For Immediate Release
With Service Workers and Healthcare Workers on Front Lines of U.S. Ebola Response, SEIU President Henry Calls On Employers To Support, Prepare Workers to Beat Virus
WASHINGTON - From airport workers welcoming international passengers to nurses, hospital cleaners, and medical technicians caring for patients, workers are on the front lines of protecting American communities from the spread of the Ebola virus. Last week, dozens of New York-area airport workers took part in awareness training dealing with infectious disease and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) updated guidelines on preventing the spread of Ebola at our nation's airports.
SEIU leaders will be working with leading hospitals in the Partnership for Quality Care (PQC) and other employers to provide training opportunities for the entire patient care team and other service workers, such as airport workers, in the days and weeks to come. SEIU is also calling on airlines to partner in bringing infection-control training to airport workers across our nation and plans to announce further trainings soon.
Mary Kay Henry, President of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) issued the following statement about the role of ordinary working women and men in defending against Ebola and the need for employers to better support them in their critical roles:
"Service workers and healthcare workers, like the brave team of men and women in Dallas, are on the front lines of defending American communities against the spread of the Ebola virus. Last week we heard from airport workers who felt they had not been given adequate training or resources necessary to safely and effectively screen for the virus in our nations airports which are the gateway for spread. Today, with the news of another care team member diagnosed at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, we are hearing from our nation's nurses and hospital workers that they need their employers to fully support them to be ready to respond effectively and maximize patient safety.
"SEIU nurses, doctors and healthcare workers use infection control procedures daily and have successfully tackled a variety of public health emergencies - including the AIDS crisis and the flu. The Ebola virus presents a new and different challenge with protocols that are intensive and require the right equipment, regular drills and enhanced staffing.
"Every healthcare employer has a role to play in keeping Americans safe and healthy, in the workplace and within their communities, and must do their part to expand hands-on training opportunities. Everyone, from the CEO of an organization, to management, to front-line workers has a role to play in defending our nation against this virus.
"We must ensure that working women and men who are on the front lines of protecting our communities have the necessary training and support that will enable them to safely and effectively limit the risks of Ebola exposure across the United States."
With 2 million members in Canada, the United States and Puerto Rico, SEIU is the fastest-growing union in the Americas. Focused on uniting workers in healthcare, public services and property services, SEIU members are winning better wages, healthcare and more secure jobs for our communities, while uniting their strength with their counterparts around the world to help ensure that workers—not just corporations and CEOs—benefit from today's global economy.