News Release

Hospitals Trying to Muzzle Health Workers as Nurses in Pittsburgh Walk off Job Due to Lack of Protective Gear

Bloomberg reports: “Hospitals Tell Doctors They’ll Be Fired If They Speak Out About Lack of Gear.”

See accuracy.org news release from March 25: “Does COVID-19 Require Separate Medical Facilities?”

See COVID-19 resource page from National Nurses United.

MIKE ELK, mike.elk at gmail.com, @MikeElk
Elk is the senior labor reporter at Payday Report and correspondent for Business Insider.

He just wrote the piece “After 42 Test Positive for COVID-19, Nurses in Western PA Walk Off Job,” which states: “On Thursday, dozens of nurses, members of SEIU Healthcare PA, walked off at the Brighton Rehab and Wellness Center in Western Pennsylvania’s Beaver County.

“The walk-off came after 36 elderly residents and six healthcare workers at the nursing home tested positive for COVID-19. Already, two senior citizens at the facility have died of COVID-19.

“Nurses at the facility say that they haven’t been given N-95 masks to wear around residents. After days of the union being rebuffed in its attempt to meet with management to discuss safety issues and hazard pay, nurses on the job walked off on Wednesday.

“’Financially, I probably shouldn’t make that decision, but it’s not about finances. It’s about my health and another person’s health,’ Nurse Tamera Witherspoon told CBS Pittsburgh.

“The union says that it won’t go back in until they get proper protective equipment for the staff at Brighton Rehab. …

“The strike comes as the Trump administration killed a provision in the new COVID-19 bailout package that would have forced OSHA to institute an emergency rule standard to protect healthcare workers from COVID-19.

“The provision was killed at the behest of the American Hospital Association. Now, many frontline healthcare workers say they lack basic protective equipment.

“Increasingly, frontline workers from healthcare to warehouses to manufacturing are walking off the job across the country to protest unsafe working conditions.
“With a lack of federal regulations, SEIU Healthcare PA says that its willing to take action into its own hands to force employers to protect frontline healthcare workers.”