Manhattan COVID-19 News Roundup, May 28, 2020

COVID-19 molecule
COVID-19 (Credit: CDC/ Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAMS)

Johnson Calls for Equal Pay for FDNY EMS Workers

Council Member Corey Johnson
Council Member Corey Johnson (Credit: Jeff Reed)

In a Thursday op-ed to the Gotham Gazette, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson (D-Midtown West, Chelsea, West Village) called for fairer pay for the paramedics and EMTs of the city’s fire department.

Johnson indicated that the FDNY’s EMS workers are more likely to be people of color and/or women compared to the department’s firefighters.

“FDNY EMS members are paid about $12,000 less on average, annually, and more than double that amount after five years; despite routinely facing threats to their safety as they provide life-saving medical care to well over 8 million New Yorkers, as well as commuters, tourists, and other visitors who need it,” he wrote.

Johnson also argued that the unequal pay was causing great turnover for FDNY EMS workers.

“Demoralized and undervalued, some 900 skilled and well-trained EMTs and paramedics left their jobs during that period to earn tens of thousands of dollars more as firefighters through an exclusive testing and hiring process within FDNY,” said Johnson.

Chin Demands Explanation for Closing FiDi to Mass Transit

Council Member Margaret Chin
Council Member Margaret Chin

As the New York Stock Exchange reopened Tuesday, more cars than usual flooded the already-cramped Financial District streets. In part, it came in part from a ban on mass transit to the neighborhood.

City Councilmember Margaret Chin (D-Financial District, Chinatown) wrote Mayor Bill De Blasio (D) a letter arguing that the ban was discriminatory and had no real public health benefits, Streetsblog NYC reported.

“Not only does a public transportation ban send a message of exclusion, it is unclear what kind of public health rationale, if any, was involved in this decision,” said Chin. “The return of traffic congestion will not only negate positive outcomes [such as open streets and the bike lane], but will also worsen air quality, which has been increasingly linked to COVID-19 exposure and transmission.”

Despite Odds Against Her, Seawright Keeps Fighting for Seat

Assembly Member Rebecca A. Seawright
Assembly Member Rebecca A. Seawright

Despite her disqualification from the ballot, Assemblymember Rebecca Seawright (D-Upper East Side, Roosevelt Island) continues to seek alternative ways to hold her seat against Lou Puliafito (R), a neighborhood doorman, City & State New York reported Friday.

Most likely, Seawright will have to run a write-in campaign, which will not be easy.

“The Republican Party has thus far forced a Soviet Union-style election with a sole hand-picked candidate,” she said. “We will continue to fight for ballot access so that the voters will have a choice this November. “

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