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CWA, NYSNA, PEF Applaud NY Gov. Hochul for Pledge to Invest in Healthcare Workers

12 Jan, 2022

As part of her first State of the State Address, New York’s Governor Kathy Hochul laid out a plan on January 5th to invest $10 billion in healthcare, including $4 billion in wages and bonuses for workers.

New York’s healthcare workforce has been ravaged by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Workers have suffered continued short staffing - a decades-long problem exacerbated by the pandemic - and frequent burnout as healthcare facilities have struggled to maintain adequate staffing and supply levels to meet the needs of rising COVID-19 infection rates.

Governor Hochul spoke last week about the vital need to invest in our healthcare workforce, including creating a program to recruit and train workers in needed areas, and invest $10 billion in the following areas:

  • ​​$2 billion for healthcare wages

  • $2 billion for healthcare and mental hygiene worker retention bonuses. Full-time workers who stay in their jobs for one year can receive up to $3,000 bonuses, and those who work fewer hours can receive a prorated bonus.

  • $500 million for cost-of-living adjustments

  • $2 billion for healthcare capital infrastructure and improved lab capacity

  • Additional investments in workforce and healthcare access

CWA District 1 joined the New York State Nurses Association and the Public Employees Federation to release the following statement in support of the Governor’s plans:

We applaud Governor Hochul for recognizing that our frontline healthcare workers are in desperate need of additional resources as COVID-19 overwhelms our hospitals. The Governor’s pledge to invest $10 billion in higher wages, better hospital conditions, and a more robust pipeline of workers is a huge step forward and essential for protecting the health and safety of the public. This proposed massive infusion of resources could not have come at a more critical moment.  

Skyrocketing cases have pushed our healthcare system to the brink of collapse. Morale is at rock bottom, thousands of health care workers are quitting their jobs in despair, staffing levels are dangerously low, and hospital conditions are deplorable. A major infusion of health care resources cannot wait–it must happen as soon as possible. At the same time, the CDC’s reckless decision to cut the isolation period for infected health care workers to 5 days without requiring a negative test before returning to work has put both workers and patients at serious risk. 

We look forward to working with the Governor to ensure all our healthcare heroes are appropriately protected and that all New Yorkers have the highest quality of care possible.

 

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