What has been the impact of COVID-19 in your local community?
¿Cuál ha sido el impacto de COVID-19 en tu comunidad?
NENYCOSH is based out of Albany, NY, and we work around the Capital Region to train workers on their rights, how to identify work hazards, and what resources are available to them if they are hurt or injured at work. Because Albany and the surrounding areas have large pockets of essential workers, we are seeing that COVID-19 has made it risky to physically go to work. COVID-19 has specifically affected workers employed in food service and grocery stores who are working longer hours to meet the public demands for food and supplies, those employed as janitors and maintenance workers who are having to do more regular cleaning and disinfecting, restaurant workers who have been laid off, and agricultural/rural workers employed in the area’s farms and racetracks who are living in tight quarters with limited access to transportation. With the re-opening of the state, we have seen that many workers are wary of going back to their workplace because they are fearful of getting sick or of infecting a family member with COVID-19.
What have been the challenges in responding to the impact? What has been the greatest need in the community?
¿Que desafíos han enfrentado al responder al impacto de la pandemia? ¿Cuáles han sido las necesidades más urgentes de la comunidad?
Our main challenge has remained constant throughout the pandemic- accessibility to workers. Many workers do not have the resources to log on to our online trainings, whether that be because they do not own a computer, don’t have access to wifi, or don’t have the time to sit through the training given their long work hours. A major need that we have recognized in our community is information on how to stay safe, given the industry the worker is involved in. For example, we have received many questions during our trainings about child care workplaces, and how to stay safe given the nature of the work.
How did your organization respond?
¿Cómo ha respondido tu organización?
NENYCOSH has continued to train with various organizations in order to broaden the range of workers we can support. This includes shifting our training practices to an online platform so that we can train with workers virtually instead of having them join us in person. In addition, we have been able to pass out PPE kits to Latinx workers with a grant we were awarded by HIP. this has allowed us to pass out appropriate PPE, as well as provide training on effective use of the PPE we have given out.
What has brought you the greatest joy in your work?
¿Qué parte del trabajo que hace tu organización te da la más felicidad?
Speaking with workers and hearing their stories has been the greatest joy of our work. We learn from the workers just as much, if not more, than they learn from us. It is a privilege to hear their stories and experiences.
What would you like people to know?
¿Que te gustaría que la gente sepa de tu trabajo?
Our work is one that requires patience. We train workers year round, and although it may seem that there is no progress being made, we are doing work that will be more obvious long-term.
How can the community support your efforts?
¿Que pueden hacer tu comunidad para apoyar tu trabajo?
One of the best ways to support our work is to connect and collaborate with us for training. If you are an employer or run any type of organization that has contact with low-wage, young and/or undocumented workers, providing our training to your community will benefit them directly. In addition, if you want to further support NENYCOSH’s efforts, become a member and receive information on our work. If you would like to explore both of those options, visit: www.nenycosh.org/get_involved