Unions demand hazard pay for health care workers

SEIU Healthcare 1199NW, UFCW 21 and WSNA call for pay increases for all frontline health care workers #

Seattle, Wash.— Since even before the first COVID-19 death in late February, front­line health care workers have been working under extra­or­di­narily diffi­cult condi­tions, without the protec­tive equip­ment they need to ensure their safety and the safety of their patients. In the face of a national shortage in respi­ra­tors, masks and other protec­tive equip­ment, nurses and other health care workers are reusing or going without equip­ment that is consid­ered standard under normal circum­stances. They are putting their lives on the line to save the lives of others.

In view of these extra­or­di­nary circum­stances, the Washington State Nurses Associ­a­tion, SEIU Health­care 1199NW and UFCW 21 issued the following joint state­ment demanding hazard pay for health care workers as they face this pandemic:

Every day, we go to work to care for patients and keep our hospi­tals and health care facil­i­ties open, despite the fact that we still have not received enough personal protec­tive equip­ment (PPE) to keep ourselves safe.

Nurses, techs, respi­ra­tory thera­pists, and service and mainte­nance workers in health facil­i­ties are putting our own lives on the line to respond to this crisis. Simply coming to work puts us at height­ened risk. At the same time, we are dealing with new economic challenges and hardships brought on by the crisis.

UFCW 21, SEIU Health­care 1199NW and WSNA call on hospi­tals and health systems across Washington to recog­nize the heroic efforts of workers on the front­lines of this pandemic by providing hazard pay increases to all health care workers for the duration of the crisis.

We cannot put on a price on unsafe working condi­tions, and hazard pay does not make up for the lack of proper equip­ment and support. But it does reflect the lived reality that these workers are putting their health and their lives on the line to ensure that our entire state has a fighting chance to beat this pandemic.”

About SEIU Health­care 1199NW
SEIU Health­care 1199NW is a union of nurses and health­care workers with over 30,000 caregivers throughout hospi­tals, clinics, mental health, skilled home health and hospice programs in Washington state and Montana. SEIU Health­care 1199NW’s mission is to advocate for quality care and good jobs for all.

About WSNA
WSNA is the leading voice and advocate for nurses in Washington state, providing repre­sen­ta­tion, educa­tion and resources that allow nurses to reach their full profes­sional poten­tial and focus on caring for patients. WSNA repre­sents more than 19,000 regis­tered nurses for collec­tive bargaining who provide care in hospi­tals, clinics, schools and commu­nity and public health settings across the state.

About UFCW 21
UFCW 21 is working to build a powerful union that fights for economic, polit­ical and social justice in our workplaces and our commu­ni­ties. We repre­sent over 45,000 workers in retail, grocery stores, health care, and other indus­tries in Washington state.