For Release January 14th, 2022
Hawaii Workers Center Supports Doctors & Nurses Calling for Free Covid-testing
and Vaccinations to Protect the Health and Safety of Workers
The Hawaii Workers Center endorses the call of health care workers in Honolulu and
elsewhere for free and widely available covid-testing and mass vaccinations to counter
the threat presented by the Omicron variant of the pandemic. We agree that much
more needs to be done to protect the health and safety of the overburdened staff at
hospitals and clinics.
We also strongly endorse the recommendation to increase the minimum wage in
Hawai’i, which is now just $10.10 an hour, and to provide paid leave to workers and
their families who are affected by illness or disability. These workers should not be
forced back to work for lack of support or in order to help the economy recover.
The doctors’ and nurses’ statement follows:
“We physicians and nurses affirm that individual employer vaccination mandates and
required mask-wearing are not enough to overcome the public health threat of the Covid
virus. We urge our state, county and federal governments to make free Covid-testing
and vaccinations more widely available locations throughout the islands.
“We also urge that more funds be expended to support workers and their families who
test positive and need to stay home. Workers should not be forced to go back to work
to keep the economy going, especially when such a forced return to work could spread
the virus. We also see that wage levels need to be increased to improve living
standards and the public’s health. We believe that paid leave should be afforded to all
workers when they or their family members are dealing with disability or disease,
especially the Covid virus.”
The Hawaii Workers Center strongly supports the health care workers’ statement. We
will be calling on our allies and supporters in pushing for these measures in public
forums and at the upcoming session of the State Legislature. A living wage mandate
and paid leave are long overdue.