Updated: October 15, 2020 06:18 PM
Created: October 15, 2020 05:52 PM
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — More than 200 employees in the Rochester City School District were laid off Thursday. They not only lost their jobs, but will soon lose their healthcare benefits.
BENTE Local 2419, which represents these workers held a rally Thursday sending a message to school superintendent Dr. Lesli Myers-
Small asking her to keep their health benefits active during this pandemic.
News10NBC's Patrick Moussignac went to the firefighters' hall on Hudson Avenue where the rally took place.
The employees were mostly food service employees who worked in each of the school's cafeterias, as well as many school security guards.
Advocating that healthcare is a human right, BENTE President Dan DiClemente was joined by several employees at the rally.
DiClemente told News10NBC these affected employees will see their benefits end at the end of this month.
He went on to say the district also withdrew its own furlough agreement that would've continued their benefits in the interim as they wait and see if school returns to either a hybrid or full in-person schedule.
Employees who did not get laid off had their hours drastically cut. Cook manager Pearl Perry says she's worked for the district for 21 years and now her hours were cut down to just four and half hours per day.
"I don't know what to do,” Perry said. “I don't know where to go, what to do. I can't pay, I'm not going to be able to pay my RG&E. I'm not going to be able to feed myself. I'm just stuck. It's just sad."
The school district did release a statement saying they will help the laid off employees sign up for new benefits through local health agencies.
The district scheduled three in-person sessions where affected BENTE members will have an opportunity to sign up for health insurance.
On Oct. 20, 27 and 28. Health Navigators will be at Central Office, 131 West Broad St., from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to help with enrollment and provide information.
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