March 21, 2021
“For me, the vaccine is a matter of life.” Though UDW caregiver and county representative Beatriz Manjarrez is here at UDW’s San Diego Headquarters to get vaccinated, you can see her greeting new arrivals, sanitizing clipboards, and answering questions other members have about their vaccination forms. And that’s what today’s vaccine drive is about: union members helping union members. Manjarrez provides in-home care to her mother and her son, so being able to get the vaccine today brings her peace of mind — not just for herself, but for members of her family who have underlying conditions. “We are essential workers,” she explains. “We need to take care of ourselves, our families, our clients, and the whole community.”
The vaccination drive, running 9 AM to 5 PM on Saturday and Sunday, was made possible through a united effort across the entire labor community in San Diego. Working with the California Labor Federation and the Governor’s office, UDW was able to provide an estimated 3,000 vaccines to union workers and community allies. The event demonstrates how unions can act as a trusted partner in helping workers navigate the vaccination process. “Union members should have an accessible way to get these vaccines should they choose to do so,” said UDW Executive Director Doug Moore. “We wanted to be on the front end of this process — not only in educating our members on why it’s important to get the vaccine, but also providing a comfortable space where they can get vaccinated safely.”
As participants lined up to form socially-distanced rows outside, a unified crew of nurses worked quickly to set up their stations, preparing for the hundreds of union members who would be receiving the vaccine. UDW collaborated with the United Nurses Associations of California (UNAC) to ensure that the vaccines were administered safely and effectively. “I see this event as a great opportunity to help others,” said Annie Cherian, a retired UNAC nurse with over 40 years of experience. “There are so many people waiting for the vaccine and we have the responsibility to help.” That’s a common thread between the nurses who volunteered to make this event possible — a genuine desire to contribute to the health of our communities.
Although the pandemic isn’t over, events like these can provide hope of an eventual return to normalcy. “We should all be excited to get the vaccine,” said San Diego child care provider Tory Racine. “We care for the kids of essential workers, so getting the vaccine is a way for us to find a safer and more secure future.”
This Labor Day, UDW members from Riverside and Orange Counties rallied alongside union siblings from across Southern California to demand safe staffing at Kaiser Permanente hospitals.
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