Press release

Unions representing nurses and health professionals applaud steps to focus on safety


Washington State Nurses Association, SEIU Healthcare 1199NW and UFCW 21 support Gov. Inslee’s emergency actions to protect health care workers and the public

Seattle, Wash.—Unions representing nurses, health professionals, and health care service and maintenance workers today responded to Gov. Inslee’s emergency declaration on health and safety rules. Gov. Inslee’s announcement includes suspension of elective surgery as well as closure of private dental practices for non-emergency procedures to preserve all available PPE statewide, especially sterile gloves, surgical and N95 masks, eye protection and protective gowns.

“Our members—nurses, health professionals, service and maintenance workers—are on the front lines of this crisis, but we are running out of critical Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) like masks, gowns, eye protection and gloves. If health care workers contract COVID-19 because we are unable to protect ourselves while treating patients, the result will be catastrophic for our entire state. We have called on our government to do everything in its power to supply us with the tools we need, and we are grateful to Gov. Inslee for these latest steps that will help us focus on the most critical needs.

“Our unions have worked collaboratively with state health officials and Gov. Inslee’s office to meet our members’ needs so we can continue treating patients. These steps will make a real difference. Workers in our hospitals and critical care facilities are doing everything we can to treat patients, and we need the tools to do our jobs safely. This is a crisis, and it will require extraordinary steps and sacrifice from all of us to save as many lives as possible. We are grateful to Gov. Inslee for his leadership, and we will continue to advocate for the resources we need to serve our communities.

“In addition to the steps taken today by Gov. Inslee, our unions are calling for shipments of critical PPE, especially N95 masks, from the Strategic National Stockpile. We are also working with our employers, manufacturers, state and local officials and the federal government to deliver PPE and necessary medical equipment to every worker on the front line of this crisis. Our unions are also calling on any businesses or individuals with a supply of unused and unopened masks, gloves, gowns, or other personal protective equipment for health care workers to visit www.suppliessaveliveswa.org to arrange a donation of their equipment to health care workers and first responders in our state."

About WSNA
WSNA is the leading voice and advocate for nurses in Washington state, providing representation, education and resources that allow nurses to reach their full professional potential and focus on caring for patients. WSNA represents more than 17,000 registered nurses for collective bargaining who provide care in hospitals, clinics, schools and community and public health settings across the state.

About SEIU Healthcare 1199NW
SEIU Healthcare 1199NW is a union of nurses and healthcare workers with over 30,000 caregivers throughout hospitals, clinics, mental health, skilled home health and hospice programs in Washington state and Montana. SEIU Healthcare 1199NW’s mission is to advocate for quality care and good jobs for all.

About UFCW 21

UFCW 21 is working to build a powerful union that fights for economic, political and social justice in our workplaces and our communities. We represent over 45,000 workers in retail, grocery stores, health care, and other industries in Washington state.

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