MTA to pay $500K 'death benefit' to families of employees who die of COVID-19

Maya Rajamani
April 14, 2020 - 5:50 pm


NEW YORK (1010 WINS) — The families of MTA workers who died of COVID-19 will each receive a $500,000 “death benefit” payment as part of an agreement with three labor unions. 

The MTA will pay $500,000 “to the surviving family of any worker who lost their life as a result of COVID-19, in addition to providing health insurance to the spouse and dependents to the age of 26 of the surviving family for three years,” the agency said in a release Tuesday. 

So far, 2,269 MTA employees have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, 59 of whom have died, an MTA spokeswoman said Tuesday.

A total of 4,883 MTA employees, meanwhile, are currently in quarantine, according to the spokeswoman; 3,266 employees who were previously in quarantine or out sick have since returned to work.

The MTA reached the agreement with Transport Workers Union Local 100; the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers; and International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 808. The agency’s board is expected to ratify the agreement on April 22. 

“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 and CEO 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,” he added.

Among the MTA employees to die of COVID-19 were Peter Petrassi, a 49-year-old veteran subway conductor from Queens, and Oliver Cyrus, a 61-year-old bus operator from Brooklyn who had worked as a bus driver for 21 years.