Speech at NYCOSH Workers'Compensation Press Conference
For more information about this crucial issue, read about it in next month’s Unionist.