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Western Regional Jail in Barboursville is pictured. West Virginia law enforcement and correctional worker unions have asked for hazard pay for work performed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

CHARLESTON — West Virginia law enforcement and correctional worker unions have asked Gov. Jim Justice and lawmakers for hazard pay for work performed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

West Virginia Troopers’ Association/CWA Local 2019 and the National Coalition of Public Safety Officers/CWA LOCAL 2055 wrote to Justice in separate requests and additionally mailed and emailed copies of the request of members of the West Virginia Legislature.

Jeff Chumley, president of the West Virginia Troopers’ Association/CWA Local 2019, along with Matthew Brock, president of the National Coalition of Public Safety Officers/CWA LOCAL 2055, said Monday they have asked for some monies from the $1.355 billion given to the state via the American Rescue Plan Act be given to troopers and 1,000 members and employees of the state’s prisons, jails and juvenile facilities.

“Sadly, two correctional officers in West Virginia died from exposure to COVID-19,” Brock said. “We knew the risks, we showed up daily, and now we’re seeking hazard pay for all of West Virginia’s public safety heroes.”

“Every member of the department served with dedication and distinction throughout this pandemic,” stated Chumley. “Now that the federal government has gifted these ARPA funds to the state, recognizing frontline public safety workers with a hazard pay bonus would be a win-win for all West Virginians.”

Elaine Harris, staff representative for the NCPSO CWA International, said its sister union in Virginia received $3,000 in bonus pay for correctional employees in August. The Virginia Legislature passed H.B. 2007 giving state troopers and corrections workers a hazard pay bonus using federal ARPA funds that were given to Virginia.

“We won’t rest here in West Virginia until every correctional worker and every employee of the West Virginia State Police is recognized with the front-line duty hazard pay that they deserve,” she said.

Courtney Hessler is a reporter for The Herald-Dispatch, covering police and courts. Follow her on Facebook.com/CHesslerHD and via Twitter @HesslerHD.

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