A union representing 15,000 healthcare workers in California has issued a “bill of rights” demanding the levels of testing and personal protective equipment (PPE) needed to provide a safe workplace in the coronavirus pandemic.
Saying healthcare workers comprise 12% of the COVID-19 infections in California, the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) demanded action by medical centers and systems.
“We have developed this policy agenda based on guidance from public health officials, research into best practices at healthcare facilities, and conversations with NUHW members,” the union stated.1 In addition to PPE and testing, the healthcare worker rights include:
- Providing training on all COVID-19 protocols, including new training or refreshers immediately when protocols change;
- Providing free access to high-quality mental healthcare services;
- Providing safe, high-quality, temporary nearby housing for healthcare workers who choose not to return home to limit exposure to their family members;
- Giving workers input in decisions on staffing, PPE, infection control protocols, surge planning, and changes that affect their work;
- Giving workers additional paid time off to care for themselves or their families, presumptive eligibility for workers’ compensation for COVID-19 illness, and childcare support to continue working during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- National Union of Healthcare Workers. COVID-19 Healthcare Workers’ Bill of Rights. https://nuhw.org/covid-19/covid-19-healthcare-workers-bill-of-rights/