Overworked and exhausted front-line workers at Jackson Health Services are requesting stronger protections against infection and hazard pay as COVID 19 cases at Jackson Memorial and other facilities skyrocket. “Without proper rest, protections, and compensation, we continue to serve our community and place ourselves in harm’s way daily,” said Rene Sanchez, President of AFSCME Local 1363.
The number of employees infected with COVID 19 has tripled at Jackson Health System and workers are reporting increased work loads and decreased staffing. Many feel that the positive COVID levels, especially at three jails serviced by Local 1363, have increased to a level that makes it impossible to do their jobs safely. In addition, at all locations, management is floating employees around to different areas in their attempt to address some of these issues but unfortunately this only further exacerbates the stress and anxiety of employees. Respiratory Therapists and Technicians are also being overworked and under compensated, caring for our most vulnerable patients. They are seeing double and triple the amount of patients and we have yet to hit the peak of this surge. Hospital Security Specialists are working overtime in their new role of screening patients as they enter the hospital as well as making sure facilities are secure. ER, Trauma and OR teams are facing increased exposure and risk of contracting the virus daily.
All of our front-line workers are proud to serve during this pandemic but feel we are under-appreciated. We know Jackson Memorial has hired outside nurses on contract with incentive laced pay but our committed front-line workers are being given increased responsibilities but without increased compensation.
“Our workers are being worked past their limits,” said President Sanchez. “We lost lives from this pandemic and face the real risk of losing more before it is over.”
The backbone of the Jackson Health System and some of our most overlooked support staff like LPNs, PCTs, CNAs face doubling patient ratios as well as Transporters, Dietary and Environmental workers who face elevated risk as they move throughout the facilities doing sometimes double the work to make up for their fellow colleges who are sickened with COVID-19.
Members of the Miami-Dade County Commission have called for hazard pay for essential front-line workers at Jackson Memorial but those efforts were shot down. AFSCME Local 1363 is calling on CEO Carlos Migoya, the Public Health Trust, and the Commission to properly compensate workers for their sacrifices during.