Peters Announces Support for Heroes Fund to Reward Frontline Workers, Calls on Senate to Pass Proposal
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) today announced support for his COVID-19 “Heroes Fund” proposal, and called on the Senate to work in a bipartisan manner and include it as part of a next Coronavirus package. The COVID-19 Heroes Fund would provide pandemic premium pay to reward and retain essential frontline workers. Peters’ proposal has wide-ranging support from groups across Michigan and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has called on Congress to pass it.
“From workers at grocery stores to health care providers to first responders, essential workers all across Michigan are risking their own safety to help people around our state throughout this pandemic,” said Senator Peters. “Our frontline workers deserve more than just our thanks; they deserve additional financial support for their selfless work and sacrifice during this crisis. The Senate should come together in a bipartisan manner to advance this commonsense proposal to support essential workers. I will continue pushing for it to be included as part of a next COVID-19 package and pressing for additional personal protective gear for our heroic frontline workers.”
Peters’ COVID-19 “Heroes Fund” would federally-fund the premium pay and recruitment and retention incentives to help support frontline workers, including health care professionals, workers at grocery stores, food supply workers, home care workers, first responders and law enforcement officers, pharmacists, delivery workers and other essential workers. Peters’ proposal consists of two major components: a $25,000 premium pay increase for essential healthcare workers, which would equate to a raise of $13 per hour from the start of the public health emergency until December 31, 2020 and a $15,000 essential worker recruitment incentive to attract and secure the workforce needed in Michigan and across the country to fight this public health crisis. A provision based on Peters’ proposal passed the House of Representatives last week that would give essential workers eligibility for a pay increase of $13 per hour from the start of the public health emergency until 60 days after it ends.
Peters’ proposal is supported by a broad coalition of groups and organizations across Michigan. Below are statements in support of the Senator’s proposal:
“Senator Peters has been laser-focused on supporting Michigan families and workers,” said Ron Bieber, President, Michigan AFL-CIO. “His Heroes Fund proposal makes sure that frontline workers are getting the benefits that they deserve for keeping our country moving despite the dangers to their own health. The House did their part in passing key provisions from the proposal – and Senate Republicans now must step up and ensure this support is included in any bill moving forward."
“The membership of the Michigan Association of Police Organizations wholeheartedly endorses the Heroes Fund proposal,” said Rob Figurski, President of the Michigan Association of Police Organizations (MAPO). “MAPO applauds Senator Peters for his efforts to support those on the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19."
“Being a nurse is an inherently risky profession. Working in a pandemic has only elevated this profession into a hazardous situation,” said Tobi Lyon Moore, Executive Director, the American Nurses Association Michigan. “It isn’t just the danger nurses are putting themselves in to care for our Michigan residents, and it is the risk of them exposing their families to COVID-19. In order to protect their families, many nurses are living separately from their loved ones in other temporary living arrangements. We are proud to support Senator Peters’ efforts on behalf of nurses all across our state. Senator Peters’ Heroes Fund provides our licensed registered nurses the reward they deserve for the front line work they are doing every day to keep Michigan safe and healthy.”
“First responders signed up for a hazardous and naturally dangerous job. However, with this current pandemic our members are potentially exposing their families to the dangers of COVID-19 which is unique to this crisis. We have first responders living separate from their families in hotels, tents, garages and other temporary living arrangements to protect their families. These actions demonstrate the commitment our members have to their jobs, communities and our state,” said Mike Sauger, President, Michigan Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), Mark Docherty President, Michigan Professional Fire Fighters Union (MPFFU) and Kenneth E. Grabowski Legislative Director, Police Officers Association of Michigan (POAM). “Senator Peters’ Heroes Fund proposal would ensure our first responders are recognized and rewarded for the front line work they are doing every day to keep our State safe during these uncertain times. We appreciate Senator Peters’ efforts on behalf of behalf of Michigan’s first responders.”
“Every first responder made a decision to dedicate their lives to protecting us and our loved ones – and our members are no exception,” said David Glotzbach, President, Michigan Association of Fire Chiefs. “Senator Peters’ Heroes Fund proposal supports and recognizes our first responders and all front line workers by rewarding them for the essential work they are doing every day to keep our communities safe and serve their fellow neighbors during this pandemic. Senator Peters’ efforts to support Michigan’s first responders and all essential front line workers is truly appreciated.”
“As we enter the third month of this unprecedented, national COVID-19 disaster, we cannot allow progress into the ‘new normal’ to shift our thoughts away from essential workers who remain in dangerous, public-facing positions. As we build new routines of protection and precaution for ourselves and our families, we must also do so for our essential workers. That is why UFCW 876 supports Senator Gary Peters’ proposal,” said Dan Pedersen, President, UFCW 876. “The COVID-19 Heroes Fund must be considered as Congress contemplates a fourth COVID-19 bill. The proposal is a viable starting point in recognizing frontline workers through premium pay with a retroactive component; and in developing recruitment and retention incentives, through existing disaster federal funding.”
“UNITEHERE! Local 24 wholeheartedly supports Senator Peters as he continues the fight for working people with the Heroes Act. Our members and working people across Michigan are now looking to their leaders to help support them as workers come face to face with this deadly virus. These workers are not the ones you read about everyday in the newspapers but these workers are no less important to our everyday lives and our economy,” said Nia Winston, President, UNITEHERE! Local 24. “Without our members and workers like our members there is no economy, and they need to be compensated at a rate that recognizes them as the heroes they are.”
“Essential workers all across Michigan have been working day in and day out during this pandemic to ensure families are safe and protected,” said Dave Hecker, President, American Federation of Teachers Michigan. “Senator Peters’ Heroes Fund is a sure way to show our teachers and school support staff they are appreciated. We are proud to support this proposal, and grateful we have a leader like Senator Peters fighting for Michigan educators.”
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