Healthcare heroes need protections, too
Safe workplaces, secure income, and access to healthcare
NUHW is committed to making sure our members can safely care for our patients and provide for our families during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many NUHW members are confronting a desperate shortage of protective equipment; facing the loss of shifts as elective procedures and other services are cancelled or reduced; and struggling to do our jobs while caring for children whose schools and childcare facilities are closed.
Here’s what we’re doing:
- Healthcare workers in California will soon begin receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. NUHW’s elected, member-led Executive Board recommends all NUHW members take the vaccine, unless there is a medical reason not to do so.
- To help answer any questions you may have about the vaccine and its rollout during the upcoming months, we have prepared this extensive Q&A in English and Spanish that we will continue to update as new information becomes available.
- For pregnant or immunocompromised people or individuals who have had a severe allergic reaction to a vaccine or injectable drug in the past, we ask that you consult your medical provider about being vaccinated. It’s also important to understand that experts still don’t know if getting vaccinated prevents one from transmitting the virus to others. Thus, it’s critical that hospitals not scale back on providing PPE, testing or other safety precautions.
- NUHW played a critical role in California’s first-in-the nation COVID-19 Testing requirements. The new rules require hospitals to test all acute care hospital workers weekly and all patients upon admission. Hospitals are also required to immediately test symptomatic workers. NUHW is now working to make sure that hospitals adhere to the new requirements and continuing to push for extending the requirements to correctional facilities and home healthcare settings.
- NUHW started its push to expand testing by authoring a COVID-19 Testing Policy Proposal. This proposal contained many of the testing rules California officials ultimately adopted, including regular testing for workers and mandatory testing for hospital patients upon admission.
- As part of NUHW’s campaign for more testing, Sal Rosselli penned a Sacramento Bee op-ed, calling on state leaders to mandate regular COVID-19 testing for all healthcare workers at hospitals, correctional facilities, and home health agencies, as well as for all newly-admitted patients.
- NUHW has surveyed its members to determine top COVID-related priorities, and members have begun negotiating with employers with the goal of winning their key safety and economic protections during the pandemic.
- NUHW has released the Patient-Centered Mental Health Response for the COVID-19 Pandemic, defining six recommendations for addressing issues that keep people from getting the mental healthcare they need during the pandemic.
- NUHW has produced a COVID-19 Healthcare Workers Bill of Rights and accompanying comprehensive policy document (English, Spanish) to identify and advocate for policies that will keep healthcare workers safe now and during future pandemics.
- We’ve convened regular meetings with employers to quickly address problems affecting the health, safety and finances of our members. At several hospitals and nursing homes, we have won hazard pay as well as expanded availability of PPE, testing and paid administrative time. Kindred Westminster agreed to become one of the first hospitals to test workers monthly following a rally by workers and several bargaining sessions. At Kaiser Permanente, executives agreed to begin allowing clinicians to perform regular mental health appointments from their homes using telemedicine and to transition to performing remote assessments of emergency room patients who require psychiatric evaluations.
- We’re working with experts to establish best practices for keeping NUHW members safe on the job and to create model policies for providing additional paid time to care for our families. And, we’re pushing all employers to adopt them.
- We’re marshalling NUHW’s resources to respond to this crisis. Our staff are fully focused on protecting the safety and well-being of NUHW members during the COVID-19 pandemic.