Members of SEIU6 in the Seattle area not only live and work in the epicenter of the US coronavirus outbreak, but many of them perform jobs that put them on the front lines of keeping the virus from spreading. Whether they work at hospitals, airports or office buildings - they are being asked to deep clean and disinfect known sites of contamination.
That why SEIU6 President Zenia Javalera recently called on the business community, especially business leaders in the aviation, healthcare, and commercial real estate sectors, to work closely with health authorities and workers’ unions in order to protect workers, their families, and their communities from the Covid-19 virus.
“To keep Seattle and Washington state as safe as possible, I urge area employers to mobilize against the virus and immediately,” said Javalera. “Grant any worker with symptoms paid sick leave to fully recover from illness before returning to work. Do whatever they can to increase worker access to our healthcare system. Distribute workplace-specific materials and equipment to keep workers safe and healthy. Hold labor-management meetings to listen to front-line workers and make workplace-specific plans to contain the virus; and develop workplace trainings to maximize worker and public safety.”
In addition, Javalera highlighted the special challenges that many non-union workers are facing right now. “Many workers, especially those without a union, do not have access to healthcare and cannot afford to miss time off work. Inadequate paid sick leave and no healthcare leaves many workers with no choice but to go to work sick.”
The two million member Service Employees International Union, along with SEIU6 will continue efforts to fight against the spread of coronavirus. They will also continue to fight for #UnionsForAll, so more Americans can bargain for benefits like health insurance and sick days- with this latest example showing how having such benefits will benefit the health of ALL Americans.