Sacramento, CA – Days before the California State Assembly faces a deadline to move bills to the State Senate, healthcare workers and community leaders will lead a 100-car caravan and rally demanding lawmakers support the Health Care Worker Recognition and Retention Act (AB 650).
After a year of hardship and trauma related to the COVID-19 crisis where healthcare workers faced dangerous and grueling working conditions and have experienced physical fatigue and emotional trauma, many California healthcare workers are struggling to cope and are leaving healthcare professions. California was already facing a pre-pandemic shortage of workers to meet California’s growing healthcare demands, and now roughly three in ten healthcare workers have considered leaving their job since the beginning of the pandemic.
AB 650 (Muratsuchi) aims to improve the retention of the healthcare workforce and recognize the incredible efforts and sacrifices healthcare workers have made throughout the COVID-19 pandemic by requiring healthcare employers with more than 100 employees to pay bonuses to all non-executive employees who worked during the pandemic.
This event in Sacramento will be the last event in a week of action for healthcare workers and allies in support of AB 650. Actions previously took place in San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Stockton and the Bay Area.
WHAT: Car Caravan and Press Conference in Sacramento to be final push of week of action in support of AB 650, the Health Care Worker Recognition and Retention Act.
WHO: Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi
Sacramento City Council member Norma Acala
Sacramento Central Labor Council Field Director Volma Volcy
Healthcare workers and allies
WHEN: Thursday, May 27, 2021 at 11:30 a.m.
WHERE: State Capitol Building – West Steps – Sacramento, CA 95814
VISUALS: Car caravan from West Sacramento to State Capitol building, healthcare workers holding signs, rallying, giving speeches.
“We risked our lives every day to save others,” said Lanette M Griffin, laboratory assistant at Kaiser South Sacramento and a member of SEIU-UHW (United Healthcare Workers West). “It takes a huge toll. I saw colleagues of mine crying after their shifts. We lost some healthcare workers to the virus – and there are others who have left the profession. We are calling on the California State Assembly to pass AB 650 so that our sacrifices are recognized in a way that will stabilize our field.”
“Nursing homes were the most dangerous places to live during the COVID-19 pandemic, and nursing home staff bore unbelievable risk and pressure,” said Nnanna Manukwem, a nursing home worker and member of SEIU Local 2015 from Los Angeles County. “Every day we were fighting for the lives of our patients – and our own. We made our own PPE and slept apart from our families because we were so afraid to expose our loved ones. We’re physically and emotionally exhausted, and after a year of battling COVID-19, I ask myself, how do you keep quality employees in the nursing home system after all that we went through? AB 650 is about recognizing heroic staff, but it’s also about making sure nursing homes have the staff to care for your loved ones when they need it most.”
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SEIU California is an organization of 700,000 workers statewide, including nursing home workers, healthcare workers, and many others, dedicated to achieving economic and racial justice for California’s working families. www.seiuca.org
SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW) is a healthcare justice union of more than 100,000 healthcare workers, patients, and healthcare activists united to ensure affordable, accessible, high-quality care for all Californians, provided by valued and respected healthcare workers. Learn more at www.seiu-uhw.org.