Workers at Highland Hospital in Oakland, CA, are walking out on Monday, July 20th to demonstrate against the disproportionate effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on people of color, and the lack of adequate protection for healthcare workers working with COVID patients. Workers at Highland Hospital have for a long time struggled with a lack of resources, improper staffing, and an unmanageable workload. Now, this pandemic has just come to make matters a thousand times worse.
As one of the largest providers of care for uninsured individuals in the area, Highland Hospital is at the forefront of responding to this pandemic which is dramatically affecting poor black people and people of color more than any other population. Highland healthcare workers are tired of these health disparities and inadequate services, and they are demanding that Alameda Health System (AHS), the administrative body for Highland Hospital, take the necessary steps to protect both patients and workers. Their demands include that the County Board of Supervisors oversee the functioning of AHS, that healthcare workers at AHS get proper contracts that protect them, and an increase in funding to provide proper services to those who most need it now.
As we have seen time and time again, from healthcare workers demonstrating for the safety of their patients, to bus drivers taking a stand against police brutality, it is the workers in this society who have the interest of the public in mind, not the bosses. We should stand with the Highland workers, and we should all stand for ourselves and our safety.