SEATTLE (May 8, 2023) — The following statement was issued by April Sims, President of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO:
This week we are celebrating National Nurses Week (May 6-12) and Public Service Recognition Week (May 7-13). On behalf of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, I want to express our profound respect and gratitude for these workers who take care of us, keep us safe, and provide services to strengthen our communities.
On Thursday, the Biden Administration plans to announce the official end the COVID-19 national emergency and public health emergency declarations. It’s a reminder that many workers — first responders, nurses and healthcare workers, in particular — never stopped caring for us during the pandemic. When the pandemic was declared in early 2020, the American people were introduced to the concept of “essential workers.” These were the doctors, nurses, fire fighters, police and other first responders, but they were also the homecare and nursing home employees, grocery store clerks, transit and transportation workers, educators, postal employees, and many, many others who put themselves at great personal risk to maintain services and keep our lives as stable as possible. In fact, there were so many public-facing workers facing such risks, it soon became clear that all workers are essential.
This week, when you see a nurse or public employee, make sure you thank them for their service to the rest of us. And remember that the best way we can honor their service is to stand with them as they fight for safer staffing levels in hospitals, fair pay and benefits, and the right to join together in strong unions to have a voice on the job. Washington’s workers take care of each other, and together, there’s no crisis we cannot overcome.