GERRY – Two local officials took an opportunity Tuesday to experience the life of a front-line worker during an appearance at the Country Fair on Route 60.
U.S. Congressman Tom Reed and State Senator George Borrello hopped behind the counter to make a submarine sandwich, with the officials and workers appearing to have a fun-filled time. Both Reed and Borrello, however, turned serious as they applauded the workers’ efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic, with the Congressman additionally discussing the “Rewarding American Workers Act.”
“What this is about is giving them a cash bonus for being on the front line during the crisis, showing up at work and rewarding that American work ethic in regards to the next potential economic stimulus package coming out,” Reed said. “We are going to be strongly advocating that these workers are the ones we should be giving the checks to, to just say thank you and to honor their service and honor the risking of their lives and showing up during the crisis and keeping us fed, keeping us safe, and working together getting through this crisis.”
“I think it’s only right that they receive a financial benefit, a significant financial benefit to send the message that we’re with them.”
Borrello says it’s important for the community to recognize that there’s a wide range of essential employees who’ve worked through the pandemic.
“When we think of front line workers, we think of our first responders, we think of people in health care,” Borrello said. “But it’s the folks like this (gas station employees) that continue to work, even though there was incentive for them not to work, continue to work. Talk to a truck driver who has to stop somewhere, get something to eat, get back on the road. And these people, along with that truck driver, are the front line workers that have kept the economy going during this crisis.
“So recognizing that, and incentivizing and thanking them is important.”
Reed says he anticipates the bonus would go through the payroll tax credit system and the bonus would “essentially” appear in their next paycheck. The Congressman says, for example, a person making around $30,000-$35,000 would receive roughly a $3,000 bonus, and then the bonus staggers as the wage goes up. He adds that those making a higher wage would still receive roughly $600.
The Congressman adds anyone who has worked from the first date of the national emergency declaration to the date of the bill’s passing would receive a bonus. He says that includes dependents.
Reed told WNYNewsNow that there’s been bipartisan support in the House, adding that he’s “dropped” the proposal to some members of the Senate.
David Brink, County Fair director of operations, Paul Rankin, Country Fair vice president of retail marketing and Steve Seymour, Country Fair director of personnel also attended the gathering.