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SEIU calls on employers to prepare service and healthcare workers on Ebola response front lines
The Service Employees International Union, which has some 2 million members across the US, Canada and Puerto Rico, is calling on airlines to partner in bringing infection-control training to airport workers.
Union president Mary Kay Henry, issued the following statement about the role of ordinary working women and men in defending against Ebola and the need for employers to better support them in their critical roles:
"Service workers and healthcare workers, like the brave team of men and women in Dallas, are on the front lines of defending American communities against the spread of the Ebola virus. Last week we heard from airport workers who felt they had not been given adequate training or resources necessary to safely and effectively screen for the virus in our nation's airports which are the gateway for spread. Today, with the news of another care team member diagnosed at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, we are hearing from our nation's nurses and hospital workers that they need their employers to fully support them to be ready to respond effectively and maximise patient safety.
"SEIU nurses, doctors and healthcare workers use infection control procedures daily and have successfully tackled a variety of public health emergencies - including the AIDS crisis and the flu. The Ebola virus presents a new and different challenge with protocols that are intensive and require the right equipment, regular drills and enhanced staffing.
"Every healthcare employer has a role to play in keeping Americans safe and healthy, in the workplace and within their communities, and must do their part to expand hands-on training opportunities. Everyone, from the CEO of an organisation, to management, to frontline workers, has a role to play in defending our nation against this virus.
"We must ensure that working women and men who are on the frontlines of protecting our communities have the necessary training and support that will enable them to safely and effectively limit the risks of Ebola exposure across the United States."
The SEIU has around 225,000 members in the building cleaning and security industries, including janitors, security officers, superintendents, maintenance workers, window cleaners, and doormen and women.
Last week, dozens of New York-area airport workers took part in awareness training dealing with infectious disease and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) updated guidelines on preventing the spread of Ebola at airports.
SEIU leaders will be working with leading hospitals in the Partnership for Quality Care (PQC) and other employers to provide training opportunities for the entire patient care team and other service workers, such as airport workers, in the days and weeks to come.
23rd October 2014