Wondering How We’re Protecting Your Rights During COVID-19? Here’s an Update

It has now been more than a week since the Bay Area announced a shelter-in-place and just about a week since the Governor followed suit due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our offices closed starting March 16 and, to date, they remain closed. All of our staff, however, continue to work remotely. In that time, I know you have been dealing with numerous issues. I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it again: Thank you for the work that you are continuing to do despite the challenging, unprecedented situation.

We have put together a new page in the Resources section of our website that can answer many of your questions about COVID-19 (the coronavirus). It includes links to other useful sites and facts about using vacation and sick leave, what to do if you’re considered an “essential” vs. “non-essential” employee, your rights as a worker during the health crisis, and health and safety tips from our local and state health departments.

Please let me reassure you that staff and member leaders are going to extraordinary lengths to make sure that we get through this—together and stronger.

Let me also say something that no one seems to be mentioning these days—not the media nor the elected officials: Organized labor has been at the forefront, leading the fight against the COVID-19 crisis.

Union leaders and staff were the first to initiate demands to our many employers and to the government. We were the ones proposing solutions (and we continue to propose many more) on how to deal with the situation. Many of our proposals have subsequently been adopted.

We have prioritized health and safety, fighting to ensure that workers most at risk are at home. We have pushed to make sure that workers deemed not essential are either working from home or not working.

For those members not working, we have stressed they be placed on paid admin leave. No one should be forced to use and deplete their hard-earned accrued time.

We are aware that some employers have wrongly forced workers to use their accruals, and we will continue to fight this and push for what is right.

Check out our website for more resources on what to do if you are dealing with any issues with your employer during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The labor movement and unions deserve praise and recognition rather than the attacks and obstacles that government seems determined to place in our path.

We have already shown that it is not about one of us but about all of us and that, by working together, we will succeed.

Thank you for continuing to work on the front lines every day just to get us through this crisis. The next several weeks won’t be easy, but our hope is that you stay healthy and safe during these challenging times.