Our Union’s Plan to Win the Battle Against COVID-19

We know there is strength in our unity, in our union and in our resolve in the fight against the virus. Many healthcare workers, our families and our community are scared but we are stronger together and we have a plan. We will lead the efforts to combat COVID-19 as a union with the following clear principles:

Safety

  • Workers need to be provided with the proper Personal Protective Equipment or PPE.
  • A lack of the proper masks, face shields, gloves and gowns is unacceptable and we as a union are holding employers accountable for securing more, while at the same time we are working with our government on the state and federal level to obtain more much-need PPE for those of us on the front lines.

New York Times: Target Apologizes for Selling N95 Masks in Seattle (March 22, 2020)

The retailer Target apologized on Saturday after coming under criticism for selling N95 masks, which are in acute demand by medical providers during the coronavirus pandemic, at some stores in Washington State.

SEIU Healthcare 1199NW, on Saturday called the mask sales “unacceptable” and demanded that Target divert them to the medical system. After working with government leaders, the union said Target planned to get the supplies to medical workers.

“We hope other retailers will follow suit,” said Jane Hopkins, a nurse who is executive vice president of the union.

Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington said his office took action after hearing of the reports of the masks.

Testing

  • Employers, when possible, will provide testing for healthcare workers for the virus.

Volunteerism: Transparency & Fairness

  • Assignments based on what workers are able and feel comfortable doing as long as possible.
  • A healthcare worker who is in an at-risk group because of their age or underlying medical condition should be granted accommodations.
  • A clear and transparent process if and when deployments are needed that prioritizes seeking volunteers first.

Common Sense and Respect for Our Time and Pay

  • If a healthcare worker is required to be quarantined or contracts COVID-19 in the course of providing care, we are demanding employers place that worker on administrative leave. This way, caregivers can focus on recovery while not depleting their accruals.
  • No occurrences for virus-related sickness or quarantine.
  • Employers and the state will make every effort to provide and secure child care and eldercare for the workers who are going above and beyond.
  • If the situation escalates to a level of crisis where workers are required to stay at the hospital for extended periods of time, accommodations will be made that are safe, secure and comfortable.
  • Full pay and following of contract language to make sure no one is at a loss during these trying economic times.

Training & Preparedness

  • Environmental services workers without dedicated training should not be asked to clean rooms of COVID-19 patients.
  • Proper infection control training for all staff that are asked to care for patients with COVID-19. We as a union will partner with employers to ensure the training is thorough, adequate and on paid time.