Thousands of Nurses Hold National Day of Action Aug. 5 to Save Lives During COVID-19 and Beyond
As firsthand witnesses and actual victims during this COVID-19 crisis of a health care and economic system that prioritizes money over people, registered nurse members of National Nurses United (NNU) held on Aug. 5 more than 200 actions inside and outside hospital facilities in at least 16 states and the District of Columbia to demand that our elected leaders, government, and hospital employers take immediate action to save lives.
“Nurses know that this country’s rampant social, economic, and racial injustice has been killing our patients all along. COVID-19 is just forcing us as a society to face these problems,” said Bonnie Castillo, RN and NNU executive director. “These recent COVID surges and uncontrolled infections and deaths, the failure of employers to protect our nurses and other workers, the outrageously high rates of unemployment and hunger, the totalitarian crackdown on protesters -- every crisis we are seeing now can be traced back to our failure to value human lives over profit.”
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Nurses advocate for their patients at all levels. Inside hospital walls, nurses want employers to protect nurses, other health care workers, and patients by following proper infection control practices, which include providing optimal PPE and a safe workload of patients. Outside hospital walls, nurses want Congress to help struggling households by urgently passing legislation to extend COVID economic benefits that expired in July, for our government to invest in the public health of our communities, and for a dismantling of the structural racism that prematurely and disproportionately ends the lives of Black, Indigenous, people of color -- whether it is by COVID or at the hands of police violence.
RNs are demanding that the Senate pass the HEROES Act, a pending bill they are backing that would not only protect health care and other essential workers by ensuring domestic production of PPE through the Defense Production Act and by mandating that the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration establish an emergency temporary standard on infectious diseases, but also provide desperately needed economic help in the form of cash payments, extended unemployment benefits, and daycare subsidies through the end of 2020 to families on the brink.