Issued February 28, 2020
WASHINGTON — SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry released the following statement regarding the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus:
“As the largest union of healthcare workers, SEIU is concerned that President Trump is jeopardizing the health and lives of millions of people by downplaying the severity of this coronavirus, COVID-19. Instead of prioritizing the release of safety guidelines and development of treatment plans, the administration is prioritizing stock prices, spreading false science, and unfairly targeting immigrants and travelers from Asia as a means to distract Americans from the fact that this administration is failing to address this health emergency.
“Working people across the country, including people on the front lines of our healthcare system and airport workers, face an increased risk of exposure to illness — people like Delores Prescott, an acute care nurse from Seattle, and Pedro de Moya, a cabin cleaner who sanitizes restrooms, removes trash and wipes surfaces on airplanes in Miami airport. COVID-19 is preventable and treatable, but only if we ensure working people like Delores and Pedro are informed and protected. And employers must have contingency plans for their workplaces should working people see their workplaces closed or scaled back if this emergency grows.
“SEIU members provide services and care for people of all nationalities and ethnicities. COVID-19 screening must be based upon an individual's likely exposure to the virus — not their language, skin color or country of origin. This virus has the potential to affect all communities, and we are deeply disturbed that this administration is behaving as if the health of the stock market is more important than the health of people across this country.
“The Trump administration must immediately reverse course and allow public health experts to lead on a nationally-coordinated response. It must make sure working people know the facts about prevention, have the equipment they need to keep themselves and their clients and patients safe, and it must stop filling Twitter and talk shows with dangerous distractions and misinformation.”
The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) unites 2 million diverse members in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. SEIU members working in the healthcare industry, in the public sector and in property services believe in the power of joining together on the job to win higher wages and benefits and to create better communities while fighting for a more just society and an economy that works for all of us, not just corporations and the wealthy.