Despite the funding provided by the U.S. rescue program, few Midwestern states offer high salaries to essential workers

Despite the funding provided by the U.S. rescue program, few Midwestern states offer high salaries to essential workers


Key points

  • American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) US$195 billion Provide financial recovery funds directly to the states.
  • One of the main uses of the funds is to pay extra for frontline workers affected by the pandemic, which will benefit black and brown workers and women disproportionately.
  • However, only two Midwestern states—Michigan and Minnesota—are using funds from the US rescue program to provide low-wage basic workers with high salaries (also known as “hazard pay”).
  • This breaks down to the fact that only 2% of the funds allocated to the Midwestern states are used to pay premiums. Basic workers deserve better treatment.

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) provides a historic opportunity for state and local governments to shape the economic recovery of their region and resolve Long-standing inequality The pandemic continues to be exposed and worsened. One direct way ARPA funds can be used to eliminate these inequalities is to raise workers’ wages. Disproportionate black and brown workers and women They have been at the forefront of public health and economic crises. However, few Midwestern states choose to do so. So far, data on the allocation of ARPA funds by states shows that very few resources are used to pay insurance premiums.

Assigned ARPA US$195 billion In terms of fiscal recovery, funds are provided directly to the states, and billions of dollars are also provided to counties, cities, tribal governments, and other local government units. Temporary Regulation The Ministry of Finance has established four permitted uses of ARPA funds: including infrastructure investment; providing assistance to affected households, small businesses, non-profit organizations, and industries; supporting state government services affected by tax shortages; and premiums.

Among the four uses, high salaries in particular will help promote marginal chemical workers affected by the pandemic. Premium” (sometimes called hazard pay, sometimes called “Hero pay“Enterprises) apply to “workers in critical infrastructure sectors, who often work in person, interact with others at work, or handle items handled by others in person. “This includes work in childcare, medical care, grocery stores, meat processing, transportation, and public health.

State and local governments also have additional flexibility to determine which jobs are essential and encourage low-paid workers to be prioritized. The states can provide an additional $13 per hour in addition to the compensation they have already received, but each eligible worker cannot exceed $25,000.

According to ARPA, senior salary is only applicable to front-line workers who are unable to work remotely and “are at higher risk due to the nature of the work”. EPI research shows black and Latino workers Least impossible to work remotely There are also black workers and Latino workers, Especially Latino womenBecause of their representatives in industries classified as basic jobs, they also experienced severe unemployment during the public health and economic crisis.

In the largest front-line sector of healthcare, women make up 76% of workers, but they are usually paid 5.12 USD There are fewer than men in the industry per hour. In the second-largest front-line sector-food and agriculture-half of the workers are people of color. Sadly, due to the historical and continuing impact of structural racism in the sector, food and agricultural workers also earn the lowest wages, with a median hourly wage of $13.12 per hour in 2019.

For assistance to solve the most unfair problems in wages and employment, it should be “Targeted To the most vulnerable families and individuals. “Federal rules stipulate that premium payments should be “prioritized to compensate those Low-income eligible workers Those who perform basic tasks” [emphasis added]. A sort of Polls EPI was launched in the late spring of 2020 and found that only 30% of people who work outside of home received any form of premium. By the fall of 2020, most large employers have terminated premium payments, although many states have used the funds provided by the CARES Act to develop premium payment plans. Most of them will end in 2020. Two-thirds of low-paid workers No paid sick leave, Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 2,000 Americans die every day.

The Midwestern states can provide high salaries if they wish. In addition to billions of ARPA funds, The financial situation of the Midwestern states Quite good; all Midwestern states have positive balance sheets at the end of fiscal 2021, and 9 of the 12 Midwestern states have income growth faster than the 2021 national median.

One of ARPA’s goals is to help states recover their lost revenues, and this goal can be achieved to a large extent with only a small portion of ARPA funds. More needs to be done to address other key goals of ARPA funding, such as “supporting families to achieve immediate economic stability” and “resolving systemic public and economic challenges that lead to unequal effects of the pandemic.” The region particularly needs high salaries: before the pandemic, the median wage for workers in the Midwest was “Lower than any other census area. “

Although there is a need to pay high salaries for basic workers in the Midwest, and although there are sufficient funds to provide high salaries through ARPA, we show below that most states do not provide them. At least one state—Indiana—is using high-paying resources to increase police and imprisonment budgets without providing any relief for workers in the aforementioned low-wage sectors.

Illinois: not any.

Provided a 12% salary increase for 24,000 essential national staff 2020 year, But has nothing to do with the ARPA fund.

Indiana: A total of US$10,500,000 was used for Congressional Police, State Police, Department of Corrections officials, and staff performing correctional duties.

Iowa: not any.

Kansas: not any.

Michigan: Become permanent $2.35/hour raise, A total of US$460 million, for direct caregivers working in homes or nursing facilities. However, this only covers the occupations of “registered professional nurses, nurse practitioners, ability assessment nursing assistants, and respiratory therapists”, so it does not include many basic staff in nursing homes, such as nutritionists, guardianship staff, and physical therapists.

Minnesota: Officially recognized $250 million in bonuses, Eligible recipients and amounts are determined by the Joint Administrative Legislative Working Group.The group was supposed to complete its recommendations by September 7, but it has Missed the deadlineA member of the working group, State Senator Erin Murphy, called for more than $250 million in funding.

Missouri: not any.

Missouri used the CARES Act funds to provide more than 18,000 state employees with US$73 million in premiums in fiscal year 2021, but has not yet allocated any additional premiums from the ARPA fund.

Nebraska: not any.

North Dakota: not any.

Ohio: not any.

South Dakota: not any.

the state of Wisconsin: not any.

These states will receive a total of 36 billion U.S. dollars In ARPA fundsThe US$720.5 million allocated to basic workers’ hazard pay accounts for approximately 2% of the available funds.

The Midwestern states still have time to properly compensate low-wage basic workers for the risks they face and continue to face during the pandemic. The insurance premiums can be traced back to the beginning of the pandemic emergency, so there is still time to help unpaid workers. 9 out of 12 states did not even spend half Their allocated ARPA funds have not yet been completed.

Since ARPA passed, we have always believed that it is time to spend these funds, not only to maintain the economic recovery, but also to help low-wage workers and their families rebuild an economy that is better than we enter 2020. ARPA Fund supports Frontline workers provide an important opportunity while also addressing the long-standing racial and gender inequalities of workers. The high salaries of these workers are a step in reducing these long-standing inequalities and ensuring that every job is a good job.

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