Monday, August 15, 2022


President Biden this week is poised to sign into law sweeping legislation that addresses climate change and prescription drug costs; Measuring the Supreme Court abortion decision's impact in the corporate world; Disaster recovery for Eastern Kentucky businesses.


Federal officials warn about threats against law enforcement; Democrats push their climate, health, and tax bill through Congress; and a new report reveals 800 Americans were evacuated during the Afghanistan withdrawal.


Infrastructure funding is on its way, ranchers anticipate money from the Inflation Reduction Act, and rural America is becoming more diverse, but you wouldn't know it by looking at the leadership.

In Pandemic, Workers Question Safety at Western State Hospital


Monday, March 23, 2020   

LAKEWOOD, Wash. -- Some workers at Washington state's psychiatric facility near Tacoma are growing increasingly concerned about the health of patients and themselves during the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Mike Yestramski, a psychiatric social worker at Western State Hospital and president of the Washington Federation of State Employees, says the hospital staff is scared and doesn't feel there's enough transparency from managers about how they're keeping people safe. Last week, a patient tested positive for the virus.

"We actually had a nurse who was working with the patient who tested positive -- called in, was describing her symptoms and was told to come in anyway," he relates. "Thankfully, she refused."

Last week, it was also revealed that an employee tested positive for the coronavirus, although the Department of Social and Health Services says that person hasn't been at work since March 8.

The hospital has started screening staff members before their shifts and will put restrictions on visitors, according to Sean Murphy, DSHS assistant secretary of the Behavioral Health Administration.

Yestramski describes staff members as being "frustrated" by the level of screening. They also want the hospital to suspend non-emergency transportation.

Yestramski maintains workers aren't getting the support they need right now from hospital administrators.

"They're really feeling kind of abandoned by their management," he states. "There's words of a commitment to safety from management, but there hasn't been actions."

Despite the challenges, Yestramski adds that workers are doing their jobs.

"Everyone is still showing up to work, and they're still dedicated to doing the work that they signed up to do to serve the public, and I think that that needs to be applauded," he stresses.

Disclosure: Washington Federation of State Employees - AFSCME Council 28 contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Livable Wages/Working Families. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

get more stories like this via email
In 2021, damages from floods and other severe weather in the United States exceeded $145 billion. (Adobe Stock)


In the wake of historic summer floods in the Midwest and Appalachia, there are calls for a new national plan to reduce risks from disasters. The …

Social Issues

Small businesses that suffered damage or destruction from the recent historic flooding in Eastern Kentucky can get one-on-one assistance as they try t…


The Inflation Reduction Act, newly passed by the U.S. Senate, allocates $369 Billion to fight climate change, and appropriates funds specifically for …

Social Issues

By Linda Burstyn for Ms. Magazine Broadcast version by Roz Brown for New Mexico News Connection/Public News Service Bad Business: Anti-abortion …

In Pennsylvania's Nov. 8 General Election, voters will decide races for governor, U.S. House and Senate, and several state offices. (Zimmytws/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Opening up Pennsylvania's primary elections to voters who aren't registered either as Democrats or Republicans is the topic of a State House of Repres…

Social Issues

August is National Black Business Month, and this year, for Black-owned companies in Pennsylvania that have managed to survive through the pandemic…

Social Issues

On August 27, members of the public will have a rare opportunity to visit the historic Padlock Ranch first developed for livestock in 1867, now …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021