Since the pandemic began, my coworkers and I have been on the frontlines at Yale Medicine. Without our work, patients would not be able to receive the care they need. But throughout the pandemic, I’ve feared for my safety and the safety of my family members. Essential workers like myself are called heroes, but all I want is to be treated with respect, and to have the job security I deserve.
A year ago, as COVID spread across the country and Yale grappled with logistical challenges, my coworkers and I resorted to makeshift devices to protect ourselves. To socially distance from patients, we put chairs and a table in front of our desks, only to be told by management that we weren’t allowed to move furniture. Eventually, plastic panels were installed in front of our desks and we received adequate PPE, but we still know that every day we are at risk of contracting COVID-19 at work.
I worked for Yale Medicine for four years as a temp worker, patiently waiting for my opportunity. I was a struggling single parent to three children. These were stressful times, but I was confident that I brought a high-level of customer experience and care to the patients I served. When I became a permanent employee seven years ago, my circumstances changed immediately. I’m making a living wage that supports my family, I have a pension, and I’m able to send my kids to college thanks to the scholarship benefit. All of this could be lost without job security. After my struggle and my service to the University, I should be able to know that my job is secure.