SEIU healthcare workers share experiences with Jill Biden during virtual roundtable

“We are the ones who walk out our houses every single day into death”

Jill Biden joined SEIU healthcare workers from California, Florida, Minnesota and Pennsylvania last week for a roundtable conversation on the COVID-19 pandemic and her husband’s plan to make home and child care good, union jobs. During the virtual event, moderated by SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry, Healthcare Minnesota member Deb Howze, Healthcare Pennsylvania member Lorman Laird, SEIU Local 1991 member Laura Rivas and SEIU Local 721 member Hamida Khanmohammed talked about the challenges facing healthcare workers on the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic.

 Howze, a home care provider from Saint Paul Minn., shared with Biden how caregivers have been overlooked.

“We are the ones who walk out our houses every single day into death. . . .This is important work,” she said. “They take this for a joke.”

“When someone says that it’s a hoax, they don’t want to wear a mask, it bothers me…because they don’t know how bad it got in the hospitals,” said Rivas, a trauma ICU RN at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami.

Khanmohammed, an Internal Medicine Nurse Practitioner at USC Hospital in Los Angeles County, told Biden that healthcare professionals also need mental health support during this pandemic.

“Messages of support and messages kind words are very well received by many of us… but they sometimes only touch the surface,” said Khanmohammed “We need more professionals to help to vent about these feelings as we literally see on the frontlines these patients pass away and watching these families attempting to connect with them.”

The panelists also discussed why presidential candidate Joe Biden’s caregiving plan is critical during this time of crisis.

“I believe very, very strongly that he understands the necessity for us to be able to organize to protect our residents, to protect ourselves,” said Laird, a nursing home worker from Lancaster, Pa.

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