The survey results are in, but our work is far from over

October 26th, 2020

Dear NUHW member:

More than 5,000 NUHW members completed our COVID-19 survey. We are already using key findings to make the strongest possible case to government officials that hospitals and other healthcare providers must be compelled to provide adequate testing for all healthcare workers and patients.

We’ve asked state officials to establish new rules requiring hospitals and others healthcare facilities to provide frequent, employer-paid testing to all employees, and have exchanged draft proposals with them.

As far as our COVID-19 survey, here are key findings from NUHW members working at acute-care hospitals:

  • Fifty-four percent responded that they do not trust their employer to keep them safe on the job.
  • Nearly one in three respondents reported being informed by their employer that they had been exposed to COVID-19 on the job. Among those who were informed of their exposure, only 39 percent were offered COVID-19 tests by their employer, while 74 percent were told to continue working despite the exposure.
  • Conversely, among workers who informed their employer of a potential exposure, only 37 percent were offered COVID-19 tests, while 66 percent were told to continue working.
  • Nearly one in three respondents said that at some point during the pandemic they had cared for a patient who they had been told did not have COVID-19, but who later tested positive.

The top three priorities for improving health and safety on the job were:

  • Providing COVID-19 testing to all healthcare workers.
  • Increasing the supply of PPE, including N95 respirators.
  • Improved contact tracing to immediately notify workers following an exposure.

The top two proposals for improving financial security were:

  • Paid-time off for workers who have to self-quarantine following an infection or exposure.
  • Hazard pay

This survey has proven to be a valuable tool in setting our priorities for protecting the health of NUHW members and patients. Stewards at many facilities have used the results to press management for improvements, and we are now better equipped to make the case to elected leaders about the urgent need to expand testing and access to PPE.

If you have any COVID-19-related questions or concerns, please email COVID19@nuhw.org.

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