COVID-19 Union Response Bulletin – May 8 Issue
One week ago, Governor Inslee clarified his executive order on hospital elective procedures and announced the standards that healthcare providers must meet in order to provide non-emergency care. As healthcare workers, our top priority is to ensure that our patients get the care they need, and we are ready to welcome them back for important surgeries and procedures. At the same time, we are going to take collective action to hold our employers accountable for providing the necessary PPE to all of our coworkers so that our employers’ financial health does not come at the expense of our own. No matter whether we are nurses, techs or EVS workers, we provide care as a team, and we all deserve to be safe at work.
As we join together to fight for the protection we need at work during the coronavirus pandemic, we are reminded that in the COVID-19 crisis as in others in our country, we do not all bear the burdens equally. In Washington state, COVID-19 is hitting communities of color particularly hard. And even as many of our Asian Pacific American-identified union family members are on the front lines of fighting this disease, they face anti-Asian racism both in and out of the workplace. It does not have to be this way. By pulling together as we’ve done in the past, we can make sure that everyone of us can get the care that our families need to see us through this pandemic and rebuild a stronger, healthier and more just future.
Jane Hopkins, RN, Executive Vice President, SEIU Healthcare 1199NW
UNION WINS AND ACTIONS
- Gov. Jay Inslee this week appointed our own Jane Hopkins, RN, executive vice president of 1199NW, to bring the voice of union healthcare workers to his Safe Start advisory groups. Jane joins the advisory group on Public Health and Health Care System led by Department of Health Sec. John Wiesman. These groups will inform decision-making and will advise on recovery plans as Washington moves forward and gets back to work.
- This week, MultiCare announced they planned to furlough 6,000 non-union employees across the health system. Because we have a union, we were able to ensure our job security and a voice in changes that happen at our hospital. During this time of uncertainty, it is more important than ever that we are standing together to ensure that management doesn’t balance their budget on the backs of frontline workers. Jameson Blue, 1199NW member and CT Tech at Deaconess, is quoted in this story on the furloughs in The Spokesman-Review.
- Congress has passed multiple COVID relief bills, but so far they have fallen short. Frontline workers still lack equipment, sufficient sick leave and essential worker pay. Meanwhile, companies are making out like bandits while our public services are on the cusp of running out of funding. Tell Congress to #ProtectAllWorkers: SEIU.org/stimulus4workers
NURSES AND HEALTHCARE WORKERS WEEK
In recognition of Nurses and Healthcare Workers Week, Gov. Jay Inslee held a live conversation with Washington nurses about COVID-19. Harborview nurse and 1199NW member Katy Brehe joined Gov. Inslee and spoke about her experience treating COVID-positive patients and her duties operating the ECMO machine. Watch the video on our Facebook page!
“This is truly a marathon and not a sprint, and issues like continued advocacy for PPE are so important.This has been hard and is going to continue to be hard. Just remember that everyone’s going through a hard time and to be kind to each other.”
Katy Brehe, RN, Harborview
- Our fellow member Carol Lightle, RN, joined SEIU members from across the country to talk with SEIU President Mary Kay Henry about the realities of nursing during the COVID-19 pandemic and to discuss what nurses need right now in the fight against COVID-19. Watch the recording here.
“We really believe that an injury to one is an injury to all. It really gives me hope that I know no matter what when we do this together, we will stand up and we will not stand for the status quo.”
Carol Lightle, RN, Swedish
AAPI HERITAGE MONTH
- To celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA) launched its “AAPIs Are #EssentialNotExpendable” series. The video series honors the 10 million Asian American and Pacific Islander workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis. The first worker to be featured is Angel Sherburne, an EVS technician at Swedish and member of our union! Watch Angel’s video here.
“My job is critical to stopping the spread of infection for COVID. As a leader in my union, it is my role to be a voice for my co-workers. We need to make sure that the hospital provides us the right PPE.”
Angel Sherburne, EVS Technician, Swedish
- 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 racial 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.
KING COUNTY METRO SURVEY
King County Metro Transit is looking for feedback on how essential workers are traveling to work during the COVID-19 crisis. Metro will use a short survey to evaluate any service gaps and whether they can offer flexible service options to address these gaps. Find the survey here. Members of SEIU Healthcare 1199NW: Our participation is greatly appreciated. The platform offers translation by using the widget in the top right corner.
We held our third tele-town hall last week and we heard from King County Executive Dow Constantine and a COVID-19 data expert from UW’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation who is also a newly organized member of SEIU 925. The recording will be posted on our COVID-19 Response website soon.
- Survey: Do you have topic ideas for future tele-town halls? We’d love to hear from you. We’ve created a short, anonymous survey that will help us plan and develop member events that are informative, engaging and address our most pressing concerns. Take the survey here.
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.
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 8:30 am to 9 pm Monday through Friday, and from 9 am to 5:30 pm on weekends.
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 1199nwcovidresponse.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!