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AFSCME nurses shine as their sacrifices for their communities continue in pandemic

Previous New York child protective services worker was ‘guiding light’ during pandemic
By AFSCME Staff ·

AFSCME nurses across the country are at the forefront of our nation’s struggle against the coronavirus. They haven’t always had access to the personal protective equipment (PPE) needed to stay safe on the job or received adequate resources from their local employers or national leaders.

They certainly haven’t received enough support from the Trump administration or Senate Republicans, who have failed them again and again.

Despite these failures, nurses have continued to serve their communities with pride and have never flinched from their duty despite the health risks to themselves and their loved ones. They have continued to shine during this international health crisis.

Liz Marlow, an emergency room nurse who is a member of the United Nurses Associations of California/Union of Health Care Professionals (UNAC/UHCP), received a phone call from Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, who thanked her for her service to her community.

“I believe the greatest display of strength is when you see people like you, who understand how to lift other people up and care for other people, and people who are in need,” Harris told Marlow. “And that’s what you’re doing, and so thank you for that. Thank you.”

Marlow, who was ill with the coronavirus in March and April, thanked the vice president-elect: “I truly appreciate your kind words, and they’ll definitely keep me going.”

Scott Byington, a critical care nurse who is also a member of UNAC/UHCP, was recently interviewed on CNN about the surge of patients in hospitals in the Los Angeles area. Byington told CNN about the critical status of care since they are running out of treatments and equipment to treat COVID-19 patients.

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Scott Byington (AFSCME file photo)

“It’s really rough. We’re at maximum capacity most of the time. We have patients in the hallways. We have to care for them the best we can,” he said.

Although a coronavirus vaccine is being distributed, with front-line health care workers among the first to receive it, COVID-19 cases across the nation have spiked due to holiday gatherings and a new, more contagious strain of the virus is beginning to circulate.

Due to the intransigence of Republicans in the Senate, led by Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the federal government has so far been unable to adequately fund the front lines. Under a pro-worker Biden administration and with Democrats now in control of the Senate, we have the strong leadership required to defeat this pandemic, to get the economy moving again and deliver desperately needed aid to states, cities, towns and schools.

AFSCME will always stand with public service workers who never quit on their communities and who put their lives at risk every day to make us safer and healthier. We are glad to have national leaders now who can say the same thing.

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