Honoring Our Workers for National Nurses Week 2020
NEW HOPE, PA, May 06, 2020 - Our frontline workers are facing unprecedented challenges during this year's National Nurses Week. The Trump administration's failed response to the COVID-19 crisis is set to ravage our country with thousands of deaths per day throughout the duration of the summer.
The physical and mental impacts to healthcare workers suddenly thrust onto the frontlines of a battle they have not been properly equipped to manage is a failure on the part of our leadership in Washington. Plain and simple.
The lack of personal protective equipment was, in fact, a manufactured crisis. It did not need to be this way. It is time we recognize where our nation's failed response came from.
It came from decades of trade deals that sent manufacturing jobs producing crucial pharmaceutical ingredients and PPE from gowns to respirator masks to swabs, ventilators and face-shields - overseas.
Therefore, I believe this National Nurses Week is about the shared struggle of workers across the United States economy who have all been sold short.
To the workers who could have and should have been employed manufacturing this critical PPE right here in the USA, we will do better.
To the healthcare workers and all other frontline workers who do not have the proper PPE because our supply chains are dependent on foreign manufacturing, we will do better.
To the workers with no paid sick leave, no income as businesses remain on lockdown, no hazard-pay as you are involuntarily put on the frontlines of a pandemic, we will do better.
Our leaders in Washington must stop calling legislation that sells out American workers "bipartisan." They must stop supporting flashy titles like H.R. 6431, the Made in America Emergency Preparedness Act of 2020, that only says supplies during emergencies must be purchased from American owned entities, which means there is no requirement for actually bringing any of those jobs manufacturing emergency equipment back to the USA.
This National Nurses Week, let us all call on our leaders in Washington to put workers first by truly bringing our manufacturing supply chains back to the US. Let's put millions of Americans back to work and get our frontline workers the equipment they need. Let's pass a 21st Century Workers Bill of Rights, and until the end of the current crisis, provide monthly recurring payments to all American adults and suspend rent and mortgages.
Bold action only happens when workers unite and if there were ever a time to do so, it is now.
Skylar D. Hurwitz
Independent Democratic Candidate for U.S. Congress in Pennsylvania's 1st District