Healthcare Workers at Frontline of the COVID-19 Pandemic Rally in Utica to Demand Adequate Personal Protective Equipment

Contact: Eric Kopp, [email protected], 201-286-5795

Kenneth Londono, [email protected], 917-574-8756



Healthcare Workers at Frontline of the COVID-19 Pandemic Rally in Utica to Demand Adequate Personal Protective Equipment 

 

Union Members to Call on Federal Government to Use Defense Production Act to the Fullest to Limit the Spread of COVID-19 and Protect Themselves, their Families and Patients

Frontline Workers Are Being Forced to Use Decontaminated PPE

That Has Not Been Definitively Proved to be Safe

 

WHAT: Frontline healthcare workers with CWA and UFCW will rally in their cars, caravanning to each of Utica’s hospitals, starting at Roselawn parking lot, in New York Mills ending at Saint Elizabeth. Participants will call on area hospitals to end the policy that forces workers to reuse equipment that they believe is not being cleaned in a safe manner. They will also call on the federal government to act and fully utilize the Defense Protection Act to supply critically needed personal protective equipment or PPE to essential workers during this crisis. 

 

The CDC has relaxed long standing guidelines related to the use of PPE instead of dealing with the shortage head on.  Relaxing utilization guidelines on PPE puts frontline healthcare workers in serious danger of getting sick. Already, they are working under hazardous conditions, risking their lives, the lives of their loved ones and the lives of patients.  Governor Cuomo announced on April 12th that New York hospitals do not need to operate under the CDC’s crisis conservation guidelines, yet some area hospitals continue to require continued reuse of PPE.

 

WHEN: Wednesday, April 15 at 5:00PM 

 

WHO: Members with CWA Local 1126 & UFCW Local 1

Community organizations 

 

VISUALS: Workers in their cars honking horns with signs on their cars. Workers will remain in their cars.

 

BACKGROUND: NYS has faced an outrageous shortage of PPE during the pandemic. We are pressuring Federal and state officials to do more to make sure our healthcare workers have the PPE they need and asking the federal government to use the National Defence Production Act to get our workers the equipment they need. More specifically for Utica, the healthcare employer Mohawk Valley Health System has instituted a policy to reuse “cleaned” N95 masks, putting health care workers and patients in danger. CWA considers this reuse policy dangerous and unnecessary, and we have asked the employer to stop.

 

On April 12, 2020, Governor Cuomo’s team reported that New York State hospitals do not need to operate under the CDC’s crisis conservation guidelines. Thus, workers should not be required to wear N95s that have been decontaminated through the Sterrad or any other process. According to the governor’s office, hospitals should now be operating under normal guidelines regarding PPE usage. 

 

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