ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — In the New York State Budget, $1.3 billion was allocated for certain frontline healthcare workers. This includes but is not limited to those who are nurses, therapists, clerks, and custodians as a way to attract more employees and thank them for their service during the pandemic.
Now, the Police Benevolent Association of New York State is calling on the State University of New York and the Division of Budget to include university police who work at state teaching hospitals to be included in the list of professions eligible to receive the Hygiene Worker Bonus.
“University police officers provide safety and security for all the patients that are coming in,” Stated James McCartney, PBA of New York State President. “We are the first contact with patients at most of the hospitals such as Downstate, Stonybrook and Syracuse Upstate Hospital.”
The PBA’s president said like other professions throughout the pandemic, SUNY police officers also worked long hours and faced the risk of getting COVID.
“From escorting patients after they expired, to directing people to the proper place to get care, they are the initial point of contact so that’s why we believe they are eligible because they have a lot of face time with the people as they come in.”
While the PBA is calling specifically for the bonus to be given to the officers working at hospitals, ideally the president said he’d like to see it expanded to SUNY officers as a whole.
“Numerous SUNY’s were testing sites and vaccination centers throughout the state—and not only SUNY Workers. We had our park police, forest rangers and environmental conservation workers working these test site centers throughout New York State.”
SUNY released a statement which said, “Independently, SUNY values the essential members of its university police department and the services they provide to help keep our students, faculty, and staff safe. We are pleased that our officers received well-deserved raises this past Spring, as well as additional hazard pay. We look forward to continuing our work together.”
According to the PBA, no additional pay was given to SUNY officers related to COVID-19.