Minnesota frontline pay panel hears more testimony

[anvplayer video=”5052687″ station=”998128″]

(ABC 6 News) – We would not have survived this pandemic without those on the frontlines like healthcare workers. Now, it’s the state’s turn to help them.

As part of Minnesota’s COVID-19 relief fund, the state’s allocating $250 million to help frontline workers. But it’s unclear who is getting that money and how much.

Nurses, business leaders, and grocery store workers urged legislators to help them out, any way that they can.

"Take care of the frontline workers the way we would have taken care of you," nurse Rachel Hanneman said.

One by one, they shared their pleas for help.

"We could have used it then, we desperately need it now. There’s nothing left for a lot of us," Hanneman said.

Workers are reeling from the effects of the pandemic.

"I worry now going to work every day," grocery store worker Mark Husbyn said.

And people like Mark never want to experience the coronavirus pandemic ever again.

"I’ve never felt more sick in my life. All you do is think about your family. I thought about if I die, I lose my pension and my family would have nothing," Husbyn said.

He’s moving on but lives in fear.

"I feel better now, but I go home from work exhausted. I can’t even go outside and work. It seems like I lost a lot of energy from having COVID," Husbyn said.

And as each person took the stand to testify, it’s clear they believe, this money is owed to them.

"The department has recorded over 1,000 staff at facilities around the state who have tested positive for COVID so far. Our exposure is a documented fact, and we deserve to be included in whatever frontline worker pay this group recommends," corrections officer Dan Gorman said.

Legislators agree. They’re just trying to figure out who gets it, and how much.

"We still have a lot of challenging work to get this done on time," House Majority Leader Representative Ryan Winkler said.

And, lawmakers say they won’t stop working until they can provide help to those who have sacrificed so much during the pandemic.

"We cannot make up for what they went through with money and yet that is the tool that we have available to us," Representative Winkler said.

The group has until labor day to reach an agreement on who will get this funding.