After months-long fight, P103 nurses win COVID-19 leave
Nurses are the frontline of defense for our community’s health and have worked tirelessly around the clock to keep our city’s residents safe from the COVID-19 pandemic. When the city rolled out its COVID leave bank last March, however, P103 nurses were not given access to that emergency leave. This was unacceptable, so our union jumped into action.
Members circulated petitions, met with elected leaders, spoke out at commission hearings, and more. We made sure that San Francisco knew that if P103 nurses don’t have the safety net of sick time when it’s needed, then it puts the whole workforce and our patients at risk because we can’t take adequate precautions and isolate if we’re potentially exposed.
We fought back, and we won.
“Hearing the news the Mayor was amending her Emergency Proclamation to extend COVID leave to P103 nurses overwhelmed me with so many feelings I almost started to cry. I just couldn’t believe after all the hard work, we would finally be getting the sick time we deserved. I felt joy in overcoming such a tremendous obstacle. I felt pride in our perseverance. And I felt relief, for myself and for all the frontline nurses who have been carrying our Covid response for the last year. We accomplished something huge. I am appreciative of everyone who stepped up to make this victory possible, including the members of the Board of Supervisors who listened to us and stood by us, notably Supervisors Matt Haney and Gordon Mar and their offices,” said Tenley Spatz, an SEIU 1021 member and P103 nurse in San Francisco who helped lead the charge to address this issue. “This victory was hard-fought and exhausting at times. But it was the right thing to do and I’m glad we kept fighting. When we stand together for what’s right, we correct injustice and improve our world for the better, one little piece at a time.”
Because of our advocacy, the Mayor amended the Proclamation of Local Emergency to extend COVID-19 leave to P103 per diem nurses.
Make no mistake—this would not have happened without the hard work and advocacy of SEIU 1021 members. We also thank the Mayor’s office for taking action to correct this situation.
“When P103 nurses were initially denied the safety net of COVID-19 sick time, it was a danger to our patients and our whole workforce. That’s why our union worked hard to draw attention to the dangers of excluding P103 nurses, with members circulating petitions, meeting with elected leaders, speaking out at hearings, and working collaboratively with co-workers and union members at our worksites to build support and our collective strength. We know that COVID-19 doesn’t care whether it’s infecting a 2320 staff nurse or a P103 per diem nurse, and through our collective strength as union members we won a policy which reflects that fact,” said Theresa Rutherford, SEIU 1021 Vice President of San Francisco. “Nurses and other frontline SEIU 1021 members are some of the key defenders of our community’s health and will continue to work tirelessly around the clock to keep our city’s residents safe from this pandemic. We applaud Supervisor Gordon Mar and the Mayor’s office for taking these steps to protect our healthcare heroes.”