Sussex County Commissioners agree to give ARPA funds to unionized essential workers

SUSSEX COUNTY. Eligible essential workers may receive a net amount of $3K to $5K.

| 26 Jun 2022 | 04:39

The Sussex County Commissioners on June 22 ratified agreements with several unions to use American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) money to give “premium pay” to essential workers who worked through the COVID-19 pandemic.

The county came to agreements with AFL-CIO Local 1032’s Non-Supervisory, Social Services Unit, Supervisory Unit, the PVA Local 138 Prosecutor’s Associate Association, the Sheriff’s Unit and the Local 378 Superior Officer Unit and Corrections Unit to pay workers who performed essential work for at least six months between March 9, 2020, and March 7, 2022.

Essential work is defined as on-site work – teleworkers are not eligible – and involved either regular in-person interactions with patients, the public or co-workers of the individual performing the work, or regular physical handling of items that were handled by patients, the public or co-workers.

County officials are looking to pay eligible employees who handled items from patients a net amount of $5,000 and others a net amount of $3,000.

“There’s not a lot of other counties doing this for their employees,” Commissioner Director Anthony Fasano said. “We know that, and it’s one thing for the commissioner’s board to make a decision to do this, it’s another thing to do all the work involved.”

Rae Ann Gerow, president of CWA Local 1032, thanked the commissioners for recognizing the members’ work during the pandemic.

“The polices put in place ensured Sussex County residents were cared for during the pandemic,” she said.

Commissioner Dawn Fantasia said she was happy commissioners were able to do reward the workers in this way and said health care, public health nursing, social workers and others have worked with no concern for their own safety.

“It was the right thing to do this for our county workers, and we appreciate all the work that you did,” she said.