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February 9th, 2022

Contact: Patrick Nevada. 646-866-9065.

ALIGN to Governor Hochul: With the Indoor Business Mask Mandate Lifted,   Investing in NY HERO can Protect Workers

The call for NY HERO investment is followed after the Department of Labor revealed it had received 53,000 Covid complaints throughout the pandemic. 

NEW YORK – Today, Maritza Silva-Farrell, Executive Director of the advocacy group ALIGN, released a statement in response to Governor Hochul’s decision to lift the mask mandate:

“What separates New York from other states like New Jersey that have rolled back mask mandates is that New Yorkers have access to permanent infectious disease standards through the NY HERO Act. NY HERO gives workers a voice when they feel unsafe through enforceable airborne infectious standards. Governor Hochul can fully realize the vision of  NY HERO by investing $50 million in enforcement, education, training, and ventilation upgrades. The DOL revealed last week that they have received more than 53,000 covid complaints throughout the pandemic – this points to a real problem of workplace spread. A modest investment in NY HERO will undoubtedly make New York safer and save lives.” said Maritza Silva-Farrell, Executive Director of ALIGN, a key leader in the New York Essential Workers coalition.

“Moreover, the law allows private sector workplaces with 10 or more employees to create worker committees so they have a seat at the table when it comes to health and safety issues, not just Covid-19. This is a model legislation for a country that is entering its third year of the pandemic. Giving workers protections and a voice is the best way to prevent future outbreaks,” said Silva-Farrell.

ALIGN leads the New York Essential Workers Coalition, a statewide group of over 75 labor unions, worker centers, advocacy groups, and community organizations that won the fight to pass NY HERO last year. 

About New York Essential Workers Coalition

The Essential Workers Coalition is composed of unions, worker centers, immigrant rights organizations, legal service providers, health and safety organizations, and community-based organizations. The coalition saw that working people were denied the basic right to a safe and healthy workplace, and together moved to build a statewide movement to protect our NY heroes. After a year-long fight, this coalition celebrated a monumental victory with the signing of the NY HERO Act into law, enshrining a worker-led vision of health and safety for our communities.


ALIGN (Alliance for a Greater New York) is a longstanding alliance of labor and community organizations united for a just and sustainable New York. ALIGN works at the intersection of economy, environment, and equity to make change and build movement. Our model addresses the root causes of economic injustice by forging strategic coalitions, shaping the public debate through strategic communications, and developing  policy solutions that make an impact.