Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) hosted a news conference call Wednesday as he unveils his ‘Heroes Fund’ proposal, a pandemic premium pay plan he helped release with Senate Democrats this week.
The COVID-19 “Heroes Fund” would help reward, retain and recruit essential workers who are on the frontlines of this pandemic.
Brown and Senate Democrat 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 Senator 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.”
Brown’s plan includes:
- A premium pay increase of up to $25,000 for essential workers, equivalent 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 to fight the public health crisis.
Brown introduced the plan with Sens. Schumer (D-NY), Murray (D-WA), Casey (D-PA), Tom Udall (D-NM) and Peters (D-MI).
Brown was joined on the call by United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) President Marc Perrone. UFCW is the labor union of many grocery store workers in Ohio and across the country. President Perrone spoke about the importance of Brown’s plan 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 United Food and Commercial Workers International President Marc Perrone.
“UFCW is proud to support Senator 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.”
Brown has been working to ensure we better recognize and compensate our frontline workers, who are making great personal sacrifices, putting in grueling hours and risking their health and safety to keep our country safe.
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 frontline of the coronavirus pandemic, including doctors, nurses, grocery store workers, building cleaners, letter carriers, transit workers and more.
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.