On December 14, 2020, nurses’ union SEIU Local 121RN, which represents nearly 2,000 workers across three hospitals in Southern California, threatened a 10-day strike, from December 24 to January 3. Union leadership claims the three hospitals “aggressively rationed personal protective equipment, enforced the use of used PPE and provided insufficient COVID-19 testing for patients and staff.” All three hospitals are in the Southern California Region suffering with a current intensive care unit capacity of less than one percent.
However, on December 15, 2020 Governor Gavin Newsom touted the amount of PPE inventory California has secured. He noted that PPE was “the big issue back in March and April, but as of now, at the state level we have just over half a billion units in surgical and N-95 masks, which does not include the amounts at the hospital or local levels.” (Facebook, California Governor, 15 December 2020, press conference, 1:10:19 mark).
Slide 39 in the governor’s PowerPoint presentation:
Governor Newsom claims that California’s stockpile of PPE is bigger than the federal government’s stockpile. If true, why hasn’t the state delivered what is needed to these three hospitals to help avert a strike over PPE shortage?
It sounds like an introduction is in order. “SEIU Local 121RN, let me introduce you to Governor Newsom and his stockpiles of PPE… Governor Newsom, let me introduce you to SEIU Local 121RN…”
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