Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Corona Virus Update 6/3

Today  we delivered much needed PPE to the Backus Nurses. 

Speaking of the Backus Nurses, President Sherri Dayton joined AFT CT president Jan Hochadel on an AFT national Webinar on reopening safety yesterday.

Today we also put out a statement on Floyd George’s death. 

We are 87 days since our first confirmed Covid case in Connecticut and 14 days into our reopening. 
The Numbers continue to improve. Hospitalizations down 28 to 406. Remember, the high was almost 2000. 
17 deaths, which is relatively low (although sad), for a total of 3,972. (Also sad)
Out of 5824 tested today, 112 positive, also a downward trend.   

Lastly, a message from one of our field reps on why it is so important to file for Workmans’ Compensation if you become sick at work. We have filed staff and lawyers to help you. 

Good evening all, in concern for everyone’s health and safety, we want to assure that everyone who is exposed to COVID is reporting the incidents as promptly and as detailed as possible. For those that have survived we are thankful, however we do not know at this time what the long term effects may be. We want to assure that members are documenting all incidents of exposure or lack of sufficient PPE.

As we learn from HISTORY it shows employers are not always the best source of information about workplace safety. Unfortunately, it is often years before the long-term effects start to show up later in life.  Below are five examples of workplace generated diseases that workers were told not to worry about at the timeUntil evidence later proved otherwise. 

Erethism, also known as erethism mercurialis, mad hatter disease, or mad hatter syndrome, is a neurological disorder which affects the whole central nervous system, as well as a symptom complex, derived from mercury poisoning.
Pneumoconiosis (CWP), also known as black lung disease or black lung, is caused by long-term exposure to coal dust. It is common in coal miners and others who work with coal. It is similar to both silicosis from inhaling silica dust and asbestos dust.
Asbestosis is a lung disease that develops when asbestos fibers cause scarring in your lungs. The scarring restricts your breathing and interferes with the ability of oxygen to enter your bloodstream. Other names for this disease are pulmonary fibrosis and interstitial pneumonitis.
Radium Poisoning: The Radium Girls were female factory workers who contracted radiation poisoning from painting watch dials with self-luminous paint. The painting was done by women at three different United States Radium factories, and the term now applies to the women working at the facilities: The women in each facility had been told the paint was harmless.
Silicosis is a form of occupational lung disease caused by inhalation of crystalline silica dust.

As an example:

Lewis Carroll’s 1865 novel “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” famously features an eccentric character called the Hatter, who’s referred to in the story as “mad” and became popularly known as the Mad Hatter. However, the phrase “mad as a hatter,” used to describe someone who’s crazy or prone to unpredictable behavior, didn’t originate with Carroll. Instead, the expression is linked to the hat-making industry and mercury poisoning. In the 18th and 19th centuries, industrial workers used a toxic substance, mercury nitrate, as part of the process of turning the fur of small animals, such as rabbits, into felt for hats. Workplace safety standards often were lax and prolonged exposure to mercury caused employees to develop a variety of physical and mental ailments, including tremors (dubbed “hatter’s shakes”), speech problems, emotional instability and hallucinations.

Thank you,
 In Solidarity,
 Terry Meadows

Be well,

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Corona Virus Update 6/2

We are 86 days since our first confirmed case of Covid-19 in Connecticut. We are 13 days into our reopening.
434people are hospitalized, down 20 today
3,972 have died, 8 today.

Please let me know if you can use PPE from what AFT sent us. We have started to make shipments to locals. We have face shields and surgical masks.

UHP picked theirs up tomorrow and posted on FB

Be well,

Monday, June 1, 2020

Corona Virus Update, 6/1

This Corona Virus that is gripping our world is not the only virus that we have in this country. We have a second virus, one that has been with us for way too long, a virus of hatred and discrimination.
It saddens me. It is ingrained in our systems. It shows itself in an unfair taxation system which does not ask the rich to pay their fair share. It shows itself in underfunded cities, schools, and healthcare that hurts us all, but hurts people of color and immigrants disproportionately. 
I wanted to express my desire for change and I wanted an outward sign of my feelings. I have seen some pictures of some police officers walking with protesters and some taking a knee. 
Those pictures say a lot.
So, I thought, maybe a Nurse taking a knee sends a message of solidarity with those who are discriminated against. I remembered this picture from a couple of years ago. I did a wellness check at a hunger strike protesting the deportation of a kind and gentle lady. The lady’s young son asked me to check on this older man. I post It to say this - we are all God’s children. We have an obligation to treat each other with love and respect, regardless of the color of our skin, and if my brother or sister is harmed, I will take a knee.

We are 85 days since our first confirmed case of Covid in Connecticut.
We are 12 days into our reopening.
454 residents are hospitalized, down 27 today.
3,964 have died, 20 today.

Please have your members file for Workers’ Compensation if they become sick from Covid at work. Reach out to your field reps or me if you need help in how to do this.  It could protect their paid time off, cover any hospital bills, and cover any possible long term complications. Even if the employer covers the hospital bills and the time off, long term complications are a possibility that we will not know about for some time.

Also, if any members have to miss time due to being sent home for having a fever, etc, please reach out. They may be eligible for financial compensation that they are not aware of.

Be well,

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Corona Virus Update 5/31

I want to speak to you about injustice for a minute.
First the injustice of hate that we see playing out in Minnesota this week but that we have seen played out elsewhere and way too often. The fact is, what color your skin is, what your native language is, what sex you are, what religion you are, and other criteria make a difference in this country.
And it should not.
I am embarrassed by it.

It is not inevitable.
I grew up in one of the whitest counties in America. I grew up middle class and privledged.
But my parents told us that we Irish were not always a white race. They told us how signs in the shops once read “no Irish need apply,” they told us that the people who lived on one side of us went to a different church than us and the people on the other side went to a synagogue but that the difference was only in how they worshiped, not what they believed, not what kind of people they were.

My heart breaks when my sisters and brothers of color or who are non-Christian are discriminated against.
It breaks when I think about our history of slavery of Blacks and genocide of Native Americans.
And it should break.

We can be better and we must be better.

Today in Connecticut we dropped just below 500 people hospitalized for Covid-19.
Today, 84 days after the first confirmed Connecticut case, we have 481 hospitalizations, down 52 from yesterday. (Our high was 1,972 on 4/26)
11 days into our reopening we have lost 3,944 Connecticut residents, 32 today.

I ask, if we have decreased the number of hospitalizations so much and the trend seems to be steady....
If we have adequate PPE supplies now....
Why are we still reusing PPE?
Why are we “re-sterilizing” PPE?
Why have we not returned to normal infection control practices? (So called CDC Conventional Capacity)
Unless, this is the new normal?
Unless, this saves healthcare corporations money, money they can give out to executive in bonuses?

Yesterday’s rally in New London was inspirational. What you may not know is that this was very much a grass roots member driven effort. The members of the 4 L&M Locals organized and carried out this rally. Yes, they enlisted the “professional” help of your field staff (organizers, field reps, Communications, Legislative, etc), who by the way worked very hard and I want to thank them.
But this rally didn’t happen without the members activism and that should be recognized.
This is what we believe in at AFT Connecticut.
We believe that the POWER rests in the rank and file membership, not in leadership, not in staff.
Well done “Quad Local.”

Randi had an ask of us yesterday. To reach out to Senators to pass the HEROES act which passed the House and would provide relief to towns and states, and call for protections for healthcare workers.
The Senate will not take this bill us unless we push them.
I asked my Congressman, Joe Courtney, a true champion, if it matters if we call and write, even if our senators are on board?
He said it does. He said when the calls are overwhelming it changes things. He said many senators are pressured to vote against this bill but concerned about how their constituents will react if they vote against their interests.

Please take 2 minutes  and call.

Be well,

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Corona Virus Update 5/30

We spent today in New London.
There was a rally for PPE and respect and a memorial of those we have lost.
There are so many people for me to thank.
The leadership and activists of AFT Locals 5123, 5119, 5051, 5049. They are the sisters and brothers who made this happen.
The leaders from AFT Locals: Windham United, Manchester Healthcare Workers, Backus Nurses, UHP, Norwalk Teachers, SVFT, JPE, who attended.
The staff of AFT Connecticut who helped in the planning, the carrying out, and the reporting on of the rally.
Members and leaders from the Teamsters, IBEW, CHCA, AFSME Council 4, SEIU/1199, Medal Trades Union, SEBAC, Plummer’s and Pipe fitters, Carpenters, and others.
The Political’s who attended: New London Mayor Michael Passero, Groton Mayor Patrice Granatosky, State Senator Cathy Osten, State reps Joe de la Cruz, Christine Conley, and Kate Rotella, U. S. Representative Joe Courtney, Governor Ned Lamont, Lt Governor Susan Bysiewicz.
Connecticut AFL-CIO President Sal Luciano, and AFT President Randi Weingarten.

My apologies to anyone I omitted.

We remembered AFT Connecticut members lost to Covid-19
Elva Graveline, a CNA from 5123.
Jonathan Coelho. A probation officer.

We pledged to fight for the living.

I asked Joe Courtney, does it matter if we make calls and send emails to senators from other states (because Connecticut Senators will support).
Joe said it does. When the volume of calls is overwhelming- it matters.

So I have an ask, the same ask Randi had.
Please write to senators, call them, tell your friends in other states to do the same, post on FB and Twitter.
The message is simple:
Support the HERO act passed by the House of Representatives.

We are 83 days since our first confirmed case of Covid-19 in Ct and we are 10 days into phase one of our reopening.
42,022 Connecticut residents have tested positive.
3,912 have died.

Hospitalizations are down 44 today (533)

Be well,