This Wednesday, May 20, WSNA will be distributing surgical masks donated by our national union, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), across the street from Overlake Hospital #
While a national PPE shortage has challenged everyone, the conditions at Overlake have been especially severe and the working conditions have been unacceptable. Since March, we have consistently raised red flags about inadequate health and safety measures at Overlake, including filing a complaint with the Department of Occupational Health and Safety over the acute lack of PPE.
Thanks to you raising your voices and our union’s advocacy, Overlake has now improved the PPE supply—but more remains to be done.
On Monday, Gov. Inslee issued a proclamation providing guidance on how and when facilities can safely resume certain surgeries and procedures. WSNA worked closely with the governor to shape this guidance, bringing forward your concerns about PPE and safe working conditions. WSNA Executive Director Sally Watkins served on the Governor’s task force and ensured that strong language about PPE was included.
Overlake’s improvement on PPE qualifies the hospital to resume certain surgeries and procedures, and they plan to do so.
WSNA will be monitoring employer compliance closely and holding employers accountable if they do not adhere to the new proclamation/directive. We will need to remain vigilant — report to your nurse rep if you feel Overlake is not following guidance. WSNA has issued a statement calling for monitoring of current PPE and a return to conventional guidelines so that our members and patients are safe. No nurse should have to reuse soiled or broken masks.
WSNA has submitted samples of the masks we will distribute tomorrow to the Overlake Hospital & Medical Center supply chain staff to verify whether these masks meet the Employer’s standards for employee use in the workplace. These thousands of masks WSNA has secured through AFT can also be used by you and your family out in the community.
Please spread the word to your coworkers, including non-RN employees. We know PCTs, maintenance, service and other staff have also been forced to reuse masks for too long.
We will be distributing masks in the Design Market parking lot (1048 116th St NE) across the street from Overlake from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. (while supplies last) on Wednesday, May 20. #
Please spread the word to your co-workers and stay strong though these challenging times.
Sincerely your WSNA officers,
Chris Birchem, Co-Chair, East 3; Janet Moore-Lane, Co-Chair, Surgery; Gemma Aranda, Grievance Officer, PACU; Kathryn Geren, Grievance Officer, PACU.
Questions? Contact our WSNA organizer Zach Seikel at firstname.lastname@example.org.