Press Release

Orlando Area Nurses to Join 139 Nationwide ‘May Day’ Actions Demanding COVID-19 Protections for Nurses and Health Care Workers

Nurse holds sign "NNU Covid-19 Checklist"

Orlando area nurses will be marking Friday, May 1—International Workers Day, also known as “May Day”—with shift change actions calling for optimal COVID-19 protections. These local actions are part of nurse actions taking place at 139 hospitals, in 13 states, representing more than 95,540 nurses, according to National Nurses United (NNU). Nurses say their demand for optimal personal protective equipment (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 patient. 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!”

Our employer has said publicly that we have all the PPE we need. If that’s true, they aren’t sharing it with nurses. Doctors have respirators while nurses have surgical masks. When we do get N95s, we are sharing them and recycling them, which is unsafe. HCA has the resources to give us single use PPE every time we need it. Our patients deserve the highest level of protection and our employer is putting them at risk” said Marissa Lee, RN, of Osceola Regional Medical Center.

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, single use of N95s, coveralls that incorporate head 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 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.

Orlando Area May Day actions will take place at the following locations/times on Friday, May 1:

Osceola Regional Medical Center

   700 W Oak St., Kissimmee, FL 34741

   (Corner of Oak and Central Ave)

   8:30 a.m.

   Contact: Matt Emmick (407) 446-5047

Central Florida Regional Hospital

   1401 W Seminole Blvd., Sanford, FL 32771

   6:00 p.m.

   Contact: Matt Emmick (407) 446-5047

National Nurses United is the largest and fastest growing union of registered nurses in the U.S. with more than 150,000 members nationwide. NNU plays a leadership role in safeguarding the health and safety of RNs and their patients and has won landmark legislation in the areas of staffing, safe patient handling, infectious disease and workplace violence prevention.