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Meet New York City’s Front-Line Workers In Public Transit, Health Care, Child Care, Grocery, Pharmacy, Sanitation, Janitorial, Utility & Delivery Industries

Published Monday, March 30, 2020 1:00 pm
by Stephanie West/
Meet New York City’s Front-Line Workers In Public Transit, Health Care, Child Care, Grocery, Pharmacy, Sanitation, Janitorial, Utility & Delivery Industries

(NEW YORK CITY) -  New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer has released a comprehensive report of New York City’s essential Front-Line Workers helping battle the COVID-19 Pandemic, including those professionals work in public transit, health care, child care, grocery, pharmacy, sanitation, janitorial, utility and delivery industries.

“As our city faces the unprecedented challenge of COVID-19, Front-Line Workers are putting their safety on the line to keep our city running - Nurses, Janitors, Grocery Clerks, Child Care Staff, EMS Workers, Bus and Truck Drivers and so many more.  And yet, these same essential Workers whom we trust with our health, our nourishment, our loved ones, and our lives are too often ignored, underpaid, and overworked,” Comptroller Stringer said in a statement. 

“To get through this crisis and beyond, they need and deserve accessible health care and child care, safe and reliable transit, financial stability and pathways to citizenship and naturalization.  These New Yorkers are risking their own health and that of their families by putting their lives on the frontlines of this fight every single day - and we need to have their backs,” Stringer said.

According to Stringer’s report, more than 50% of Front-Line Workers are foreign-born.

Building/Cleaning Services employ the highest share of Immigrants (70%), followed by health care (53%) and food and drug stores (53%).

More than 60% of all Front-Line Workers in New York City are women, including 81% in social services and 74% in health care.  

More than 40% of Transit Employees are African-American, while more than 60% of cleaning Workers are Hispanic.

Approximately 19% of Front-Line Workers do not have citizenship status, often placing them in a precarious and frightening position in this age of arbitrary ICE crackdowns.

Over a quarter of food and drug store, 22% of social service, and a striking 36% of Cleaning Service Employees are non-citizens.

Many Front-Line Workers, including Home Health and Child Care Providers and Food Delivery Workers, operate as Independent Contractors.

Not only does this obligate them to pay twice as much in Social Security and Medicare taxes, but it also provides them with few safety net protections if they are unable to work due to medical conditions or other factors.

In order to protect these Front-Line Workers and all “Gig Workers” in this time of crisis, the Comptroller’s report recommends the State expand its unemployment, health care and other safety-net programs to cover Independent Contractors.

The Comptroller’s Office has also recommended that basic safety net protections must extend to New Yorkers regardless of immigration status, including those who are undocumented.

An emergency relief fund could be established, said Stringer, in partnership with private partners in order to circumvent Federal restrictions.

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