Over 18,000 city health care workers are demanding hazard pay. Joan Wright is a nursing assistant and said she’s frustrated with the city. Like many municipal health care workers, she worked throughout the pandemic and doesn’t understand why the city hasn’t given hazard pay or extra compensation for that time.
“I think we should get hazard pay because we work very hard and we don’t get recognized because we do more than one shift because some people can’t come in,” said Wright.
Carmen De Leon was a respiratory therapist at Harlem Hospital last year and said the height of the pandemic was something she would never want to see again.
“A lot of people in the hospitals, in the city hospitals in particular have PTSD because it was so much stress all the time,” said De Leon.
Carmen said many workers watched as outside help came in doing the same work or less, but making much much more.
“You’re willing to pull somebody out of state and pay them three times as much money and not be able to compensate me,” said Wright.
Henry Garrido is the executive director of District Council 37 and said over 18,000 health care workers want answers from the city.
“It’s not fair that we see the private sector recognizing that and giving those workers their due, but the city of New York even with stimulus money is not doing the same,” said Garrido.
In response, the mayor said, “I understand why anyone would want the help. The magnitude of that is something we can’t reach under our current situation, but we could reach if there’s additional help that comes in from the federal or state level.”
Wright said the pandemic has made her stronger and she’s not afraid of the possibility of variants in the region.
“I think the workers really need the support and need the money and it would be nice if the city recognized that,” said Wright.