Media Advisory For: Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020
Contacts for SEIU Healthcare Michigan:
Dave Bates, 347-865-8038, firstname.lastname@example.org
Kevin Lignell, 313-401-3697, kevin.lignell@
Scores of Frontline Mercy Nurses and Caregivers Will Shine A Light on COVID Safety With Candles and Giant Illuminated Banner
Mercy Health workers say they urgently need safe staffing, PPE to provide quality care
What: Frontline Mercy Health nurses and caregivers will shine a light on COVID safety
When: Wednesday, Dec. 16 at 5:30 pm
Where: 2680 Vulcan St., Muskegon, MI
***Masks and social distancing are required for all participants***
Muskegon, MI- On Wednesday, Dec. 16, scores of frontline Mercy Health nurses and caregivers will hold a highly visible public action to shine a light on COVID safety at the hospital. Workers will hold battery-powered candles and a giant illuminated banner as they urgently call for the safe staffing and PPE they need to provide quality care. Caregivers say the Mercy administration is not listening to their concerns, even though parent corporation Trinity Health received billions in taxpayer dollars from the federal bailout, and top executives are making millions at the “non-profit” while likely working from the safety of their homes or offices.
“I’ve been volunteering to work on the COVID unit because if I don’t do this job, who would?” said Cassidy Hobby, a patient care assistant at Mercy. “I love caring for my community, but it’s been extremely difficult during this pandemic. I’ve had up to 30 patients to care for sometimes. We don’t have adequate masks and gowns to protect ourselves, so I’m terrified of bringing the virus home to my family. I’ve seen so much death and suffering, it really hurts inside. Sadly, Mercy management won’t address our concerns or let us have a voice in staffing. We feel like management just doesn’t have our backs and frontline workers are in this by ourselves.”
Members of SEIU Healthcare Michigan have made repeated, urgent requests for adequate PPE, safe staffing levels, hazard pay, and other COVID protections, but have been ignored and dismissed by executives. So, they are now taking their pleas for workplace safety to the community in hopes that Mercy will listen and be held accountable.
“I’ve persevered and cared for patients throughout this pandemic because I’m deeply dedicated to saving lives in my community,” said Amy Moore, who has been a registered nurse in the Mercy Health intensive care unit for almost a decade. “But my colleagues and I–from the nurses and techs to patient care assistants and environmental services–are riddled with anxiety and emotional and physical exhaustion. We have multiple patients dying every day from COVID, and dozens of coworkers have fallen sick from the virus. I’m filled with fear that my husband, three children or mother, who is also a Mercy nurse, might get sick. We don’t have proper PPE, and some staff are being mandated to work 16 hour shifts or more. I’ve seen coworkers who are single moms breaking down crying because Mercy is penalizing them if they need to take sick time. Mercy executives are refusing to hear our concerns and are showing that they don’t value or care about the sacrifices of frontline workers.”
Mercy Health has the resources to address caregivers’ concerns. Parent corporation Trinity Health received over $2.8 billion in federal bailout money under the CARES act and had over $771 million in profits from just July through September of this year. Last year, the CEO of Trinity Health, Michael Slubowski, had total compensation of $2.4 million and Robert Casalou, Trinity’s Regional CEO for Michigan, had total compensation of $1.5 million.
Healthcare workers want to make sure resources are being prioritized for patients and frontline staff, not just massive executive pay packages at the non-profit. Mercy nurses and caregivers say they are planning a number of strategies–including advertising, social media and outreach to elected officials and regulatory agencies– to dramatically ramp up public scrutiny of the administration’s failures to assure workplace safety during the pandemic.
SEIU Healthcare Michigan represents over 1,800 nurses, techs and service workers at Mercy Health and is the state’s largest healthcare union with over 12,000 total members. Their mission is to win quality healthcare and good jobs for all Michiganders.