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From New York City To Buffalo, Syracuse And The Capital Region, Donations Of PPE Made By Members Of The New York State United Teachers Are Nearing 200,000

Published Monday, May 4, 2020
by Kara Smith/NYSUT Communications
From New York City To Buffalo, Syracuse And The Capital Region, Donations Of PPE Made By Members Of The New York State United Teachers Are Nearing 200,000

(ACROSS NEW YORK STATE) - What started as a simple act of Union Members helping Union Members, has turned into a movement.

Since the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) Disaster Relief Fund began soliciting donations earlier this year to purchase Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other supplies for Health Care Members, more than $90,000 in Member donations have flowed into the fund and nearly 200,000 masks have been delivered to Health Care Professionals in medical facilities hard hit by the COVID-19 crisis.

From Long Island and New York City, to Buffalo, Syracuse and the Capital Region, NYSUT-represented Health Care Members have seen and felt the love and support of their Union Brethren.

When they put out a call for help, NYSUT answered.

“Although I’m ‘not surprised’ our Members ‘rallied in support of their Union Brothers and Sisters in health care, as they battle against Coronavirus crisis, I am amazed by the sheer level of generosity,’” NYSUT President Andy Pallotta said. “That we’re facing this crisis ‘at all is unprecedented - but that Union Members are reaching out, at this level, to offer a helping hand, it’s humbling.’  ‘Thank you.’”

NYSUT Secretary-Treasurer Philippe Abraham, whose office heads the fund, said the Union’s commitment is ongoing: “I’ve ‘said it before and I’ll say it again, we are in this for the long haul.’  NYSUT ‘will provide as much assistance as possible until we’re through this crisis.’  We ‘take the safety of our Members seriously and we’re proud to offer a helping hand.’”

The latest mask deliveries went to: the Long Island Community Hospital; the Saint Catherine of Siena Medical Center in Suffolk County; SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University; Stony Brook University Hospital; the Westchester Federation of Visiting Nurses; and the United Federation of Teachers (UFT).

Earlier donations went to; the UUP Buffalo Health Science Center; the Albany County Nursing Home; the SUNY Upstate Medical Center University in Syracuse; and Visiting Nurse Service of New York in Manhattan.

Members at NYU Langone in Brooklyn and Staten Island University Hospital also received masks.

Pulling together the mask donations wasn’t easy.

Thanks to generous Member donations, the funds were there but finding a reliable PPE source was challenging.

The statewide Teachers Union worked tirelessly to find a vendor that could both provide the PPE that Members desperately needed - which remains in short supply - and that met the stringent quality guidelines set by NYSUT’s On-Staff Health and Safety expert.

Although NYSUT sought to purchase National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)-certified N95 Respirator Masks - which provide the best protection and are the most needed - finding a trustworthy source was difficult.

The Union settled on surgical ear-loop masks with three layers of non-woven polypropylene fabric, which “have a number of uses and should help lower the spread of the virus for anyone working in the hospital,” explained Veronica Foley, NYSUT’s Assistant in Health & Safety and health care.

To Read This Labor News Story In Its Entirety, Go To: www.nysut.org/news/2020/april/ppe-donations-3

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