Dear Sisters, Brothers, and Siblings,
I am writing to update you on our Union’s actions to respond to the COVID-19 crisis that is impacting our State, and particularly King County.
First, I want to recognize that nursing home workers have been among the hardest hit – we’re taking a number of steps in response:
- Making sure the legislature increases Nursing Home funding that many of you have been supporting at Purple Presences in Olympia
- Working with various state agencies to seek emergency funding to help alleviate the additional staffing and supply burdens on nursing homes in the short term
- Preparing a public campaign to highlight the need for better staffing, better wages, healthcare, and unions for nursing home workers. Some of those stories have already run, including:
In addition, to protect home care workers and our clients we are:
- Coordinating with the SEIU 775 Benefits Group on education webinars, you can view the latest one here
- Communicating with employers and the State to ensure that caregivers showing symptoms can stay home and be paid for the time in quarantine
- Working to ensure that caregivers can get quicker access to gloves and other protective equipment when possible
We also want to make sure that our union staff is protected, which is why we are following King County’s guidelines to allow employees to work from home. This has been a particular challenge for our Member Resource Center, but I’m proud to report the MRC is now up and running with reps answering calls remotely! If you get an error message between our modified hours of operation 8-4:30, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or try calling again! We appreciate your patience as we work to get back up to normal operations.
Out of an abundance of caution we are also cancelling in-person Union meetings for the month of March.
We’re also getting questions about the ongoing availability of training classes especially from those nearing deadlines – we are working with the State to try to extend training and testing deadlines. Please stay tuned for more information and keep an eye out on updates about training from SEIU 775 or the SEIU 775 Benefits Group.
And while all this was happening, the legislature passed SB6205 – landmark legislation that addresses the harassment, abuse and discrimination of caregivers, an important part of the HADit campaign we launched during Leadership Conference last year! This was only possible because of the leadership that came from you all and other member leaders.
While we’re taking the time we need to respond to caregivers at the center of this crisis, our Union is not slowing down one bit!