COVID-19 Union Response Bulletin – July 2 Issue
The last several months have demonstrated that when we stay united in our union and use the power we’ve built together, we can win the protections and benefits we need for ourselves and our patients. In many of our facilities, the MOUs we won on COVID-19 are about to sunset. This is our opportunity to review what has worked and what has not, and return to the bargaining table prepared to win what we need as coronavirus cases begin to increase again. We will continue to approach this work using a racial justice lens to ensure that no one is left behind.
COVID-19 has impacted state and local revenue, and Washington expects a budget shortfall. Some of our employers may say they don’t have the money to keep us working or maintain our benefits, but we know that cutting frontline workers will do much more harm than good. We are prepared to make clear that if employers try to come for healthcare workers, they will lose that fight. If cuts are necessary, they must be made to administrative staff so that frontline healthcare workers continue to be able to do the essential work of caring for our communities during the pandemic.
As frontline workers, we know firsthand that COVID-19 cases are on the rise. We expect a new surge of cases in the fall, which could come even sooner if communities are unable to control the spread of the virus during the phased reopening. We are watching employers’ PPE supplies closely and will continue to hold them accountable for keeping workers safe.
Please reach out to your delegate or organizer to let them know about your workplace concerns, or if you want to get involved in taking action.
Jane Hopkins, RN, Executive Vice President, SEIU Healthcare 1199NW
LIMITS ON MANDATORY OT AND CALL
New rules about mandatory overtime and the usage of call go into effect in Washington State on July 1, 2020, thanks to our unity and advocacy that led to the passing of the Breaks and Overtime Bill legislature last year. Tech jobs and CNAs are included under these new protections. Limits to mandatory overtime and call shifts are especially important for safe patient care as we fight on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Find more information and learn about your new rights here.
MOU WITH STATE
Our union signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the State of Washington in response to the extraordinary circumstances created by the coronavirus pandemic. Our agreement provides temporary layoff opportunities through the Washington Employment Security Department’s SharedWork Program in response to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 crisis. Read the full memorandum here.
HOTEL ARRANGEMENT EXTENDED
King County has extended the arrangement with Hotel 116 in Bellevue and will continue to provide free hotel room access for healthcare workers and other essential workers who do not have COVID-19 but need to practice physical distancing outside of their home. Find more information on our COVID-19 union response website.
Our union siblings at Virginia Mason Memorial Hospital, Yakima’s only hospital, are advocating for the safe care of their community during the COVID-19 pandemic as they negotiate a fair union contract. Union family, let’s join our colleagues in holding Memorial Hospital accountable to the safest standard of care. Sign and share the petition at keepmemorialsafe.org.
LEGAL ASSISTANCE FOR UNEMPLOYMENT ISSUES
Many of us who have had Unemployment Insurance claims accepted after a furlough or hours reduction have not received unemployment payments. During the COVID-19 crisis, our union legal team can help with Unemployment Insurance issues. If we have not received our Unemployment Insurance payments after successfully applying, we can send an email to COVIDLegalAid@seiu1199nw.org with our name, employer and our preferred phone number, and our union legal team will be in touch. The 1199NW legal team can also help us if our Unemployment Insurance claims are denied.
In case you missed it…
- Carina app: For many of us, finding access to available child care has become a difficult hurdle during the pandemic. SEIU has launched a free tool that connects healthcare workers and others providing essential services to union child care providers. This online child care referral service called Carina will allow you to quickly and easily connect with providers who have openings in your area. Open this link on your phone or mobile device to learn more about how you can find reliable child care near you.
- 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:
- Hotline calls will be returned Monday through Friday during business hours.
- For all other queries, you can find the appropriate contact on this page.
- If you feel that you have been subject to discrimination based on race 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.