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PEF President Wayne Spence sent the following message to all members on Aug. 4, 2022, following the announcement from the governor’s office about the process created to distribute the $1.2 billion allocated in the state budget to pay bonuses to eligible healthcare workers.

Yesterday, Governor Hochul officially announced the process to begin the distribution of the Health Care Worker Bonus payments PEF worked to secure in the 2022 State Budget. While we fully support this important program that will financially reward many worthy PEF members, we still do not think it goes far enough. The program provides up to $3,000 to health care and mental hygiene providers who worked directly with patients during the pandemic. You can read full details in this press release from the governor’s office and this FAQ from the Department of Health answers many questions, including which titles are eligible.

PEF is the only union that drafted and introduced legislation to provide “hazard pay” to all of the state’s “essential workers.” PEF continued this fight throughout the 2022 state budget negotiations and continued to lobby extensively to make 300 additional PEF titles eligible for this program. We argued that thousands of additional PEF members were designated “essential employees” and mandated to work under hazardous conditions during the pandemic and should therefore be eligible for the bonus.

This announcement does not mean the fight is over. We will continue to push for all members who risked their health and the health of their families during the pandemic to receive some sort of financial reward.  I’d like to thank all the members who stepped up and wrote letters or called your representatives and want to assure you that your activism was not wasted. We are the loudest union in the state pushing for hazard pay and I do not plan on easing up on that pressure. I mention it in every meeting with lawmakers and state leaders and will continue to do so. We will certainly keep you updated on our progress.

In the meantime, please stay safe and thank you for all that you do on behalf of your fellow New Yorkers.