On Monday, SEIU 503 convened Governor Kate Brown, Senator Jeff Merkley, Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici, frontline workers SEIU Local 503, SEIU Local 49, AFSCME, UFCW 555, the Oregon Nurses Association (ONA), and leaders from Avamere and OHSU to demand federal action addressing the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) for workers battling the COVID-19 crisis.
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We are demanding immediate investment in the health and safety of every worker, including taking the following actions to increase the supply of PPE:
- Immediate distribution of the masks and equipment held in the Strategic National Stockpile.
- Identifying reserves of masks/equipment in other industries, such as construction, and redistributing them to frontline workers.
- Using all powers of the federal government to speed immediate production of new equipment and ensure it is routed to states for distribution to all frontline workers.
- Ensuring that all frontline workers across all settings and emergency response workers can be tested easily to slow the spread of the virus.
The need for PPE is real and urgent, and the impact is felt by workers, our families, and the people we serve every day. If our work is essential, our health and safety should be too.