Contact: Rick Fuentes
(St. Paul) – April 22, 2020 – MNA Nurses applaud the measure passed by St. Paul City Council members to tell United and other hospitals to implement the highest standards of infection protection policies to protect workers. Council members drafted the resolution after hearing the stories from emergency department (ED) workers at United Hospital.
“Nurses were afraid to come to work,” said Brittany Livaccari, a Registered Nurse at United Hospital in St. Paul. “They’re in the ED, with all kinds of patients coming through, and they had to take the those contaminated scrubs home to their families.”
United nurses started requesting hospital-issued and hospital-cleaned scrubs and gowns, but they were denied them. When they took some from the supply, they were questioned, reprimanded, and disciplined for violating hospital dress code policy.
“What’s obscene is the lack of caring for the workers,” Livaccari said. “The same workers who are caring for the people of St. Paul, who come in the worst conditions. But they can’t have access to the safest, highest standards of protection to do their jobs caring for patients.”
The resolution calls for United to “reconsider these infection protection policies and take immediate action to work with your clinical staff to ensure the highest level of protection” as well as to “urge you to forego any further disciplinary action related to these policies and reinstate any such disciplined workers to good standing.“
Allina Health, which owns United, does allow COVID-19 frontline nurses at its Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis, but Allina also does not at Mercy and Unity hospitals in Anoka.
“Thank you to the St. Paul City Council for respecting workers’ safety, and we hope this sets all hospitals on the same page to practice the best, not the second-best, policies and procedures for protecting workers,” Livaccari said.