Whitmer declares June 17 Essential Worker Appreciation Day

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Detroit – Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Thursday issued a proclamation to mark June 17 as Critical Workers Appreciation Day amid calls on state and city leaders to prioritize the use of federal relief aid COVID-19 to support frontline workers and their families.

The governor also approved federal “Hero Pay” legislation, a one-time bonus for all essential workers in the coronavirus pandemic during a press conference at the Mission Point Nursing & Physical Rehabilitation Center in Detroit with members of SEIU Healthcare Michigan and CEO and President of Michigan Management Services Roger Mali.

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“Every day during this crisis, we have relied on our essential workers to take care of the people who need them most,” said Whitmer. “We won’t stop until we recognize our essential workers, not just with a day of appreciation, but with the Hero Pay you won.”

As part of President Joe Biden’s US bailout, Michigan received about $ 18 billion in COVID-19 recovery assistance, of which about $ 6.5 billion over which the state has greater power discretionary. The state allocation includes $ 826 million for the city of Detroit.

Essential workers called on state and city leaders to put working families at the top of the list by prioritizing bonuses as well as health care, nursing homes and other essential workers. high risk of contracting the virus due to their work.

Tamara Blue, a health worker at Mission Point, told Thursday’s press conference that frontline workers were called heroes, but didn’t feel like they were treated as such. .

“We are working hard, but we still cannot afford basic needs like rent and health care. Many of us cannot afford to take time off to recuperate after this traumatic year,” he said. Blue said. “It’s time for that to change – for essential workers to be valued and respected. “

Whitmer announces Essential Worker Appreciation Day

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said the city will use some federal funding to tackle intergenerational poverty. The city has organized a series of public consultation sessions to identify key areas of spending. City council must vote to allocate funds by June 30.

Last year, Whitmer launched the “Futures for Frontliners” program to offer a tuition-free path to college or a technical certificate for essential workers who do not have a college degree. Since then, more than 120,000 frontline workers have applied.

Whitmer went on Thursday to talk about how essential workers deserve “a salary they can live on” and thanked the Biden administration for allocating funds for this need.

“With the US bailout, we are very grateful to the Biden administration, to the Democrats in Congress who voted to make this a reality, and now it’s up to us…” Whitmer added. “That’s why it’s so important.”

Whitmer has detailed plans to allocate a portion of the federal dollars to child care programs, small business and recreation, among others.

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