We're the heroes in this fight. Now it's time to do what's right!

ER Medical Assistant, St. John's Riverside Hospital

Marie Alvarez

“This was the worst year of my life, but you must know that it is not over, that COVID patients are still coming into the ER. Do you understand our jobs in the ER? If you didn’t live it, you can’t know it. We are the first ones after the paramedics to see the patients, when they are at their worst. Sometimes we can save them, but sometimes we can’t. In the beginning, before we knew much about the virus, we treated the patients and we did not have enough PPE or the right PPE. Our own lives were at risk every day. The ER was short staffed during the pandemic and we all worked extra shifts to the point of exhaustion. Being called heroes was OK for a while, but if emergency staff are not paid decent wages, if we are not actually valued for the work we do, then no one is going to want to stay or even start doing this work. Our contract must reflect the work we do and the value it has.”