Our Lives are on the Line: CA Healthcare Worker Demands to Fight the Pandemic

Governor Gavin Newsom, California State Legislature

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We who provide healthcare and social services know firsthand this is not the time for business as usual. For decades we have been making do with not enough staff, not enough training, not enough resources, not enough money. Administrators, elected leaders and nonprofits have settled for compromises that keep us unequal and leave us unsafe.  But Coronavirus makes it impossible to keep 'making do'. We need a system that works, that protects everyone, that allows us to flourish. As healthcare workers, we are powerful, and right now we are essential. Sign to push for an end to bandaid solutions, to push for the big, real changes we need today.

Petition by
Healthcare Workers United
Oakland, California

To: Governor Gavin Newsom, California State Legislature
From: [Your Name]

Our Lives are on the Line: CA Healthcare Worker Demands to Fight the Pandemic

We face the worst global health emergency in a century and healthcare workers are on the front lines. Decades of underfunding and neglect of our public services have left us without the equipment, capacity, or personnel to fight this crisis. Every day that we avoid meaningful action, lives are lost. California must immediately:

INCREASE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES
· Requisition and distribute existing stockpiles of medical supplies held by the private sector.
· Take control of the state’s supply chain for personal protective (PPE) and medical equipment.
· Direct factories in California to produce essential equipment like ventilators and PPE.
· Direct biotech, laboratory and pharmaceutical industries in the state to immediately prioritize the COVID-19 crisis.

REDUCE VIRUS TRANSMISSION AND RISK OF DEATH
· Ensure Cal-OSHA and other regulatory agencies maintain strict safety standards and do not let them degrade.
· Enforce these Cal-OSHA standards for safety of healthcare workers, and hold employers accountable if employees are working without recommended safety equipment, or with inadequate training.
· Mandate that workers at high risk are reassigned to safer work settings or are given paid leave for the duration of the crisis.
· Ensure every Californian has access to free COVID-19 testing and treatment, and vaccinations once available.
· Recognize that jails and detention centers create conditions where disease spreads rapidly. Release those in immigrant detention and low-risk jailed or imprisoned Californians.
· House all unhoused Californians.

EXPAND HEALTHCARE CAPACITY
· Direct agencies that regulate licensing and certifications to create an early licensing procedure for student nurses, doctors, respiratory therapists, social workers and other essential staff.
· Fund free medical education and training in public schools to greatly expand the pool of healthcare and social service workers. Discharge all student loans.
· Re-open all hospitals closed in the last five years. Completed the upgrades and earthquake retrofits needed for them to function safely.
· Increase MediCal reimbursement rates now.
· Establish one system of universal health coverage for all Californians that is free at the point of service and not determined by employer or limited by ability to pay.

TAKE CARE OF ALL CALIFORNIANS & BUILD A RAPID ECONOMIC RECOVERY
· Mandate paid leave for any worker sickened or quarantined for reasons related to COVID-19, including those caring for dependents at home due to the crisis.
· Fund small businesses to pay workers during closures. Waive unemployment insurance waiting periods. Provide stipends to artists, hospitality workers and other hardest hit workers.
· Ban evictions, and freeze mortgage and rent payment requirements now.
· Immediately begin the transition to a statewide Green New Deal: Wildfires, drought, and other devastating impacts of climate change are too much for our state to bear on top of an epidemic. We have the opportunity to create a new, sustainable way of life in the state. Now is the time.