Local 7600 Kaiser retiree transforms scrubs to masks for union siblings

In spring 2019, members of the USW Health Care Workers Council attended the union’s Rapid Response Conference in DC to represent their sector and bring awareness to their fight for safe jobs. They lobbied members of Congress that week as well as part of the council’s Safe Jobs Now postcard campaign to address workplace violence in health care and social services.

During this legislative action, the health care workers wore specially-made Safe Jobs Now scrubs, and just last week, these same scrubs were transformed and added to the arsenal for yet another battle facing the fatigued sector.

Jennifer Klug, a Kaiser-Permanente retiree in Southern California and 13-year member of Local 7600, began sewing masks for anyone who needed them in early 2020. Then, Claudette Baker, Trustee of the local, reached out recently and asked if she could make masks out of the old campaign scrubs.  

Klug, whose daughter-in-law is also a current member of Local 7600, got to work and has so far made 150 masks from the former scrubs, which can each make roughly 15-20 individual pieces. In total, since the beginning of the pandemic, she has made more than 1,100 masks.

“We’ve all had to chip in and do what we could do,” said Klug. “Plus, Kaiser was really good to me and I felt like this was the least I could do.”

Klug also reflected on the brutal reality of the past year and a half in the process of recycling these scrubs, noting that the fight for safety on the job continues.

“When I think back, I can’t believe we did all that we did last year and that we’re going to have to be wearing masks for a long time.”


Press Inquiries

Media Contacts

Communications Director:
Jess Kamm at 412-562-2446

USW@WORK (USW magazine)
Editor R.J. Hufnagel

For industry specific inquiries,
Call USW Communications at 412-562-2442

Mailing Address

United Steelworkers
Communications Department
60 Blvd. of the Allies
Pittsburgh, PA 15222