Transcript for How the pandemic has affected front-line caregivers
Members of the largest long-term care union in the country are predominantly women of color and include over 400,000 essential workers and nursing homes and assistant living centers in southern California. How are these front line heroes faring during these difficult times? With us now is the service employees international union local 2015, April Verrett. April, thank you so much for being with us. Our hats off to these caregivers who are going in each and every day truly risking their lives, they're up close and personal with their patients. They bathe them. They clothe them. These aren't things that you can do from a safe distance. So how are your working fairing? And how are they trying to do it as safely as possible? Thanks so much for having me, it's an honor to be here. Our members are fairing through this pandemic just like all other Americans. It's been extremely hard. But as you said, our members cannot socially distance. They do close personal hard work. They touch people for a living. They give care. And so for them, they have continued to risk their lives every single day. To do the work that they are called to do. To care for our most vulnerable. People with disabilities, our elders. And they are -- they are caring love-givers. And this pandemic has been hard, but we're ready to move on. We're over being victims to this pandemic. It's time for a real fight, a real plan to fight this pandemic, to break the back of this pandemic, and together, we can do it. Well, a new CDC report is telling us that 62% of nursing home workers still have not gotten a vaccine. Why is that the case? Is that still some hesitation there in getting the vacci? There's a lot of hesitation to get the vaccine. But the story here, for me is not about the hesitation. It's about what are the solutions we're going to bring forward to move past the hesitation. I don't believe that we have invested the adequate amount of resources and time to be able to move people past whatever is stopping them from getting that shot in their arm. So let's spend the time educating people. Talking through their fears and their concerns. Having people who are really trusted. Here's something that is not a secret to me, people don't necessarily trust their employers. So we need people who are trusted, respected that are a part of spreading the word about this vaccine and getting people over their hesitancy. It's time for real solutions. April, so you have a vaccination normalization program under way. I see there behind you rosy the riveter, we can do it. Tell us about this campaign and why you chose rosy the riveter. Absolutely. Rosy the riveter as we know has been an icon for labor, an icon for women, like the women in my union. Back in 1942, during World War II, rosy was an image of bringing people together, of uniting, to fight during a time that our country needed to come together, and for us, we're in a similar moment. So we are introducing Carmen the care-giver, and Carmen and her co-workers are standing up to say we can do it. We can get vaccinated. We can get our communities vaccinated and, most importantly, we are going to move past this covid moment, and say how are we strengthening our long-term care system, to make sure we are never this vulnerable again. The new administration is still in its infancy, right? Just getting going. A month in here, but are you seeing things already, or do you hope to see something very soon, just with the new administration, that will make a difference in the help that long-term health care workers are getting? Absolutely. Our members are so proud to have stood beside now president Biden and our very own kamala Harris from right here in California. It's been a breath of fresh air ever since they came on to the scene because they actually talked to Americans. They tell us the truth. They are compassionate and we know they have a plan. From the very beginning, this administration has talked about what we're going to do to come together, to end this virus, to end this pandemic. And we're going to unite and we're going to do it together. So we're really proud at the promising signs that we're seeing from the administration, and 're ready to roll up our sleeves and get to work. Our president and vice president cannot do this alone. It's going to take all Americans, and the 400,000 members of seiu local 2015, we're ready for the fight. It's our moment. It's been y'all's moment and you all have been shining and doing it quite admirably over this past year. So thank you so much, and to all of your members for what you're doing, April Verrett, president of seiu local 2015. Thank you, bye-bye. Still ahead on "Gma3," the clips contributed from all over
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