KUNM

essential workers

Mauricio de Segovia

Hospital staff are some of the most exposed essential workers during the pandemic, but cleaning staff who work in coronavirus units at UNM Hospitals say they don’t have the same access to personal protective equipment (PPE) or training on how to stay safe at work as other staff. While UNMH has COVID safety practices in place, staff say they don't reach employees who don't speak English or have regular internet access. Cleaning crew members are asking for hazard pay, better PPE, training on new cleaning chemicals, and paid quarantine leave if they are exposed.

Hannah Colton/KUNM

Let's Talk New Mexico 5/21, 8a: Keeping our communities and public spaces clean is life-saving work as we fight viral spread. On this week's call-in show, we'll hear from those essential workers about the conditions they face during the pandemic. Do you work in sanitation or on a hospital cleaning crew? Do you clean homes or other businesses for a living? Are you a home health care worker? We want to hear from you about how things are going. Or do you have a special story or gratitude shoutout for someone who cleans the spaces you inhabit? Email LetsTalk@kunm.org or call in live during the show.

Wikimedia Commons via CC

Hospital custodians and houskeeping staff say that even though they clean the COVID wards and are in the room with patients, they aren't given adequate personal protective equipment. Three people we spoke with said because it is commonly known among other hospital staff that the sanitation workers are more exposed to the virus, they are treated unfairly and subject to discrimination.