CSEA, PEF, 1199 SEIU & UUP Rally For ‘COVID Pay For Essential Health Care Workers Outside Stony Brook University Hospital On Long Island
(STONY BROOK, NEW YORK) – Four Statewide Unions - the Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA), the Public Employees Federation (PEF), 1199 Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and United University Professions (UUP) - joined together on Wednesday (July 22nd) to demand Hazard Pay for their Members on the front lines of the Coronavirus Pandemic at Stony Brook University Hospital.
UUP Members who work at the hospitals marched with hundreds of Union Colleagues from CSEA, 1199SEIU and PEF in the lunchtime event, dubbed “Heroes Not Zeros” and the "Rally For Respect."
Speakers who spoke at a rally following the march amplified the fact that Essential Workers at the state-operated hospital - which includes Stony Brook Southampton and Stony Brook Eastern Long Island Hospitals - have not received any extra pay for caring for COVID-19 patients, particularly during the height of the pandemic in New York City in the Spring.
“Our Essential Workers ‘are heroes and they deserve to be treated as such,’” UUP President Fred Kowal said. “They ‘put their lives on the line every day, working double shifts and extra shifts to care for thousands of COVID-19 patients that flooded downstate hospitals in the Spring when New York City was the epicenter of the Coronavirus.’”
The Unions want the hospital’s administration to urge the State University of New York (SUNY) Board of Trustees to provide “COVID pay” - $2,500 bonuses for Essential Hospital Workers - the incentive given to Essential Employees at hospitals in New York City and those run by Northwell Health, said Carolyn Kube, who serves as the President of UUP’s Stony Brook Health Sciences Center Chapter.
“Our Members’ lives ‘have been upended by their heroic response’ to the pandemic. Some of our Members contracted Coronavirus ‘and brought it home and family members have died.’ ‘People have been redeployed to evening, night and weekend shifts and it was a big sacrifice.’ ‘I really think that if you value your people, you show them at a time of crisis,’” Kube said.
The Workers received support from New York State Senator Monica Martinez and Assembly Member Steve Engelbright, who said the Employees should receive hazard pay for their heroic efforts: "Our Health Care Workers and Essential Employees ‘have been, and continue to be, on the front lines of the COVID-19 Pandemic.’ ‘They have worked day in and day out, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week putting their lives on the line.’ They ‘deserve’ Hazard Pay ‘and it's our turn to take care of them just like they took care of us and continue to do so.’"