Nurses' Union Pushes For More Paid Leave, PPE

Nov 16, 2020

The state's largest union representing nurses is trying to convince hospitals and elected officials to set aside more money for paid leave for nurses who need to step away temporarily from the job.
Credit Washington State Nurses Association

The new restrictions announced Sunday by Washington Governor Jay Inslee brought a reaction by hospitality trade association groups. They worry many of their members will be forced out of business.

Also speaking out is the trade association for Washington nurses. They’re reacting not to the new orders, but to the surge in general and the toll it’s taking on its members.

Jayson Dick from the Washington State Nurses Association issued a public letter on Friday. In it, the union is urging hospitals and doctors’ offices to provide nurses more administrative leave.

“Our nurses have been on the front line of the pandemic for the past eight months now and they’re exhausted and they don’t have the PTO, the paid time off, to cover themselves, even though the exposures take place on the job site," he said.

The union’s foundation has an emergency assistance grant fund to provide help to nurses who need it. But union officials say there were so many requests that they had to stop taking applications within hours of announcing it.

Dick is also urging hospitals and doctors’ offices to continue providing the protective equipment needed to protect patients and providers. He says nurses want to avoid the problems of early days of the pandemic when providers often had to reuse gowns and masks.