ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)– Albany saw one of the largest rallies since the pandemic. Thousands of healthcare workers from the 1199SEIU Union gathered in Albany on Tuesday. The group marched around the New York State Capitol Building to draw attention to the struggles the health care system is facing since the pandemic.

“I worked on the COVID floor for almost two years,” said Lorraine Thomas. “It’s getting better now since the pandemic is over, but it’s very bad because of short of staff and funding.”

The healthcare workers called for $2.5 billion dollars to be included in the final state budget.

“How many people would continue to work 15 years without having a wage increase? But that’s exactly what the hospitals are doing in terms of Medicaid payments,” said Kenneth Raske, President of the Greater New York Hospital Association.

The union would like to see an increase in Medicaid reimbursement rates by 10% for hospitals and 20% for nursing homes. It would like to keep an increase in wages for home care workers.

“It is hard enough to raise a family on the money they make now,” said George Gresham, 1199SEIU President.

The union members walking from the Capitol to MVP arena, where speakers including Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins addressed the crowd.

“We are fighting for our home care workers wages,” said Stewart-Cousins. “We are fighting everyday for you because we know you are fighting for us!”

The final state budget is due April 1.