We have heard from you about your shock and dismay regarding the County’s proposal for a 5% premium for nurses providing COVID testing. We have also heard your disbe­lief at the County’s failure to provide any premium for nurses working on the COVID Strike Teams. Your bargaining team stands with you.

The County’s positions fail to recog­nize both the level of diffi­culty and danger in the work as well as the impor­tance of COVID testing and Strike Team work in the commu­nity. When your team demanded the same 25% premium currently paid to nurses working in Care sites, the County actually claimed that COVID testing does not require the same level of medical care, skill and poten­tial exposure” as the work in the Care sites. The County could only have reached this conclu­sion by failing to talk to the nurses who have been doing this work.

The County seems comfort­able asking nurses to do this heroic work in the most challenging of circum­stances without adequate compen­sa­tion. Your bargaining team is not. We managed to get the County to amend its proposal to include retroac­tive pay for nurses who have performed COVID testing. Because we do not want to leave money on the table for super­vi­sors who have been doing the work, we will be signing the agree­ment. However, we want you to know that this fight is not over!

Your bargaining team has immedi­ately proposed agree­ments to secure the same 25% premium for testing and Strike Team work as currently received by the nurses staffing the Care sites. During the next several days, we will be applying pressure at all levels of County govern­ment to sign on to an agree­ment that compen­sates nurses doing dangerous yet impor­tant work in a fair and equitable manner. Please stay tuned to find out how you can be part of this campaign.

We under­stand this work is volun­tary and some agreed to it only because you assumed the County would step up and recog­nize your contri­bu­tions. We hear you. Until the County changes its position, nurses will have to decide for themselves whether they are willing to perform COVID testing work for 5% or Strike Team work for 0%. While we place great value on the impact of this work in the commu­nity, we will support the decision of every nurse.