United University Professions ‘Takes Steps to Protect’ Front-Line Health Care Professionals
(ALBANY, NEW YORK) - United University Professions (UUP), the nation’s largest Higher Education Union, has purchased 100,000 medical isolation gowns for Doctors, Nurses and Medical Staff on the front lines of the Coronavirus Pandemic at State University of New York (SUNY) Public Hospitals in Brooklyn, Stony Brook and Syracuse.
The shipment of isolation gowns will be delivered to SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University in Brooklyn, where the need is most severe.
The gowns are set to be delivered early next week.
In March, Governor Andrew Cuomo designated SUNY Downstate as a COVID-19-only hospital.
Over the next few weeks, UUP will ship gowns and various Personal Protective Equipment to Doctors, Nurses and Health Care Workers at Stony Brook University Medicine and Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, and faculty at the University at Buffalo School of Medicine, who are working in community hospitals.
“These are our colleagues, our friends, our neighbors, our health care providers, and they are Union Members ‘showing up every day, saving lives and fighting this dreaded disease without the appropriate gear,’” UUP President Frederick Kowal said. “We ‘wanted to help.’”
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), isolation gowns are used to protect the arms and exposed body areas of Health Care Workers and prevent contamination with blood, body fluids and other potential infectious materials.
Health Care Workers rely on the gowns to protect them from the threat of infectious diseases like COVID-19.
“Health Care Professionals across the state, including thousands of UUP Members, are ‘still working without proper’ PPE,” Kowal said. “COVID-19 ‘is too dangerous.’ ‘Searching for more personal protective equipment was a natural and necessary next step.’”
SUNY’s Public Teaching Hospitals provide life-saving care to the most vulnerable populations in their communities, regardless of their ability to pay for care.
UUP is also providing housing for Members at the hospitals who are fearful of bringing the virus home to their families.
And UUP Members at campuses across the state have stepped up to support their Health Care Colleagues during this unprecedented time, the Union said.
UUP Members are making face shields, sending meals and donations to colleagues who are out of work, and providing child care coverage for Essential Employees.
“The ‘outpouring of support for our Health Care Professionals from the public has been overwhelming,’” Kowal said. “But these professionals ‘need more than our support - they need to be able to protect themselves and their families.’”
Once the scope of the COVID-19 Pandemic became clear, UUP quickly began the search for PPE to protect its Front-Line Hospital Members.
“We are ‘incredibly proud of our Health Care Members who are working relentlessly to care for fellow New Yorkers with compassion and dedication,’” Kowal said.
UUP represents 42,000 Academic and Professional Faculty and Retirees, with Members at 29 New York state-operated campuses, including SUNY’s Public Teaching Hospitals and Health Sciences Centers in Brooklyn, Buffalo, Long Island and Syracuse.
UUP is an affiliate of the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT), the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the National Education Association (NEA) and the AFL-CIO.