More than a year into the pandemic and the economic crisis it generated, many workers continue to be excluded from receiving any government relief. These excluded workers include undocumented people — many of them in essential services — and people recently released from prison. Hundreds of essential workers across New York are leading marches and hunger strikes to demand lawmakers support a $3.5 billion fund that would be the first of its kind in the United States to provide pandemic relief funding to those excluded from the current system. Governor Andrew Cuomo is now in final negotiations with legislators on a budget bill that was due last month, which could issue payments to up to 275,000 people. "I truly believe that this is the job of government," says Marcela Mitaynes, a New York assemblymember who is joining excluded workers in their hunger strike to push for pandemic relief and has called for a wealth tax to fund it. "We're supposed to provide for our people. And this is a moment where we need to step up."
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Human Rights and Equality
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