Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown introduced a new proposal Wednesday, that would provide increased pay for essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The “Heroes Fund” would reward front line workers such as hospital employees, nursing home employees, public safety and other essential workers.
Brown said he and his Senate colleagues will push for the plan to be included in any future coronavirus stimulus package.
“Workers in hospitals and nursing homes, in the service sector and public safety, and throughout our economy are risking their lives during this public health emergency to keep our citizens safe, and their paychecks should reflect that. Frontline workers also need proper protection from the virus at work,” said Brown. “The next coronavirus response package Congress passes must honor the dignity of their work by including this pandemic premium pay proposal to compensate our frontline heroes and mandatory safety requirements to keep them safe on the job.”
The newly proposed plan includes a premium pay increase up to $25,000 for essential workers, which is equivalent to a raise of $13 per hour, from the start of the public health emergency until December 31, 2020. It also includes a $15,000 essential worker recruitment incentive to “attract and secure the workforce needed to fight the public health crisis.”
A copy of the full plan can be found here.
Brown introduced the plan with Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Patty Murray (D-WA), Robert Casey (D-PA), Tom Udall (D-NM) and Gary Peters (D-MI).
Brown was joined on the call by United Food and Commercial Workers President Marc Perrone who said the proposal is important for frontline workers.
“Grocery workers in Ohio and across the country are on the front lines of the coronavirus outbreak. These brave workers are putting themselves in harm’s way every day to make sure our families have the food they need and are able to stay safe during this crisis,” said Perrone. “UFCW is proud to support Sen. Brown’s proposal to provide these essential workers with the premium pay they need as they continue to do the vital work needed to keep our country running. We are calling on every member of Congress — Republican and Democrat — to support this proposal and ensure that it is in the next coronavirus relief bill that is sent to President Trump’s desk for his signature.”
Last month, Brown wrote to President Trump calling for action to include hazard pay, or pandemic premium pay, in the next stimulus package for all workers on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic, including doctors, nurses, grocery store workers, building cleaners, letter carriers and transit workers.
Brown has also continued pushing for increased action from the White House to require companies to take critical steps to protect these workers from exposure to COVID-19.