Nurses Across Country to Hold National Day of Action July 21 to Demand Patient, Nurse Protections
The pandemic is not over; employers must address serious safety issues, say nurses
Registered nurse members of National Nurses United (NNU), the largest union and professional association of RNs in the country, will hold a national day of action on Wednesday, July 21, to demand that employers address problems highlighted by the Covid-19 pandemic and prioritize patient safety and workplace protections.
Tens of thousands of NNU registered nurses are in the process of bargaining contracts that govern safe patient care conditions and their own workplace safety. RNs say it is crucial to win these protections in writing because employers have proven during the pandemic that they will continue to prioritize their bottom line over occupational and public health and safety. To date, more than 400 RNs have died of Covid.
“The Covid-19 pandemic underscored the failures of our so-called health care system and revealed more clearly than ever before that our employers put profits above patients’ and nurses’ health and safety,” said NNU President Deborah Burger, RN. “Nurses across the country are standing up and demanding critical change. Let’s be clear that with the number of Covid cases going back up in some areas of the country, and more contagious and deadly variants spreading, the pandemic is not over. Our employers must act today to address serious issues in our facilities.”
- What: National Nurses United Day of Action
- When: Wednesday, July 21
- Where: See a list of actions here
Please note only actions outside of facilities will be open to media. Some actions will also take place inside hospitals, but these actions are not open to press.
Protections nurses are demanding include optimal personal protective equipment (PPE), as many nurses still report being told to use the same N95 respirator for an entire shift or for multiple shifts, or not being given an N95 respirator at all. Nurses are also demanding safe staffing levels, and other measures to ensure patient safety during Covid-19.
Nurses are also demanding their employers help protect their patients against racial health disparities that most harm their Black, Indigenous, and patients of color by expanding and preserving health care services, not shrinking, eliminating, and consolidating them to maximize profit.
“From the start of the pandemic, nurses have called on the hospitals to make appropriate plans, to increase staffing and increase training, to put in place clear infection control protocols, and to observe the precautionary principle by using the highest level of protections when dealing with a novel virus,” said Burger. “The hospitals did not comply, and the consequences have been deadly. Nurses are standing up on July 21 and using our collective voices to demand that our employers put patients first.”
National Nurses United is the largest union and professional association of registered nurses in the United States, with more than 175,000 members nationwide.