Dear fellow members,
In this challenging time, SEIU members are on the front-lines of slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus. While we lead in this moment of crisis, we have a dual responsibility to our patients, clients, and children, but also to ourselves and our families.
COVID-19 is preventable and treatable, as long as we are informed and protected. Basic wellness practices like frequent handwashing and social distancing can help reduce the virus’s spread. (Here’s a helpful infographic from the CDC with some best practices.)
Keeping our families and communities healthy is part of the mission of our union. This moment demonstrates the importance of adequate paid time off, which we fight for in every contract. Programs like Unemployment Insurance are also important to working families in times like these, which is why our Union has advocates for its expansion, especially for public school employees.
To stay safe on the job, we need our bosses to comply with prevention and containment best practices, like providing training and proper equipment. Employers should have contingency plans if workplaces need to be closed or have reduced hours. We can work together to get what we need – talk to your union steward, your chapter chair, and/or your union rep to make a plan. But we also need to be flexible and work hard to lead the way on being good citizens who care for each other.
Times like these expose the cracks in our healthcare and public health systems. In SEIU, we support healthcare and paid sick leave as human rights, because everyone’s health is important. No one should go to work sick because they are worried about missing a day’s pay, and no one should have to postpone or forgo treatment because they can’t afford the bill. As state and federal laws and regulations change, we are learning, lobbying, negotiating, and doing everything we can do to advocate and fight for union members and working families. More information to come.
In the face of these many challenges, I know we will support each other, because union is a family, and families get through tough times together.
Scott Phillipson, SEIU Local 200United President