Yakima nursing home workers protest for funding, hazard pay amidst COVID-19

Hazard Pay Now

YAKIMA COUNTY, Wash. – Yakima area nursing home workers protested downtown on Thursday.

They want better funding for the homes and hazard pay for themselves amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Earlier this week, Governor Inslee called Yakima Valley an epicenter of Washington coronavirus cases.

“One in three COVID-19 deaths have occurred in nursing homes, according to recent estimates, and yet the caregivers in these homes must continue working without hazard pay or personal protective equipment. This lack of both federal and state funding directly puts the lives of working people, our families, and our communities at greater risk,” the nursing union wrote in a statement.

The protest is part of a national movement demanding funding for nursing homes and their workers.

“Nursing home workers are essential, frontline healthcare workers… That’s why we’re out here today – to demand that the State and Federal government do better to protect us and to provide the resources we need to keep ourselves and our residents safe,” said Julie Ortiz a Yakima Nursing Home staff member.

This is taking place as the state’s department of health and human services is proposing a $60 million cut to nursing home funding, according to the union.

Recent statistics show one in five of all Washington COVID-19 cases are linked to residents or workers of long term care facilities.