NEW YORK - The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has come to an agreement to give families of workers who have died with coronavirus a $500,000 death benefit payment.
Under the agreement, the MTA will pay $500,000 in a lump sum to the spouse, beneficiary or estate of each deceased member who was in active service on or after February 1, 2020, the Transport Workers Union (TWU) reports.
The agreement covers members of four TWU Locals: Local 100, Local 106, Local 2001 and Local 2055. It also covers IBT Local 108 and all non-union workers, according to the MTA.
59 MTA workers have died from COVID-19 as of Tuesday.
"We can’t bring back our heroic co-workers but we can make sure their families are taken care of," Local 100 President Tony Utano said.
TWU first called for the $500,000 Line of Duty benefit (instead of the $50,000 Active Duty benefit) on March 26 after a conductor became the first MTA worker to die from coronavirus.
"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 Patrick 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."
The MTA said the benefits will also include health insurance for the survivor's spouse and dependents.
R179 subway cars operating on the J line. (Courtesy of MTA New York City Transit)