NUHW COVID-19 Update: April 6, 2020

April 6th, 2020

Dear NUHW Member:

Over the past week, we’ve updated our COVID-19 information page, responded to dozens of members’ emails outlining virus-related workplace concerns, and pressed employers to improve access to PPE, mandate the wearing of masks in every facility, allow mental health clinicians to work remotely, and provide appropriate paid leave for workers who must care for family members during the pandemic.

If you have any questions or concerns, please email COVID19@nuhw.org. Your organizer or an NUHW director will get back to you with the resources you need or will work to resolve your issues with management. You can also get answers to a lot of questions at NUHW.org/covid19.

Your stewards and organizers will be providing more detailed information about COVID-19 related issues in your facilities, but we wanted to update you on several items that impact everyone:

Mandatory Mask Policies

Every employer must provide healthcare workers with the appropriate PPE (including N95 masks) that’s donned and doffed each time they deliver care to suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients or clean and handle equipment in these patients’ rooms. If your employer is not providing that equipment, please contact your organizer or email us at COVID19@nuhw.org.

When it comes to other settings, several of our employers have recently rolled out Universal Masking Policies. UCSF, which employs more than 1,200 NUHW members at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland, agreed to require everyone in its clinical centers, including patients and visitors, to wear surgical masks. It also requires caregivers to use a different mask when dealing directly with patients, which reduces the risk of caregivers unintentionally passing the virus on to their colleagues and others inside their facilities.

Providence St. Joseph Health this week introduced a less comprehensive policy that provides caregivers with a single mask per day that they must use in all settings.

We’re pushing employers to adopt the UCSF policy. Making masks mandatory shouldn’t just be for big hospital chains. Every medical facility, including clinics and nursing homes, should be requiring masks. Please let us know if you’re concerned about your facility’s masking policy either by contacting your organizer or emailing us at COVID19@nuhw.org.


PPE shortfalls

The lack of adequate PPE is a national disgrace that’s impacting nearly every medical facility in California. We’re continuing to work with employers as well as local and state officials to boost supplies especially at facilities with the most dire needs.

At Seton Medical Center in Daly City, which the state has leased to accommodate large numbers of COVID-19 patients, we worked with local officials to deliver nearly 16,000 N95 masks.

But we know that supplies remain low across the state. Cynthia Yee, an NUHW member working at a San Francisco nursing home, told the New York Times that she has to sanitize and reuse her N95 mask. Keep your organizer informed about the PPE situation at your facility, so we can work on finding solutions.


New resources on our website:

We’re continuing to update NUHW.org/covid19 with additional information, including:

  1. Guide to benefits, stimulus, and new state policies: https://nuhw.org/covid-19/navigating-benefits/new-federal-and-state-benefits/
  2. Mental health resources: https://nuhw.org/covid-19/community-resources-for-covid-19/mental-health-covid-19-resources/
  3. Childcare resources: https://nuhw.org/covid-19/community-resources-for-covid-19/childcare-covid-19-resources/

FILING UNEMPLOYMENT, DISABILITY INSURANCE, OR PAID FAMILY LEAVE CLAIMS
We know that many NUHW members have lost shifts or had to stop working during the pandemic. For a detailed explanation on whether you qualify for benefits and to apply for benefits including Paid Family Leave, Unemployment Insurance, Workers Compensation, Disability Insurance, as well as rent or mortgage relieve, please click on this page if you are a California resident or this page if you are a Hawaii resident.

When filling out a California EDD application, here’s the information you’ll need when asked about your union:

NUHW
1250 45th Street, Suite 200
Emeryville, CA 94608
(510) 834-2009
(510) 834-2019 Fax

Please note, there is no “union local” number. Since you are required to enter information into the “union local” field, you can enter “1.”

We know these are enormously difficult times. We’re committed to protecting everyone’s health and economic well-being. Please contact us with any questions or concerns. We’ll get through this together.

In Unity,
Sal Rosselli, President, National Union of Healthcare Workers
Sophia Mendoza, Secretary-Treasurer, National Union of Healthcare Workers