On November 23, Michigan Nurses Association, Minnesota Nurses Association, and nurses from Texas, Illinois, and Florida who are part of the 170,000-strong National Nurses United, joined in solidarity to publicly brief the nation and the president-elect about the ongoing struggle nurses face in their hospitals, and to demand immediate action to address their needs.
Center stage at the virtual press conference was MNA RN Christina Hanson from Marquette, Michigan.
Christina became emotional when she talked about nurses’ struggle to protect not just their patients but their own families from the deadly virus. She also called attention to the toll the pandemic is taking on nurses and called the current PPE and patient safety conditions, “…not sustainable”.
The event was attended by over 80 journalists, including reporters from Newsweek, the Guardian, and National Public Radio.
The profound need for alliances between nurses across the country to demand PPE and other workplace protections was in evidence and highlighted the importance of unity as nurses fight for our own and our patients’ lives during the pandemic.
Nationally, there are over 50,000 health care workers infected with Covid-19. Recently, MNA lost a member to the virus. We mourn the loss of this inspirational nurse, coworker, and friend. At the same time, we fight for the protections in our workplaces that will keep us all safe. Hospitals around the state are not providing those necessary protections. Nurses at Michigan Medicine in Ann Arbor report that they still have concerns around exposure to COVID-19, having prompt access to testing, and being properly protected. Another bargaining unit reports that their employer is forcing them to wear N-95 masks until they are soiled. Throughout Michigan, RNs lives are at risk, when all we want to do is care for and advocate for their patients.
Christina’s appearance on Monday signaled MNA’s powerful new affiliation with National Nurses United, the largest nurses’ union in the country, that promises to engage MNA nurses in demands for PPE and safe staffing at MNA hospitals throughout Michigan. MNA is also focusing on protecting nurses by bargaining health and safety issues into our contracts and accepting nothing less during the Covid-19 crisis.
We are so proud of Christina, who, by participating in this pivotal event, took every MNA nurses’ patient advocacy to a next level, providing national recognition for nurses’ commitment to their patients and their communities.
When nurses across the country unite, we win!
Watch the full press conference here.
See the links below to view just some of the local and national coverage of the event.
Newsweek – America’s Largest Nurses Union Warns of ‘Catastrophic Levels of Death and Suffering’ as COVID Surges
National NPR’s Morning Edition
WOTV News 8 at 11 pm (Grand Rapids, MI) (Michigan nurse Christina Hanson begins at 1:20)