August 13, 2021
Delta Variant Surge
The Delta variant is causing a significant surge in cases and hospitalizations across California, rising 54% and 84% respectively over the past two weeks. Alarmingly, we are seeing more children infected and hospitalized than in any previous time in this pandemic.
Safety in our workplaces
The primary mission of SEIU-UHW is the same as it has been throughout the pandemic: keeping our members and all healthcare workers safe. To do that, we need to hold our employers accountable and ensure that we have:
- Access to necessary PPE for everyone, with a sufficient stockpile to meet surge needs.
- Safe staffing for the surge to ensure patients are cared for and workers can protect our own health.
- Strong facility safeguards that protect workers and patients from exposure.
- Outreach and education about the COVID-19 vaccine. Over 78% of Kaiser workers are vaccinated, but we need continued outreach and education, including help from doctors and incentives for vaccinated workers.
- Easy and fair access to vaccines. Vaccinations should be offered at all work sites and all shifts, on paid time. Workers should have access to leave time if they have a reaction to the vaccine.
New California state vaccination rules for healthcare workers
- The new state health department order for visitor safety went into effect on August 11. This new rule requires visitors to be fully vaccinated or provide a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 72 hours of entry. We need to make sure our employers are following these new rules carefully.
- All healthcare workers will be required to show proof of vaccination by September 30. A digital copy of your vaccination record can be more convenient. To set one up, visit the state site here.
* Updates on Kaiser vaccination rules
- Employees who do not show proof of vaccination by September 30 will be placed on unpaid administrative leave for 60 days (instead of being immediately terminated). If, after 60 days of unpaid leave the employee is still not vaccinated, they will be terminated.
- Employees who are not yet vaccinated will be given up to 2 hours paid time to get each vaccine dose if they receive the vaccine at a Kaiser facility.
- Remote workers are included in Kaiser’s new vaccine rules.
- Additionally, through our Coalition of KP Unions (CKPU), we have requested:
- Notification in real-time of any denials of religious or medical exemptions
- Exemptions should be processed outside of local HR and facility management
- Clarification of who will process exemption requests and how they will be processed