CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK)—West Virginia State Police officers and West Virginia Department of Corrections employees are calling for hazard pay for their work during the COVID-19 pandemic. West Virginia State Troopers Association and National Coalition of Public Safety Officers (NCPSO) leaders sent formal requests to Governor Jim Justice and the West Virginia Legislature.
Both organizations have asked the governor and West Virginia lawmakers to appropriate part of the $1.355 billion that the state received from the American Rescue Plan earlier in 2021.
“On behalf of the 1,000 members and employees at our state’s prisons, jails and juvenile facilities, we think a hazard pay bonus would be extremely meaningful,” said NCPSO/CWA Local 2055 President Matthew Brock. “Sadly, two correctional officers in West Virginia died from exposure to COVID-19. We knew the risks, we showed up daily and now we’re seeking hazard pay for all of West Virginia’s public safety heroes.”
“Every member of the Department served with dedication and distinction throughout this pandemic,” stated President of the West Virginia Troopers’ Association/CWA Local 2019, Jeff Chumley. “Now that the Federal Government has gifted these ARPA funds to the state, recognizing frontline public safety workers with a hazard pay bonus would be a win-win for all West Virginians.”
Staff Representative for the CWA International said that this should be a top priority for their union.
“Our sister NCPSO affiliate in Virginia successfully secured $3,000 in bonus pay for correctional employees in August,” said Harris. “We won’t rest here in West Virginia until every correctional worker and every employee of the West Virginia State Police is recognized with the front-line duty hazard pay that they deserve.”