Assemblywoman Rozic, Assemblyman Hevesi Join Public Health Solutions Employees to Advocate for Fair Wages

Wage Increase Would Benefit All Community-Based Public Health Workers

FLUSHING, NY– Today, Assemblymembers Nily Rozic (D-Fresh Meadows) and Andrew Hevesi held a press conference at Public Health Solutions’ Flushing WIC Center to advocate for the passage of legislation A8437/S7793. This legislation aims to extend the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) to cover all public health workers. 

Hevesi's legislation seeks to address an ongoing wage issue by extending last year’s COLA increase to all nonprofit contracts, ensuring fair compensation that reflects the essential nature of all public health workers. Currently, New York is required to provide cost of living increases to only some contracted human service workers and programs. Because of this, many human services workers across the state do not receive the wage increase and instead are held at lower rates. This has made it challenging for human services provider organizations to hire and retain qualified staff. 

“This legislation will positively impact the lives of our community-based public health workers. They are the backbone of our communities, tirelessly working to ensure everyone’s wellbeing, often without the recognition they truly deserve. Passing this legislation means that our dedicated public health workers will be able to sustain themselves and their families in the face of ever-rising living costs,” said Assemblywoman Nily Rozic. 

“For decades, New York State has failed to understand and acknowledge the crucial importance of human services workers. It is our responsibility to provide deserved Cost Of Living Adjustments for our state employees," said Andrew Hevesi, Chair of the Assembly Children & Families Committee. "Thank you to our partners in this effort, the Chinese-American Planning Council, Public Health Solutions and a huge thank you to Assemblymember Rozic for all of her efforts on behalf of these workers.

“The Human Services Council and our members are grateful to the legislature for pushing for a 3.2% COLA for human services organizations and the over 800,000 workers who serve New Yorkers every day. The COLA has to be inclusive of all human services programs, and therefore passing S7793/A8437 sponsored by Assemblymember Hevesi and Senator Persuad, and supported by Assemblymember Rozic is crucial, and we applaud their leadership,” said Michelle Jackson, Executive Director, Human Services Council.

“The community-based public health workforce is crucial to the health of New Yorkers. They are the ones who ensure access to resources for those who need them the most. They are largely women of color, living locally in the communities they serve. But this workforce has been overlooked and left behind in recent wage increases for essential health and human services workers, despite showing up through COVID, inflation and a migrant crisis. So it is past time to support this bill to ensure just pay— a human services COLA that includes ALL human service contracts, including State Department of Health contracts,” said Zachariah Hennessey, Executive Vice President & Chief Strategy Officer, Public Health Solutions.

The event shed light on the positive impact this legislation could have, particularly for community-based public health workers. Despite their contributions, many public health workers face financial challenges, with recent data revealing that 73% report their wages do not keep pace with the cost of living.