Nurses Deliver Half A Million Signatures to Congress, Calling on Congress to Protect Nurses During COVID-19 Pandemic
Registered nurses today delivered a petition to Congress signed by more than half a million people demanding Congress pass legislation that would protect nurses during the COVID-19 pandemic. National Nurses United, the largest union of registered nurses in the country, delivered the petition virtually to every member of the House of Representatives and the United States Senate.
Signed by 526,291 people, the petition calls on Congress to prioritize workplace protections for nurses in the negotiations on a fourth stimulus package. The petition was sponsored by National Nurses United, Be A Hero, Daily Kos, Democracy for America, Justice Democrats, People’s Action, Progressive Democrats of America (PDA), Social Security Works, and Women’s March.
“For more than six months, nurses across this country have been caring for patients in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic without the protections that would prevent exposure to the virus,” said Zenei Cortez, RN and a president of National Nurses United. “Nurses and other frontline workers have been calling out for Congress, the White House, and our employers to get us the personal protective equipment that we need, and those cries have fallen on deaf ears. We demand that Congress ensure that the fourth stimulus package they are currently negotiating includes legislation that will ensure that nurses get the PPE we desperately need.”
NNU and petition signatories called on Congress to mandate that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issue an Emergency Temporary Standard to ensure that employers protect frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. They also called on Congress to pass legislation that would ensure that the Defense Production Act is invoked to increase production of PPE, and ensure efficient and transparent delivery of critical medical supplies.
“More than 164 registered nurses have died during the COVID-19 pandemic so far,” said Cortez. “Our country could have saved many of their lives if we got them the PPE that they needed. It is far past time for Congress to prioritize the health and safety of frontline workers.”
National Nurses United is the largest and fastest-growing union and professional association of registered nurses in the country, with 155,000 members nationwide.