New York, N.Y. (May 12, 2020) – The Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU), AFL-CIO, today announced its successful purchase and distribution of 20,000 N-95 respirator masks to front-line members across the United States. Additional masks have been procured and will be distributed in the coming weeks.
OPEIU acquired the protective masks to provide relief for front-line members, including healthcare professionals experiencing the highest levels of risk, helping to fill the workplace safety gaps left by a lack of federal guidance on workplace safety and by employers either unwilling or incapable of ensuring a safe work environment for their employees. Masks are being sent to OPEIU local unions throughout the country, from Hawai'i to Florida and spots in between.
"We needed the N-95 masks because our nurses in our drug treatment area were not provided with N95 masks by management and our nurses felt vulnerable during intake and detox settings without the proper PPE," said Greg Blackman, president of GSAF/OPEIU Local 100 in Miramar, Fla.
"OPEIU stepped up to the plate and miraculously provided the pinnacle of protection for our members during this pandemic," Blackman continued. "It has made a very stressful situation for our nurses bearable because they know they are better protected against contracting COVID-19 by wearing an N95. Thanks to all involved for developing a supply chain to benefit all OPEIU nurses."
“The distribution of these masks to OPEIU members across the U.S. is a testament to the power of solidarity,” said OPEIU President Richard Lanigan. “While others waited, OPEIU acted and our hardworking members will be safer because of it.
“From New York to Hawai’i,” he continued, “OPEIU will continue to honor and support our members and, indeed, all working people helping us weather this unprecedented crisis.”