Just days ago, SEIU 721 frontline medical professionals alerted the general the press and general public about the lack of access to critical Personal Protection Equipment including N95 masks.
Today we are proud to inform you of an amazing victory that resulted in a new policy from the Department of Health Services in LA County that will allow surgical masks for any employee who wants to wear a mask. Second, DHS will be issuing a policy expanding the use of N95 respirator usage to support healthcare workers whose activities may generate above minimal risk exposures. This expansion will include the ICU level of care, the OR/ED during a patient’s intubation and for healthcare workers involved in procedures manipulating a patient’s airway. DHS will also support the optional use of a N95 respirator by a healthcare worker for the workday outside of these areas, upon request.
This move on DHS is thanks to each of you for speaking out, for supporting your union member leaders as they attended several meetings with management and of course thanks to the relentless leadership of our UNION! – And these are not just our words, DHS expressed this in their letter to us today:
“Please convey to your members that these actions were shaped by our dialogue with SEIU and the professional concerns raised by DHS nurses. DHS also very much appreciates the efforts of SEIU’s Chief of Staff Gilda Valdez who connected DHS to new supply chains of N95 respirators. These respirators have been ordered and shipment is anticipated within 7-14 days.”
In our Union, we often say “When We Fight – We Win!” and today WE WON!
This great news is an uplifting example of the power of union solidarity at a time when all of us could use some encouragement. Difficult days are ahead of us, but together we will face this crisis and we will overcome it.