Utano, Schumer Discuss Hazard Pay, Aid to MTA

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JUNE 29 -- TWU Local 100 President Tony Utano and U.S. Senator Charles Schumer discussed efforts to secure federal funding for mass transit and hazard pay during a meeting Wednesday afternoon. Schumer (D-NY) and Utano spoke for about 25-minutes via Zoom: Utano from the Union Hall on Montague St., and Schumer from his office in Washington, D.C.

The Democrat-controlled House of Representatives in May passed a second proposed coronavirus relief package. It includes a $3.9 billion bailout for the MTA – and money to provide individual bonuses up to $10,000 each for essential workers for their work during the pandemic.

But the Republican-controlled Senate recently introduced a much smaller alternative proposal without subsidies for agencies like the MTA or money for hazard pay. The key will be getting Republican senators from states like Florida and Texas to fund those important goals, Schumer said.

Utano pledged to tap Local 100’s senior power: retirees now living in Florida and other red states. “We will ask them to advocate on behalf of their union brothers and sisters back home in New York,” Utano said. “We’d like them to call the senators down there and urge them to support mass transit and support transit workers.”

The hazard pay component of the House-approved package would give essential workers an extra $13 an hour for the hours worked during the crisis. The maximum payout would be $10,000. Local  100 is coordinating its efforts with the International Transport Workers Union’s Governmental Affairs office in Washington, D.C.