COVID-19 Union Response Bulletin – April 16 Issue
This morning we held our second unionwide tele town hall where we heard from Washington Gov. Jay Inslee; Secretary of Health John Wiesman; and Vice Admiral Raquel Bono, director for the state’s COVID-19 Health System Response Management. Thank you to those who were able to join us!
Gov. Inslee recognized the importance of frontline workers and thanked us for our commitment to doing our jobs despite great risk. The governor and his team vowed to continue to partner with us to ensure we have the resources we need to safely perform our essential work. Union members from across the state had the chance to ask questions related to PPE, our state’s economy, testing, hazard pay and the ongoing response to the public health crisis, among other topics. Look out for the recording of the call — we’ll post it on our COVID-19 response site as soon as it is available.
As members across Washington and Montana — and our families — adjust to a new normal, our union’s commitment to speaking out and advocating for safe working conditions and PPE equipment remains steadfast. We’ve made great strides toward progress but we will continue standing together so no worker is left behind.
- Kaiser Permanente Washington: Through our unity in the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions, we won a stipend for child care assistance, support for temporary shelter to keep our household members safe, and 80 additional hours of administrative leave if we test positive for the virus. Together, we’re leading the way in setting national standards by refusing to compromise on the wellbeing of our members.
- University of Washington: Our unity secured an agreement that includes protections for workers in the at-risk group and protects those of us who are redeployed. If we test positive for COVID-19, UW will not contest that we were exposed at work. Because we have a strong union, we were able to pressure UW administration toward adopting better proposals than those they were willing to accept at first. We united for more security while caring for patients, and we won strong guarantees.
- PeaceHealth St. Joseph: Our union entered into a Memorandum of Agreement with PeaceHealth St. Joe’s in response to the COVID-19 crisis that ensures paid leave for caregivers who test positive, consistent communication and enhanced floating protections. In addition, caregivers will now have access to Washington’s Paid Family Medical Leave program thanks to our unity and advocacy.
- Cascade Behavioral Health: We fought for and won an agreement that ensures paid administrative leave for quarantined workers, provides timely notice regarding exposure, and secures a commitment to following the OFM guidelines regarding telework and responsibilities to provide support to clients. This strong agreement sets the standard for our union’s work at other behavioral health facilities.
- Czar’s cabinet: Our union’s Executive Vice President, Jane Hopkins, RN, was appointed to the cabinet of the state’s COVID-19 Health System Response Management, led by Vice Admiral (Ret.) Raquel Bono. This means that the voice of frontline workers will be at the table when crucial decisions are made in the effort to combat the virus.
PROTECTING AT-RISK CAREGIVERS
Gov. Jay Inslee on Monday issued a proclamation giving high-risk workers the right to protect themselves from COVID-19 without jeopardizing their employment status or loss of income. The proclamation provides older workers and those with underlying health conditions a series of rights and protections.
King County and the City of Seattle have partnered with healthcare unions to provide workers with no-cost hotel rooms so we can keep our families safe. To access this resource, please call (425) 207-3031 to verify your union membership. The phone line is staffed from 8 am to 9 pm Monday through Friday, and from 9 am to 5:30 pm on weekends.
Make sure to check our regularly updated Frequently Asked Questions page. Access a handy chart that lets you easily identify the benefits you may qualify for based on individual scenarios, whether you live in Washington or Montana.
King County and the City of Seattle are stepping up to expand child care options for healthcare workers during this time of crisis. We’ve compiled all the child care resources available in Washington for frontline healthcare professionals like us.
GET IN TOUCH
If you need to report an incident at your facility related to COVID-19, have concerns about your safety in the workplace or questions about the impact of COVID-19 on your work, please call our COVID-19 member hotline:
- For all other queries, you can find the appropriate contact on this page.
- Visit seiu1199nwcovidresponse.org for the latest updates, information and news about our union’s response to the outbreak.
- As a union, we stand up to any form of discrimination in our contracts, and we are standing up against it in our workplaces and in our communities. If you feel that you have been subject to discrimination because of COVID-19, our legal department wants to know so we can fight back together. Submit your story by filling out an incident report here.
- Stay in touch by following us on social media!