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AFT-NH Hosts “Working Women Speak Out” (Videos)

AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler and AFT President Randi Weingarten

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This election is extremely important to working women and their families.  Ensuring that we elect representatives who support women in the workplace was what the Working Women Speak Out event was focused on.

Issues facing working women are the same issues effected every Granite Stater this election.  AFL-CIO Secretary Treasurer Liz Shuler said, “Women’s issues are shaping up to be the second biggest issue of this election.” Working women are facing enormous challenges in our struggling economy. “Women still only make $.77 cents on the dollar compared to man, and that is a shame,” said Shuler.  In her speech, Shuler focused on reelecting Governor Hassan, Senator Shaheen, and Congresswoman Annie Kuster who all support raising the minimum wage and equal pay for equal work.  Shuler also talked about the need to pass “paid sick leave” for all workers, especially since most low wage jobs, like waiting tables, provide no paid time off when your sick.

View Liz Shuler video on YouTube

AFT-President Randi Weingarten also spoke at the event and focused how poverty and education effect working families. “Nearly half of all public school students are living below the poverty line, and one-in-four (25%) of all children nationally are living in poverty,” said Weingarten.  She also talked about how we need to ensure that we are properly funding our public school system. “The only reason we passed a nation budget was because the Republicans were embarrassed after they shut down the government,” said Weingarten. “How dare they say they support children when they cut public school budgets to give tax breaks to the 1%.”

(Randi also spoke in detail about the effects of spending caps like the one in Nashua in separate post here.)

View Randi’s speech on YouTube

Kelly Torosian, an IBEW 2320 member and an Executive Council member of the NH AFL-CIO, took a few minutes to update the crowd on the ongoing FairPoint strike. Torosian asked for people to show their support for workers standing on the picket line by donating gas cards and grocery store gift cards.  After hearing about the current struggle of striking workers, Weingarten stated, “AFT will donate $5,000 dollars to the FairPoint workers strike fund.”

The crowd of 70 people gave a standing ovation to Governor Hassan as she entered the room, showing their support for her strong leadership in the corner office.  “Building a strong innovative economy starts with a strong public schools system,” said Hassan.  Governor Hassan also spoke about the need to “restore and improve the state minimum wage.”

Hassan also brought attention to the importance of keeping Democrats in control of the NH House and not letting Bill O’Brien regain control.  As Speaker, O’Brien cut funding to public schools, the University of New Hampshire system, and repealed the New Hampshire Minimum Wage law.

Governor Hassan also talked about the importance of having access to quality healthcare and provide low income workers with healthcare through the Medicaid Expansion. “As of this week 20,000 Granite Staters now have healthcare thanks to the Medicaid Expansion,” said Hassan.

View Governor Hassan’s speech on YouTube.

Congresswoman Annie Kuster also talked about the Bill O’Brien House and her opponent Marilinda Garcia, who was one of the select few to be a part of  O’Brien’s leadership team.  Kuster talked about her work in Congress to help working families by pushing for expanded access to healthcare, raising the minimum wage and passing a national Paycheck Fairness law.  Kuster noted that while she supports legislation that would help working women, her opponent, wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act, opposes raising the minimum wage, and paycheck fairness is unneeded legislation.

Garcia also wants to abolish the Department of Education that would virtually eliminate the federal student loan program, even though Garcia currently owes tens of thousands of dollars in Sallie Mae student loans.

View Rep. Annie Kuster’s speech on YouTube.

Laura Hainey, President of AFT-NH organized the event and spent a couple of minutes talking about working to ensure that Speaker Bill O’Brien does not regain power in Concord.  As President of AFT-NH, Hainey knows first hand the devastation that another O’Brien legislature would do to the public schools system in New Hampshire.

View Laura Hainey’s speech on YouTube.

Senator Shaheen was unable to attend the event due to a scheduling conflict — she was in Northern New Hampshire campaigning with Sen. Elizabeth Warren — her daughter Stacy gave a short speech on her behalf.  Stacy Shaheen talked about how hard her mother is working for the people of New Hampshire. “My mom is a workhorse,” said Shaheen.  “She has been working for the people of New Hampshire for a long time.”

Working families in New Hampshire need more representatives like this strong, women leaders.

Talk to your friends, neighbors and family members about how important this election is and then encourage them to vote on Nov. 4th.

AFT President Randi Weingarten Speaks At AFT-NH’s Working Women Speak Out Event

Randi Weingarten
Randi Weingarten

AFT President Randi Weingarten (center) with members of the Nashua Teacher Union (AFT-NH)

Yesterday the American Federation of Teachers (NH) organized an event focusing on the importance of this election on the lives of working women.  The event entitled Working Women Speak Out featured propionate labor leaders and Congresswoman Annie Kuster talking about the issues effecting women this election.

Below are two videos from the event featuring American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten.

View video 1 on YouTube

After her rousing speech about the importance of getting out and voting this election, Gary Hoffman, a teacher in the Nashua School District asked Pres. Weingarten about local spending caps and their effects on public schools.  Nashua is currently considering changing the way that the city calculates their spending cap and the city will vote on this Charter Amendment on Nov. 4th.  Below is President Weingarten’s response.

View video 2 on YouTube.

 

The Professional Fire Fighters of NH Explain Why Scott Brown Is Not Right For NH

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Firefighters put their lives on the line for you and me every single day.  They are the first people there when something bad happens.  They do everything they can to make the bad stuff go away.

What about the Firefighters, who is watching out for them?  The International Association of Fire Fighers (IAFF) and their New Hampshire chapter the Professional Fire Fighters of NH (PFF-NH).  Both of these organizations are putting firefighters and their families first, so when they say that Sen Scott Brown is not right for firefighters, I am listening.

Senator Shaheen has always been there for the firefighters and our public safety professionals from the time she was a State Senator to this day in the US Senate.  This is why the PFF-NH has endorsed Sen. Shaheen in her campaign for reelection.

Below is a short video from the Professional Fire Fighters of NH talking directly to members about the major differences between Sen. Shaheen and Sen Scott Brown.  This video is intended to reach out to firefighters, but I am sharing it because it shows us exactly how Scott Brown is not out for us.  Scott Brown voted to give tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires over protecting our nation’s bravest.

Scott Brown is not right for me, and not right for New Hampshire.

Watch the video on YouTube.

 

FairPoint Workers Respond to Company Accusations of Sabotage Company Attempts to Distract Public From Service Quality Issues

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On Day 8 of the strike against FairPoint Communications, workers on picket lines across northern New England expressed their disgust and disappointment at the company’s accusations of sabotage. They suggested FairPoint is trying to distract the media and the public from its inability to respond to service troubles in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont.

“It’s outrageous that management is lobbing these accusations at the very workers who’ve poured our blood, sweat, and tears into making this a viable company in our region,” said Chris Whidden, a Service Splice Technician and a member of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 2327 in Maine. “I’ve worked for the telephone company for 19 years, and I’ve lived around here even longer. I want to get back to work helping my customers. Why would I want to inconvenience my friends and neighbors, or put them in danger as the company suggests?”

Striking workers have spent hours each day picketing worksites all over northern New England, and they say only a skeleton workforce is going in and out of those worksites. “The company is accusing our unions of jamming their phone lines, but not providing any evidence. It’s not as if they don’t have the technology to trace something like that,” said Todd Bedard, a Central Office Equipment Installer and member of IBEW Local 2320 in New Hampshire. “Is it that someone is jamming those lines, or is it that the company just simply cannot answer all the customer calls coming in? The parking lots at call centers are nearly empty, so unless they’re outsourcing the calls to other states or the Philippines, then there’s no way they can answer all the calls. That’s not jamming. That’s math.”

Representatives of the IBEW and the Communications Workers of America (CWA) warn that in the coming days FairPoint, a North Carolina-based company largely owned by Wall Street hedge funds, will try to smear the reputations of hard-working New Englanders who simply want to work. “This company has turned its back on our communities,” said Lisa Heisler, a member of CWA Local 1400 and a Customer Service Representative who has worked for the telephone company for 17 years in Vermont. “We are out here every day fighting to preserve good jobs and quality service while the company is accusing us of attacking our own communities. It’s disgusting.”

The IBEW System Council T9 includes local unions in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont and represents nearly 1,700 employees at FairPoint Communications. The CWA Local 1400 represents nearly 300 FairPoint employees in the three states. For more information, visit www.fairnessatfairpoint.com.

Oct. 23 2014 Weekly Summary Of Communication Positions Posted At UnionJobs

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For more information go to UnionJobs.com

AFL-CIO (American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations)
Development Manager, Digital Strategies Department  District of Columbia
Strategic Campaigns Coordinator, Organizing Department  District of Columbia
Safety and Health Fellow, AFL-CIO Safety and Health Department  District of Columbia
Corporate Research Analyst, Office of Investment  District of Columbia

AFSCME (Council 3)
Database Analyst and IT Coordinator, Baltimore  Maryland

AFT (American Federation of Teachers)
Communications Director, Local 400, PFT (Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers)  Pennsylvania
Human/Civil Rights Advocacy Director, Human Rights and Community Relations Department District of Columbia
Senior Associate/Writer, Communications Department District of Columbia

California Labor Federation
Communications Specialist  California

CNA/NNU (California Nurses Association (CNA) / National Nurses United (NNU) AFL-CIO)
Web Editor, Oakland  California

CPD (Center for Popular Democracy)
Fair Workweek Campaign Coordinator, New York City,  New York

FEA (Florida Education Association)
Director of Information Technology, Tallahassee, Florida  (National Posting)

IFPTE (International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, Local 21)
Communications And Research Specialist, San Francisco Bay Area California

LIUNA (Laborers International Union of North America)
Media Outreach Manager, Washington D.C.  District of Columbia

NNU (National Nurses United)
Video Specialist, Oakland  California
Educator – Immediate Opening, San Francisco Bay area  California
Communications Specialist, Oakland California

NTEU (National Treasury Employees Union)
Media Specialist (Posted: 9/24/2014) District of Columbia

NYHTC (New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council)
Video Communications SupervisorNew York

Public Citizen – Global Trade Watch
Communications Officer  District of Columbia
National Field Director  District of Columbia

SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild — American Federation of Television and Radio Artists)
Video Specialist – Communications & Marketing Department, Los Angeles  California

SEIU (1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East)
Communications Specialist, Boston  Massachusetts
Web-Graphic Designer, Baltimore  Maryland

SEIU (Local 32BJ)
Communications Specialist: Mid-Atlantic Region, Philadelphia based Pennsylvania
Regional Communications Manager: New York  New York 

SEIU (Local 721)
Communications Specialist  California

SEIU (SEIU Healthcare 775NW)
Communications Specialist, Seattle  Washington

UFCW (United Food and Commercial Workers International Union)
Senior Strategic Targeting Coordinator, Washington D.C.  District of Columbia

UFT (United Federation of Teachers)
Digital Content Specialist, New York  New York

United NY
New Media Associate, Manhattan New York

Wisconsin Jobs Now
 Online Campaigner  National

Working America (a community affiliate of the AFL-CIO)
Communications Director  District of Columbia
Health Care Outreach Associates, Albuquerque, NM; Atlanta, GA; Chicago, IL; Columbus, OH; Dallas, TX; Greensboro, NC; Houston, TX; Miami, FL; New York, NY; Orange County, CA; Orlando, FL; Philadelphia, PA; Phoenix, AZ; Pittsburgh, PA; Portland, OR; Seattle, WA; Washington, DC  (National Posting)
Writer  District of Columbia

Labor Movement Mobilizes Latino Working Families Ahead of Midterm Elections

(Photo by Bill Burke, Page One Photography)

Latinos in key battleground states rally around worker-friendly candidates

(Washington, DC) – With the 2014 midterm elections around the corner, the AFL-CIO is increasing its mobilization efforts to reach out to Latinos voters in key states across the country. The AFL-CIO is urging voters to support candidates who stand up for the issues that matter the most to working families, not just wealthy CEOs.

Through phone banks, canvassing and community organizations, volunteers are reaching out to Latino voters in Colorado, Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Last week the AFL-CIO circulated fact sheets detailing the significance of the Latino vote in deciding important races in each of these states.

“Latino voters are vital to ensuring that worker-friendly candidates are elected to represent their communities,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “So much is at stake this year – from keeping higher education affordable to implementing a roadmap to citizenship. It is clear that Latinos cannot afford to sit on the sidelines. The labor movement is committed to making sure that the voice of this important community is heard loud and clear on November 4th.”

America’s Latinos are an ever-increasing voting population. According to the Pew Research Center, a record 25.2 million Latinos are eligible to vote in the 2014 midterm elections, making up 11% of eligible voters nationwide. However, the turnout rate of eligible Latino voters has historically lagged that of whites and blacks by substantial margins. The efforts of the AFL-CIO seek to close this turnout gap and support the election of politicians that stand up for middle class families.

State Employees and State Enter Contract Negotiations Tomorrow

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SEIU 1984 LogoConcord, NH, October 22, 2014 – The State Employees’ Association/SEIU Local 1984, which represents 11 thousand state employees, announced that negotiations for the 2015-2017 employment contract between the employees and the state will officially begin tomorrow.

Tomorrow morning, the employees’ bargaining team will meet with the State’s team for the first time to begin the process of negotiating an employment contract that both sides find reasonable and fair.  Typically, the first meeting is focused on establishing “ground rules,” such as dates, times, frequency, location of meetings; the structure of sessions; the bargaining environment; among other things.

“We are pleased to begin negotiations in October, which is really when we are supposed to begin by statute,” said the workers’ Bargaining Chairman, James Nall.  “It is encouraging that Governor Hassan has agreed to engage in the process before the remainder of the budget process.  We are appreciative of her willingness to begin earlier this time.”

Over the last few cycles, contract negotiations were not complete until late in the budget process; leaving both the workers and the state vulnerable to the ramifications of the legislature trying to fit funding into a nearly completed budget.  “It is great to feel that we are not an afterthought, this time,” said Nall.

The price tag of the current contract accounts for just 18% of the state’s annual expenditures.  “People are quick to assume that this is the line item to slash when balancing the state’s budget,” said Rich Gulla, SEA/SEIU 1984 president.  “In reality, far more is paid to private contractors, who carry out functions that may have previously been performed by state workers.  Interestingly, many of those contractors are from out of state, so when they receive payment from our tax dollars, that money is not spent here; it isn’t placed back into New Hampshire’s economy.  This ultimately hurts our state.”

“Before we begin the bargaining process each time, we send out a survey to all the employees in the unit,” said Nall. “It was not surprising that when responding to what one thing they would change about their job it was not their wages or benefits.  It was to provide high quality service to our citizens.  They want to have the resources to do their job. Our employees strive to provide the services to those in need – whether that’s someone who’s driving on state roads or someone needing assistance with child support.  That’s commitment and dedication.”

“Many state employees are now doing the jobs of two to three employees,” said Gulla.  “This is the result of repeated budget cuts and the elimination of over 1200 positions over the last decade.  Agencies are underfunded year after year.  Management is avoiding more layoffs by not filling vacant positions.  The amount of work to be done doesn’t decrease, though, it increases.  So services for the citizens of this great state are being negatively impacted.  That’s a problem.”

Changes related to workplace safety and wages will likely be included in this round of negotiations.

AFL-CIO Worker’s Voice PAC To Air Ads In Seven Key States

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With high stakes elections coming down to the wire across the country, the labor movement is going up on radio and TV in support of working family candidates.  The ads will build on the effective grassroots campaign that labor has been running for several months including door knocking, worksite leaflets and phone banking.

Workers’ Voice has just launched full 60 second radio ads designed to educate working families about the stakes on November 4th and promote the candidates who will work for their economic interests:

  • Senator Mark Begich (Alaska)
  • Senator Mark Udall (Colorado)
  • Congressman Bruce Braley (running for Senate in Iowa)
  • Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (running for Senate in Kentucky)
  • Congressman Mike Michaud (running for Governor in Maine)
  • Mary Burke (running for Governor in Wisconsin)

Each ad will run through Election Day in multiple markets across each state.

In addition, a 30 second television ad in Michigan launches today and will air through Election Day.

Each of these ads focus on economic issues and aim to clarify for voters which candidate will fight for a secure and growing middle class.

The Iowa radio ad is an example: By including Senate candidate Jodi Ernst’s own words in support of Social Security privatization, the ad steps above the din on an issue (retirement security) of deep-seated concern to working people in Iowa.

To listen to any of the radio ads, click below:

Alaska US Senate, Radio

Colorado US Senate, Radio

Iowa, US Senate Radio

Kentucky US Senate, Radio

Maine Governor Radio

Wisconsin Governor, Radio

And the Michigan Governor TV ad can be found here

Mass Nurses Alert Public Of Deteriorating Care At Brigham & Women’s Hospital

Nurses Make a Difference

Brigham & Women’s Hospital Nurses Hold Press Conference To Alert the Public About  Deteriorating Patient Care For the Most Critically Ill Patients

Partners HealthCare has increased patient assignments for nurses in the hospital’s ICUs in direct violation of a new state law requiring one-on-one attention to ensure patient safety

In conjunction with the press conference, nurses launched an effort to leaflet patients and families entering the hospital to warn them about the impact on their care, and the need to contact the hospital CEO to demand BWH follow the law

BOSTON, Mass. — The Registered Nurses at Brigham & Women’s Hospital, who are represented by the Massachusetts Nurses Association/National Nurses United, held a press conference today to alert the public about deteriorating patient care conditions and illegal practices by hospital management that are compromising the nurses’ ability to provide safe care and close monitoring for the most critically ill patients at this Level One trauma and transplant center. The press conference coincides with the launch of an effort by nurses to leaflet patients and families entering the hospital to warn them about the conditions and the impact on their care.

“The public needs to know that the health and safety of their loved ones is being placed in jeopardy here at Brigham & Women’s Hospital, and it is being done in direct violation of a state law that is designed to ensure their safety,” said Patricia Powers, RN, an operating room nurse at the facility and chair of the nurses MNA/NNU local bargaining unit of more than 3,200 RNs at the facility.  “We want patients and families to know that they have a legal right to a safe standard of care at this hospital, and that they should not accept substandard care.”

The patient safety crisis at the Brigham comes at a time when Brigham & Women’s Hospital takes care of the state’s most critically ill patients, as evidenced by the high number of specialized intensive care units in the facility designed to provide minute-by-minute monitoring and cutting edge treatments for unstable, critically ill patients who are recovering from serious traumatic injuries, cardiac and thoracic surgery, acute medical conditions, premature and vulnerable infants, and patients recovering from heart, lung and kidney transplants. These patients demand one-one-one attention from BWH’s highly skilled nurses to help them recover.

To ensure the safety of critically ill patients, a new state law went into effect this month that mandates intensive care unit nurses can only be assigned one patient at a time. A nurse may care for a second patient only if the nurses on the unit have assessed that it is safe for both patients.

Unfortunately, in the wake of the law’s passage and its call for closer monitoring of ICU patients, the administration at BWH decided in August to cut the number of ICU beds and staff at the facility, eliminating five beds from the burn/trauma surgical intensive care unit and three beds from the thoracic intensive care unit. In addition, nurses in many of the hospital’s intensive care units have seen managers force them to take a second and even a third patient in direct violation of the law and the hospital’s own past practices.

“When nurses have too many patients, medical errors, complications, and even patient deaths are more likely, particularly for the highly vulnerable patients our ICU nurses take care of,” Powers said. “Now critically ill patients, who should have one-on-one attention, are being forced to share their nurse with another unstable critically ill patient, despite the strong objections by the nurses responsible for their care and safety.”

Since the hospital has implemented the cuts to ICU beds and increased nurses’ patient assignments, nurses have filed a number of official reports where their patient care assignments jeopardized the safety of their patients.

“To understand how serious this issue is for our patients, you need to understand how sick these patients are and what it takes to keep them safe,” Powers explained.  “We are talking about patients who may have just come out of major surgery, they may be intubated and connected to a ventilator to help them breathe, they may have numerous intravenous lines delivering highly sensitive medications into their bodies, they may be on dialysis, and connected to several monitoring devices to track their heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen levels, brain function, etc.  And nurses are there to monitor and manage all of it, to interpret what the monitors are showing, to adjust the dosage of medications, to observe the patients skin coloring, pupil dilation, urine flow, all manner of signs and symptoms that show how well the patient is recovering; and depending on what the nurses see, they are there to take immediate action that could prevent a patient from going into crisis, and in many cases, it can mean the difference between life and death.  For years, our hospital has recognized the need for one nurse to be totally devoted to the care of these patients.  Now they want to divert nurses’ attention away from these patients, and hold them responsible for dividing their time among two of these very sick patients. It’s a recipe for disaster.”

Recently, nurses on the thoracic intensive care unit, which cares for patients undergoing lung transplants, reported being forced to care for two patients, including highly vulnerable lung transplant patients, who should never share their nurse with another patient.  One nurse reported a potentially dangerous delay in responding to an alarm connected to a ventilator to breath for the patient because the nurse was in another room caring for another critically ill patient.

At a recent meeting with management where nurses reviewed these reports and informed the hospital of their obligation to follow the new law, management flatly refused to heed the nurses’ concerns or to follow the dictates of the new law.  Because the regulations regarding compliance with the law are still in development, the nurses have decided to go public with their concerns to pressure management to provide the care patients deserve.

ICU Care Cuts Part of Broader Effort by Partners to Cut Costs at the Expense of Patient Safety

The reduction of ICU beds and the increase in patient assignments in the ICU is having a ripple effect throughout the institution impacting the care and safety for patients in a number of other areas.  With fewer ICU beds and staff to care for them, critically ill patients who should be in an ICU bed cared for by a single nurse are now being held for hours in the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) waiting for an ICU bed to open. Other ICU-ready patients are being held in the emergency department, where their nurse has two or three other patients under their care. Last week, the hospital was so busy, administration called a “Code Amber” which meant there were no beds available and patients had to be diverted to other hospitals. In the past, a Code Amber was called only when there was an external or internal disaster, such as when Hurricane Sandy hit, or the Marathon Bombing.  This Code Amber was called because there weren’t enough ICU beds and staff to care for the patients entering the hospital that day.

In addition to cutting care in the ICU the hospital has also decreased staff on its “code” team, eliminating a nurse from a group of specially trained staff who are on hand to respond to patient care emergencies. With the cuts in ICU staffing, it is more likely there will be situations where the code team is needed to revive a patient in crisis, yet with fewer code nurses, it will take longer to respond to those emergencies. When the nurses questioned the decision, management stated that cuts to the code team could save the hospital up to half a million dollars.  Coincidently, B&W CEO Betsy Nabel has recently received a 26 percent raise of just that amount – $500,000.

“As nurses, we provide 90 percent of the clinical care our patients receive. We have always been proud to be Brigham nurses because we could provide the high quality nursing care our patients needed,” Powers concluded.  “But now we are appalled that the leadership of Partners HealthCare, an organization that posted more than $600 million in profits last year and is spending millions of dollars in legal fees to win approval to expand their empire, has chosen to cut care to our patients and violate the law at the expense of our patients’ safety. We cannot and will not stand for these dangerous practices and we will be out here to educate the public that depends on this hospital to work with us to ensure they receive the care they deserve.”

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Founded in 1903, the Massachusetts Nurses Association/National Nurses United is the largest professional health care organization and the largest union of registered nurses in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Its 23,000 members advance the nursing profession by fostering high standards of nursing practice, promoting the economic and general welfare of nurses in the workplace, projecting a positive and realistic view of nursing, and by lobbying the Legislature and regulatory agencies on health care issues affecting nurses and the public. The MNA is a founding member of National Nurses United, the largest national nurses’ union in the United States with more than 170,000 members from coast to coast.

AFT and National Nurses United Praise New CDC Ebola Guidelines For Healthcare Workers

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Today the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new Ebola guidance for U.S. healthcare workers.  AFT and National Nurses United have been pushing for more restrictive guidance to protect the millions of healthcare providers in the US.

After the news broke AFT President Randi Weingarten released the following statement:

“At hospitals throughout our nation, nurses and healthcare professionals are doing everything they can to be ready to care for whoever comes through their doors. The CDC’s new guidance for healthcare workers and the positive actions taken by the Obama administration fall directly in line with what our members called for last week: infection-control protocols and worker-preparedness plans; dedicated, specially trained teams of willing staff; and the proper equipment for nurses and healthcare professionals working in America’s hospitals.

As the second-largest nurses union in the United States, the AFT is working to keep our communities safe and healthy. That is why we are calling on the CDC to issue additional Ebola guidance for non-hospital healthcare settings and expanded guidance to guarantee wages and benefits for quarantined healthcare workers—so workers won’t have to choose between safety and living expenses. And we renew our call for hospitals to incorporate the voices of nurses and healthcare workers in the development and implementation of Ebola protocols.

We look forward to being a partner with the CDC to expand and improve guidance on Ebola or any other health issues facing America.”

The National Nurses United released the following:

National Nurses United today welcomed the call in the latest guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for “rigorous and repeated training” for nurses and other health workers responding to the Ebola virus as NNU has been urging for two months, but said some substantial questions and concerns remain.

“It is clear from the abrupt change in position of the CDC in some areas that the registered nurses have moved the country and the CDC as the nurses champion protection for their patients and articulate the vulnerabilities for themselves. Nevertheless, the optimal standards should be in place tomorrow and, regrettably, they will not be,” said NNU Executive Director RoseAnn DeMoro.

With still significant questions regarding the most effective personal protective equipment, and the ongoing lack of any mandate on the hospitals to comply with the highest standards and protocols, “it is clear that nurses are going to have to continue to fight every step of the way to demand that every patient, every nurse, every frontline healthcare worker has the protection they need,” DeMoro said.

“The governing theme must be the precautionary principle, the highest safety standards in the face of this virulent disease, so that no nurses, other frontline health workers, or patients have to put their lives in jeopardy,” DeMoro said.

DeMoro noted that the call for continuous training, especially in group sessions with everyone practicing putting on and taking off the protective equipment, echoes a key demand of nurses.

“Most hospitals continue to fall far short of that standard,” she said. A national NNU survey, which now has nearly 3,000 responses from nurses in over 1,000 facilities in all 50 states and the District of Columbia found that 84 percent of nurses say their hospital has not provided education on Ebola with the ability for nurses to interact and ask questions.

Second, DeMoro called the guideline that any protective equipment leave ‘no skin exposed,’ a “direct testament to the courage of Briana Aguirre,”  the Texas Presbyterian Hospital RN who “made the incredibly brave decision” to publicly disclose that the suits at her Dallas hospital left exposed the necks and other skin of nurses who cared for Ebola-infected patients.

“Briana will be remembered as the Karen Silkwood of our time,” DeMoro said.  The gap in the suits was also revealed in a statement from Aguirre and other Dallas RNs released by NNU last week.

However, the CDC guidelines remain unclear on the most effective protective equipment, and, significantly, have their own gaping hole in the option offered to hospitals to select which protective equipment to use “based on availability” and other factors.

DeMoro called that loophole “an open invitation for hospitals to choose the cheapest protective equipment that will continue to put nurses and other health workers at considerable risk. Years of experience with our private hospital industry have demonstrated that far too many hospitals routinely put their budget goals and profit margins ahead of public safety, including in access to protective equipment.”

“We are contacting the CDC for specifics on the proper protective equipment and whether it meets the precautionary principle and the highest standard, in particular, full body coverage that prevents any blood or viral penetration,” DeMoro said.

Finally, she noted, “CDC readily admits it is not a regulatory agency. It has no authority to compel hospitals to comply with any guidelines.

“That is why we will continue to insist that Congress and the White House should mandate all hospitals meet the optimal uniform, national standards and protocols in order to safely protect patients, all healthcare workers and the public,” DeMoro said.

The public is invited to join that call by signing an NNU petition online at:

http://www.nationalnursesunited.org/page/s/national-nurses-united-urges-you-to-take-action-now?utm_source=nnu&utm_medium=btn&utm_campaign=petition

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