Unifor members working the frontlines of the COVID-19 crisis have been sharing videos that have inspired us, made us cry, and taught us what really matters as we all struggle with this unfolding pandemic.
“We are a genuinely afraid… people are crying at work,” says Dave Eales wearing his mask and scrubs in a video from the frontline, where health care workers bravely show up for work every day.
"This is hell. I've never experienced anything in my 30 years like this before," said Eales who described his hands as “hamburger” from so much washing and chafing from the protective gloves, in addition to facial sores from constant mask wearing.
“Last week, before facemasks were mandated in long-term care, I worked with a co-worker who has since tested for COVID-19,” said Janice Hammond in her video. The personal support worker is currently in self-isolation waiting for her test results.
“I’m worried for my family, my coworkers and residents, and my Unifor family. Very scary times indeed, I can’t stress the importance of wearing personal protective equipment, handwashing and physical distancing,” advises Hammond.
“Working in an industry where really social distancing is not possible is frightening and you can see that that fear is starting to take a toll on all of the staff,” said Lisa Irwin who also works in long-term care.
“I’m very lucky that I have a great group of Unifor brothers and sisters who all check in on each other.”
“Just finished climbing this poll trying to keep Canadians connected,” said Telco worker Jeff Brohman, in a video from his worksite in Ottawa. “I want to give a shout out to all the first responders and health care workers and all those in retail and the supply chain.”
“I’ve never seen anything like this. None of us have. The panic buying, the crowds just the fear of the unknown is so stressful,” said Tammy Laporte, a grocery store worker who says too many people are acting like it is business as usual, failing to follow public health guidelines. “We want to keep you safe and we want to go home safe to our families,” said Laporte, pleading for customers to keep their distance.
“I’m so grateful for my local and that I have Unifor fighting on a daily basis to get more safety practices put in place," said Laporte in her video.
Véronique Prevost is a Telco worker working from home to keep the rest of us connected with our phone and internet services. She has some great advice on how to cope with self-isolation.
“Take the time to turn the music up really loud and have a dance party at home to try and relieve some stress,” advises Prevost, whose partner also works at Bell.
Shereta Bowers shared her experience working in a group home. “We have complex care and medical clients, which means social distancing does not mean a lot for us because our clients don't understand it so we are standing on the front lines every day trying to stay safe,” said Bowers.
She also gave a shout out to all the other Covid heroes working in other sectors such as retail and transportation. “We are all in this together,” she said.
Krista Lee Hanson filmed her video from the bus she drives in B.C. “Taking people to the hospital, the grocery store, even giving someone a warm place off the street when all the community shelters are closed.
What's keeping us all going is the messages of support and your videos on social media,” said Hanson.
Are you working to provide service or to keep society moving during COVID-19? We want to hear from you. Send your videos (Under 2 minutes) to Communications@Unifor.org