Dear Sisters and Brothers:
This letter is to address concerns among Local 350 membership regarding the current Coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic, specifically related to how it will impact Local 350 members in the workplace.
This situation is fluid and rapidly changing. Every day there is new information, as well as misinformation. We are doing our best to stay informed and educated as things change. Employers seem to be doing the same and some employers are implementing precautionary measures to reduce exposure of their employees.
While we are supportive of common-sense precautionary measures, such as furnishing hand sanitizer, reasonable access to wash hands, disposable gloves and possibly masks, and disinfecting work areas, we understand that the possibility of more extreme measures is causing significant concern.
We have sent a letter to all employers requesting effects bargaining (bargaining over how an action will impact members and how to mitigate any negative impact) if they are forced to make operational or scheduling changes (due to municipality mandate or voluntarily due to exposure, or in efforts to prevent exposure) that negatively impact our members. In other words, employers cannot make unilateral changes that impact members without first bargaining such changes with us.
Furthermore, we have requested that employers adopt more lenient absenteeism policies and provide for additional paid time off for members that are forced to take time off due to having, being exposed to, or are quarantined for Covid-19, or to care for family members exposed to Covid-19 or children whose school or daycare has been closed. Again, this is subject to bargaining.
If a company is shut down or reduces hours and/or services due to Covid-19, we will demand effects bargaining to mitigate any financial hardship to our members. In the interim, employees whose companies shut down or reduce hours can file an Unemployment Insurance claim. The health and economic well-being of our members is paramount, and we will do whatever we can to protect both.
In the meantime, if you are forced to take time off to care for yourself or a family member, all usual federal and state protected leaves are available to you, such as FMLA, CFRA, PFL and State Disability (or
leave to care for children whose schools have closed for coronavirus), in addition to whatever paid and unpaid time off you have available to you per your respective Collective Bargaining Agreement.
As I previously stated, the situation is fluid and rapidly changing. We will be monitoring it as much as possible and keeping our members informed. As always, we will continue to fight for and protect members of Local 350. All scheduled Union functions will continue (such as general membership meetings) until further notice. Please feel free to contact me directly if you have any questions or concerns.
Thank you for your hard work and dedication and may you all be healthy and safe!