COVID-19 Hazard Pay Press Coverage


Washington Post photo on the inside of a prison cellUnion sues to get hazardous duty pay for federal workers at risk of coronavirus exposure

KCNF attorney Heidi Burakiewicz, the lead attorney on the suit, told the Washington Post that even if more protective equipment is provided, the law requires paying the differentials where safety measures “have not practically eliminated the potential for such personal injury.”


KCNF attorney Heidi Burakiewicz tells the Washington Post that we are “doing everything we can to help…employees…exposing themselves and their families or losing their jobs.”



Inside the Federal Prison That’s ‘Ground Zero’ For the Coronavirus OutbreakVice publicaiton - photo of entrance to Fedederal Correctional Institution

Vice News reported that KCNF attorneys  filed a class-action lawsuit seeking hazard pay for federal workers exposed to the coronavirus while on the job. Three plaintiffs in the lawsuit are from Oakdale, including a correctional officer who claims he was ordered to transport a sick prisoner to the hospital with no protective equipment beyond a pair of gloves.


New York Times Magazine article photo of African-American prison workerAn oral history of the first fatal outbreak in the federal prison system, in Oakdale, La.

Heidi Burakiewicz told the New York Times Magagine that “Federal employees are risking their lives and the lives of their families every day when they leave their homes…All of these men and women, and many others working in jobs across the federal government, have met the legal standards outlined in Title 5 and the government needs to give them their hazard pay differential.” Lawyers Predict a ‘Huge Explosion’ in Worker Class Actions Over COVID-19

So far, employees for the government, a hand bell factory and a hair salon have filed class actions, and lawyers predict many more to come, as about 22 million people file for unemployment claims.
Heidi Burakiewicz explains that “They’re all being exposed to the same hazard, the coronavirus, through the performance of their job duties.” “This is about the workers versus the government.” She went on to point out that “Unions…have never been more important than they are now.”

Wall Street Journal: Coronavirus Puts a Prison Under Siege

As virus spread at Oakdale prison, healthy inmates weren’t always separated from sick ones; coughing echoed through the hallways

People’s World: Federal union sues for hazardous duty pay for exposed workers

Federal workers at airports too, like the workers at prisons and other federal institutions, are in danger of getting sick and AFGE is demanding protective measures for all of them.

The Marshall Project: Federal Prisons Agency “Put Staff in Harm’s Way” of Coronavirus

The threat of coronavirus is particularly acute for people trapped in the justice system.
The union says the agency has failed to protect workers at its 122 facilities.

ABC News: Federal prisons facing shortages of resources amid coronavirus outbreak

Officials are growing increasingly concerned for inmates and staff. The federal government needs to take immediate steps to protect federal employees and get them the personal protective equipment they need.

GovExec Daily: The Hazard Pay Lawsuit

Erich Wagner and Tom Shoop joined the podcast to talk about the hazard pay lawsuit and the future of hazard pay for feds during the pandemic.

Federal News Network: AFGE sues for hazard pay for federal employees working through coronavirus pandemic

The lawsuit, which AFGE and KCNF filed in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, seeks back pay, plus interest and any associated attorney fees, for all class-action plaintiffs who were potentially exposed to the coronavirus at work without the proper protective gear from Jan. 27 through the present.

Fox 5 New (DC local)

Tonight, one of the largest federal workers union is suing the federal government for failing to give hazardous duty pay to workers who’ve been potentially exposed to the coronavirus.

WTOP Radio: Federal workers seek hazard duty pay because of exposure to coronavirus

Government Executive, Federal Workers, Union Sue for Hazard Pay

Bloomberg News: Coronavirus Hazard Pay Sought by Federal Workers Suing U.S. Government Sued Over Federal Employees Exposed to Coronavirus VA Workers Sue for Hazardous Duty Pay During Pandemic 

FCW- The Business of Federal Technology: AFGE Sues for Hazard Pay

Law360: Fed. Workers Union Demands Hazard Pay for Virus Exposure

Agri-Pulse: Lawsuit seeks COVID-19 hazard pay for federal workers

The Oregonian: Federal prison workers file suit seeking hazardous pay after guards exposed to coronavirus in Louisiana lockup

NBC News Online Blog: Inmate dies after contracting coronavirus at federal prison

WAMU- NPR (DC): Coronavirus Latest: Five Federal Workers Seek Hazard Pay Following COVID-19 Exposure

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