State health care workers share struggles, demand state support during COVID-19 crisis

NOW: State health care workers share struggles, demand state support during COVID-19 crisis

WISCONSIN (CBS 58) -- Wisconsin health care workers from around the state are now demanding more support from state legislators during the COVID-19 crisis.

“This pandemic is now like anything we’ve ever prepared for,” Justin Byers, a La Crosse paramedic, said.

The fear and stress of dealing with coronavirus is now weighing heavy on many of our state’s health care workers, and it is not just doctors and nurses who are on the front lines.

“When I accepted this job as a housekeeper, I didn’t ever think that might mean I’d be signing my death certificate,” Kathy Hintz, a hospital housekeeper in Appleton, said.

Health care workers are joining together and asking Wisconsin legislators to pass a Health Care Heroes Act that would include providing them more personal protective equipment.

“We were only given one mask to wear for a whole week,” Randi Payne, Sheboygan nursing home CNA, said. “We don’t have face shields or goggles. It’s unacceptable and unsafe.”

They are also asking for full health care coverage and paid sick leave.

“We’re frustrated that we’re being asked to take care of very sick people, yet we don’t have the sufficient paid sick leave to take care of our health and that of our families if we get sick,” Ryann Streicher, Madison Labor and Delivery nurse, said.

Many are also demanding hazard pay.

“If we’re heroes where’s our hero pay?” Joseph “Chip” Stankovsky, a Milwaukee hospital cafeteria worker, said.

State Representative Robyn Vining and 36 other state representative and senators have signed a letter showing their support of these health care workers’ demands. Representative vining says she will be drafting up legislation.

“It’s not fair for us to say thanks and to use words to call you heroes but to not use action,” State Representative Vining told a group of health care workers Wednesday.  

Read the letter to lawmakers below: 

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