Families of MTA employees who die from COVID-19 will be given $500,000
Families of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) employees who have lost their lives to coronavirus will receive $500,000.
This decision was announced on Tuesday, April 14th, after 59 transit workers have died from COVID-19, as reported by Mail Online. The funds were part of line-of-duty death benefits that union leaders demanded the MTA heads to provide. MTA Chairman, Pat Foye, explained to Spectrum News:
“This is a first-in-the nation agreement that will protect and provide the families of those we have lost with substantial benefits, befitting the tragic loss they experienced.”
After several days of negotiation, as the MTA insisted the federal government to pay, a decision was finally made. The president of the Transport Workers Union, John Samuelsen, said:
“This COVID-19 death benefit is a recognition for the incredible contributions and sacrifices our workforce has made.”
In addition to the lump $500,000 payment, the public transportation corporation is also planning to cover the health insurance of spouses and their dependents for three years.
Families will not be required to prove the virus was contracted on the job. In fact, Foye himself tested positive for coronavirus. He explains:
“I was tested positive, I have no idea how or when or under what circumstances I came in contact with the virus, we’re not going to require that of our fallen colleagues.”
The MTA reassures that the financial benefit is not aiming to prevent possible litigation from the families of their employees. The MTA Chairman added:
“We believe it’s the right thing to do.”
In the deal are covered all staff, such as subway, bus, and commuter rail unions. Currently, there are ongoing negotiations with other MTA employees. Foye is also working with the board to approve benefits for non-union employees.
New York’s MTA claims it has sought to keep up normal service on the most-used routes to keep trains from getting too crowded.
Moreover, there are police guiding people on subway platforms to less crowded sections of trains.
By Thursday, April 16th, there are 214,832 confirmed coronavirus cases in New York, with 11,629 fatalities. However, the numbers may not be completely accurate, as they do not include the some 3,000 that were added to New York City’s death toll because officials are now counting people who died without ever testing positive for COVID-19, but who medics fear had the virus.