Unions representing nurses and health professionals applaud steps to focus on safety

Washington State Nurses Association, SEIU Healthcare 1199NW and UFCW 21 support Gov. Inslee’s emergency actions to protect health care workers and the public #

Seattle, Wash. — Unions repre­senting nurses, health profes­sionals, and health care service and mainte­nance workers today responded to Gov. Inslee’s emergency decla­ra­tion on health and safety rules. Gov. Inslee’s announce­ment includes suspen­sion of elective surgery as well as closure of private dental practices for non-emergency proce­dures to preserve all avail­able PPE statewide, especially sterile gloves, surgical and N95 masks, eye protec­tion and protec­tive gowns.

Our members — nurses, health profes­sionals, service and mainte­nance workers — are on the front lines of this crisis, but we are running out of critical Personal Protec­tive Equip­ment (PPEs) like masks, gowns, eye protec­tion and gloves. If health care workers contract COVID-19 because we are unable to protect ourselves while treating patients, the result will be catastrophic for our entire state. We have called on our govern­ment to do every­thing in its power to supply us with the tools we need, and we are grateful to Gov. Inslee for these latest steps that will help us focus on the most critical needs.

Our unions have worked collab­o­ra­tively with state health officials and Gov. Inslee’s office to meet our members’ needs so we can continue treating patients. These steps will make a real differ­ence. Workers in our hospi­tals and critical care facil­i­ties are doing every­thing we can to treat patients, and we need the tools to do our jobs safely. This is a crisis, and it will require extra­or­di­nary steps and sacri­fice from all of us to save as many lives as possible. We are grateful to Gov. Inslee for his leader­ship, and we will continue to advocate for the resources we need to serve our communities.

In addition to the steps taken today by Gov. Inslee, our unions are calling for shipments of critical PPE, especially N95 masks, from the Strategic National Stock­pile. We are also working with our employers, manufac­turers, state and local officials and the federal govern­ment to deliver PPE and neces­sary medical equip­ment to every worker on the front line of this crisis. Our unions are also calling on any businesses or individ­uals with a supply of unused and unopened masks, gloves, gowns, or other personal protec­tive equip­ment for health care workers to visit www​.supplies​save​liveswa​.org to arrange a donation of their equip­ment to health care workers and first respon­ders in our state.”

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 17,000 regis­tered nurses for collec­tive bargaining who provide care in hospi­tals, clinics, schools and commu­nity and public health settings across the state.

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 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.


Ruth Schubert, WSNA

Amy Clark, SEIU Health­care 1199NW

Sarah Cherin, UFCW 21
206 – 436-6580