Butler Hospital employees protest lack of PPE in a drive-by demonstration
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) Driven by what they say is a lack of personal protective equipment provided by management, dozens of Butler Hospital employees paraded past the mental-health institution in an automobile protest Tuesday afternoon.
The protest was organized by Service Employees International Union, which represents 600 of the hospitals 900 employees, according to a statement from the union.
The workers claim that N95 respirator masks were given only to emergency room and nursing staff, despite daily interactions between patients and union staff, including dietary workers, custodians and housekeepers.
“This virus does not discriminate against who it infects, so management can’t discriminate against who they protect,” Maria Dias, a housekeeper at the hospital, said in a statement. “I’ve committed my life to this hospital, it’s time that the administration values it.”
Anthony Maselli, a dietary worker, said he paid for a supply of the N95 masks out of his own pocket.
“This is personal for me because I am HIV-positive and at higher risk for COVID-19 infection and complications,” Maselli said. “There are a lot of other workers like me, with underlying conditions, who do not want to be out on leave – we want to be here, serving our patients because this work is our calling.”