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Labor Disappointed by Lamont’s Weak Pandemic Hazard Pay Proposal for Essential Workers

David C. Dal Zin
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Ed Hawthorne and Shellye Davis, President and Executive Vice President of the Connecticut AFL-CIO, made the following statements in response to the weak pandemic hazard pay proposal in Lamont’s budget adjustments:

Ed Hawthorne, President of the Connecticut AFL-CIO:

"Governor Lamont’s proposed budget adjustments badly missed the mark when it comes to supporting frontline essential workers. Over 10,000 residents have now died from COVID-19. Thousands more have gotten sick. Many have been our essential workers who never had the choice to work safely from home. They didn’t have the option to work on Zoom like Governor Lamont.

"The very least the governor should do to honor the sacrifices and risks taken by all essential workers – state, municipal, and private sector – is to provide them with pandemic hazard pay. It is easy to forget that early in the pandemic, essential workers didn’t have regular access to N95s. Vaccines were still a distant dream. But Governor Lamont deemed them essential with the stroke of a pen. And yet they showed up to work every day despite their fear. Now, as Connecticut is flush with federal grants and a robust Rainy Day Fund, it is time to show up for them by providing pandemic hazard pay. Will this be it enough to show our appreciation for their sacrifice? Absolutely not. But it is far more respectful than ignoring the role essential workers played in caring for our communities and keeping the economy running."

Shellye Davis, Executive Vice President of the Connecticut AFL-CIO:

"Essential workers across the state are disappointed with Gov. Lamont’s refusal to include pandemic hazard pay for municipal and private sector workers in the budget. Our state’s essential workers – nurses, fire fighters, grocery store workers, bus drivers, nursing home workers and many others – went to work every day despite the risk to their health and the health of their loved ones. Many died. Even more got sick and were hospitalized. All because they were unable to work from home.

"Yet Gov. Lamont still doesn’t find it necessary to provide them with hazard pay. If he thought they were essential enough to require they show up to work without adequate personal protective equipment then they should be essential enough to make it into his budget. Our essential workers deserve better."

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