NUHW members strike and picket amid pandemic

July 23rd, 2020

Dear NUHW Member:

It’s not too late to take our short COVID-19 survey. The survey will help us make the strongest case to elected leaders and employers about how best to protect everyone’s safety and economic well-being during the pandemic.

Our work in pushing for more PPE was recognized Wednesday by Gov. Newsom. In his daily COVID-address, the governor praised us for raising concerns about the inadequate supply of N95 masks.

The Associated Press wrote about Newsom’s new initiative to provide more masks and mentioned our involvement:

“We’re sending out an unprecedented number of masks. I want to make sure those masks are going to our front line workers,” Newsom said, after sharing that the president of the National Union of Healthcare Workers, Sal Rosselli, told him some health workers were getting only two to three N95 masks per week. The California Nurses Association wants nurses to get a new N95 mask for every patient.

“We have got to address that issue and I want folks to know we’re not naive to that challenge and that responsibility,” Newsom said.

NUHW members have staged two major actions this week centered around health and safety concerns.

At Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, 740 NUHW members are on strike this week over the hospital’s demand to cut sick leave and health benefits during the pandemic. The hospital’s takeaway demands are even more outrageous considering that it has reported a $201 million operating profit over the last three years and is still not providing sufficient PPE.

We have had strong support from local officials speaking at our daily strike rallies. Every major media outlet in the Bay Area has covered the strike, including KTVU, KRON4KSRO, CBS-5, ABC 7, The Press Democrat, San Francisco Chronicle, KCBS Radio, and News of the North Bay.

At Kindred Hospital Westminster, approximately 100 workers held an informational picket demanding stronger safety protocols to avoid a repeat of the COVID-19 outbreak at nearby Kindred Brea. The Brea outbreak left more than 40 percent of patients infected, as well as 27 workers, including Roda Vicuna, the only NUHW member to die from the coronavirus.

Marching together with local elected leaders, NUHW members from Kindred Brea, and Kindred Westminster’s registered nurses, Westminster workers held a two-hour picket, demanding that the hospital provide everyone with N95 masks, offer regular testing for all workers and establish a dedicated COVID-19 unit so coronavirus patients can be fully isolated.

Among the news outlets covering the picket were the Los Angeles Times, Orange County Register, Voice of OC,Univision, and KTLA.

Please complete our COVID-19 survey. (La encuesta también está disponible en español aquí.)

And, if you have any COVID-related concerns, email us at Covid19@nuhw.org.

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