Press Release

Nurses nationwide to hold 139 ‘May Day’ actions demanding COVID-19 protections for nurses, health care workers

Nurses protest covid deaths due to lack of protections

Nurses at 139 hospitals in 13 states representing more than 95,540 nurses will be holding workplace actions on Friday, May 1—International Workers Day, also known as “May Day”— calling for optimal COVID-19 protections, National Nurses United (NNU) announced today.

Nurses say their demand for optimal PPE is underscored by the fact that more than 60 nurses across the country have died of COVID-19, although due to lack of testing, the number is surely higher.

“Nurses signed up to care for their patients. They did not sign up to sacrifice their lives on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said NNU Executive Director Bonnie Castillo, RN. “On this day that celebrates the labor movement and working people, union nurses are standing up to demand the protections they need now!”

National Nurses United registered nurse members are calling on employers and the government to provide nurses and other health care workers with the highest level of protections, including powered air-purifying respirators, and single use of N95s and coveralls that incorporate head coverings and shoe coverings, and gloves. Otherwise, hospitals will remain fomites for infection, say NNU RNs, and nurses and health care workers will continue to get sick and sidelined, die, and be unable to care for the next wave of patients.

Nurses say it’s clear that the industry thinks they have produced an acceptable solution to the PPE shortage by implementing widespread re-use of PPE as well as the use of various N95 decontamination systems. This is unacceptable and unsafe, say nurses, who are calling on President Trump to activate the Defense Production Act to order the mass production of PPE. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) must also pass an emergency temporary standard to mandate that healthcare employers provide protections needed for COVID-19, say nurses.

For a list of May Day action taking place Friday, May 1, visit:


For images of May Day actions see our Flickr album.

Covid-19 May Day Actions — May 1, 2020