Coronavirus: how SEIU 1021 is protecting members and our families
A message from Joseph Bryant, President of SEIU 1021
Dear SEIU 1021 member,
Since coronavirus became a global pandemic, our union’s attention has been focused on how to ensure the health, safety, and economic well-being of our members, families, and communities—including many of our members who, in the midst of this crisis, continue to provide crucial services in our communities.
I know that things are scary now and we’re all disappointed at how unprepared the Federal administration was for this outbreak, so I wanted to outline the steps our local is taking to protect our members and share resources from the California Department of Public Health.
Right now, SEIU 1021 staff and member leaders are working hard to safeguard your health at work by pursuing the following demands:
- Employers must minimize the risk of infection for members.
- Employers must adopt and provide copies of emergency response protocols and plans.
- Employers must bargain over workplace changes and their impact on members.
Employers must minimize the risk of infection for members.
To ensure your health and safety is protected at work, we have demanded that every employer:
- Provide paid time off in the event of closure or quarantine without requiring workers to deplete their vacation or sick banks.
- Create new paid leave banks to be used specifically for coronavirus, with no requirement that workers produce a doctor’s note to qualify.
- Provide training and education about the virus and how to recognize potential cases.
- Implement screening protocols to promptly identify patients with symptoms and travel or exposure history.
- Ensure prompt isolation of patients with possible or suspected cases of COVID-19.
- Maintain airborne isolation rooms so they can provide protection to staff and patients.
- Provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to all frontline workers providing care and service in worksites with possible COVID-19 infections. PPE should include N95 respirators with proper eye coverage or powered air-purifying respirators, as well as gloves, gowns, and other PPE for droplet and aerosol precautions.
- Sufficiently staff workplaces so workers can provide care and services to patients and clients safely.
Employers must adopt and provide copies of emergency response protocols and plans.
To ensure employers are being proactive in their plans to protect workers, we have demanded that every employer turn over:
- Copies of written emergency response protocols to address the threat.
- Copies of protocols to protect workers who may be more likely to be exposed to the threat.
- Copies of their rollout plan to provide protection for workers in the event of a crisis.
Employers must bargain over workplace changes and their impact on members.
SEIU 1021 is demanding negotiations with our employers over the effects the virus and its consequences are having on our jobs. These matters include but are not limited to:
- Changes to schedules, including holdover shifts and mandatory overtime
- Layoffs or reductions in hours.
- Temporary closures (including the right to telecommute where possible).
- Pay and benefits.
- Assignments that fall outside of job descriptions.
As this pandemic unfolds, conditions will change quickly and issues will arise that we have not foreseen. We will need to rely on frontline workers like you to keep us updated. To report any new developments, please call the Member Resource Center (MRC) at 1-877-687-1021 then contact your SEIU 1021 Staff Representative and your Chapter leadership.