Families of transit workers killed by the coronavirus will receive a $500,000 “line of duty” death benefit, the MTA said Tuesday.
The agreement with three of MTA’s largest unions comes after more than 50 agency employees have died from virus-related complications, the vast majority of them city bus and subway workers.
“What our frontline workers have done during this pandemic is nothing short of heroic and we believe this agreement is another crucial step in recognizing their sacrifice,” MTA Chairman Pat Foye said in a statement.
“The losses the MTA family has suffered are heartbreaking and our thoughts are with the families of our beloved colleagues during this challenging time.”
Transit worker families typically receive $50,000 if their loved one dies while in active service.
Under the new policy, listed beneficiaries of workers killed by COVID-19 will receive the “line of duty” postmortem benefit as long as the employee was in active service on Feb. 1, union reps said.
The cash-strapped MTA will cover the costs, despite the agency’s past insistence that the federal government foot the bill.
The MTA is working on similar agreements with the rest of its unions. In a statement, the agency said the “line of duty” distinction will also apply to employees not represented by labor unions.
TWU Local 100, which reps around 40,000 city transit workers, began calling for line of duty benefits after the agency’s first COVID-19 death on March 26, Peter Petrassi.
“This COVID-19 death benefit is a recognition of the incredible contributions and sacrifices our workforce has made,” TWU International President John Samuelsen said in a statement.
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