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Resolutions & Amendments

37th International Convention - Chicago, IL (2006)

Pandemic Preparedness

Resolution No. 8
37th International Convention
August 7-11, 2006
Chicago, IL

In the event of a pandemic, the work of healing a nation will be in the hands of healthcare employees; and

Pandemic preparedness is crucial to maximizing survival rates and preserving a civil society; and

Recent history exposed the government as inadequate at preparing for predictable disasters, coping with actual disasters or responsibly directing post-disaster relief; and

Three seasons after Katrina flooding, there still remains no responsible. Effective, national- level management of the disaster's aftermath and the needs for future preparation; and

Inhumanity, incompetence, cronyism and profiteering on the national level have prevailed while citizens have suffered unspeakably both in their actual disaster experiences and by their government's response -- even through today; and

The nation's state and local pandemic preparedness plans vary in quality, are inconsistent, uncoordinated and, like federal disaster operations, sadly vulnerable to corrupt profiteering, political cronyism and class and race prejudices; and

These plans, now being made public, offer only certain degrees of preparedness and safety, fall far short of meeting the anticipated needs of healthcare employees, and require more preparation, and additional appropriations of public money; and

In response to the inadequacy of the Bush Administration’s pandemic influenza plan released last November, AFSCME petitioned the Secretary of Labor for an emergency temporary standard to require comprehensive workplace protections for millions of health care workers, emergency responders and other essential personnel that will be called upon and counted on if an outbreak occurs.

That AFSCME calls upon the government at all levels to bring together healthcare workers' representatives, public officials, medical administrators and practitioners, public health experts, scientists, social scientists, educators, communicators, ethicists and others to work across party and jurisdictional lines to develop comprehensive national, state and local pandemic preparedness and treatment plans that include adequate staffing, employment training and job safety precautions, so as to enable union members and other healthcare employees to effectively serve the public; and

That the nation's political leadership and citizen watchdogs join our union in making sure that all pandemic planning gives particular attention to nearly 50 million Americans without health insurance, child poverty statistics, the disproportionate poverty of women with children and the near-helpless state of senior citizens and prisoners, because it is necessary that these Americans, already ill-served by the national leadership, be given specific consideration in order to make sure that inoculation and treatment are available on an equal and equitable basis for all; and

That AFSCME continue to press the Bush administration to issue an OSHA standard for pandemic influenza preparedness and to revise its pandemic influenza plan to include effective worker protection measures.
SUBMITTED BY: Henry Nicholas, President and Delegate