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    Labor Headlines

    US labor news headlines from LabourStart

    Union Strong Podcast Episode 36: COVID-19 Heroes
    Dear Jeff Bezos, instead of firing me, protect your workers from coronavirus
    Fired union drive leaders claim ‘retaliation' by LIC art handling firm
    Washington health care unions demand coronavirus hazard pay for workers
    100 American Airlines flight attendants have been diagnosed with COVID-19, union says
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    • What's New at AFSCME 2401

      Members: We've been getting a lot of questions about FMLA and COVID. Here are some guidelines, but you must consult with your HR dept! 

      These are the 3 types of FMLA and the documentation needed.

      (1) For employees who must quarantine or isolate due to a District, federal, or state COVID-19 related order, or recommended by a healthcare provider:

      (a) A copy of the specific order or recommendation; and

      (b) If teleworking, documentation froma health care provider or the employee that the he or she is unable to telework due to COVID-19 related symptoms.

      (2) For employees who care for individuals who must quarantine or isolate due to a District, federal, or state COVID-19 related order or advised to self-quarantine by a health care provider:

      (a) A copy of the specific order or advisement relating to that person;

      (b) Documentation from a health care provider or certification by the employee that the individual needs care; and

      (b) Certification by the employee that he or she is unable to telework and why.

      (3) For school or childcare closures:

      (a) A record establishing the employee’s parental relationship to the child, which may include dependency records maintained in PeopleSoft; copy of a birth certificate; divorce decree; or adoption decree;

      (b) Proof of the child’s enrollment in and the closure of the school or childcare provider; and (c) Certification by the employee that he or she is not able to telework while providing the care and the reason.


      Important updates from President Wayne Enoch,  Agency by Agency

      Please be advised that AFSCME Local 2401 has been contacting the leadership at our agencies to discuss the Health and Safety of our members. This is an unprecedented time and we are all adapting to what is going on. I want to assure you that despite the fact that our agencies are numerous, we are paying attention to what is happening, and we are questioning what is going on. Yesterday, I called for an Emergency Executive Board teleconference to discuss what is going on. Unfortunately, there were technical issues with Free Conference Call (presumably because of the traffic); therefore, we could not conclude our meeting. Today, I conducted a conference call with the Health & Safety committee, so that we are on the same page. Below, you will find information that I have about our agencies. If you find anything to be inaccurate, please email health.safety@afscme2401.org.

      Department of Human Services

      At DHS, we have been informed that the public is not coming in the facilities. If contact is made with the public, it is to be done by management. Telework is available, based on the functions that individuals perform. Supervisors were required to inform Senior Leadership about their staff that have the capability to work from home. It is reportedly about the work you perform and the equipment that is available to perform that work remotely. If you feel that you can work from home, please contact TammyJo Striven or Marlene Akas, in HR. In the case of social workers/case managers, visits with clients are not being conducted. Interviews are reportedly being done by phone or virtually.

      I have been informed that masks and gloves are not available because the agency is functioning within the guidance of the Department of Health. They reported that masks are for individuals who are sick, and gloves contribute towards further spreading germs. They have ordered additional hand sanitizer stations and wipes. President Wayne L. Enoch Vice President Paula Akinleye Secretary Treasurer Carolyn Roberts Recording Secretary Roger Scott Executive Board Sabrina I. Brown LaShawna Lynch Helen Shamwell Trustees Vernescher Brown Moses Smith Chief Shop Steward Roger Scott American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO District Council 20, Local 2401 100 M Street, SE, Suite 250 Washington, DC 20003 www.afscme2401.org They are ordering directly from 3M, in order to get supplies faster. Increased cleaning protocols have been ordered from the housekeeping contract. They are now disinfecting, based on health department standards.

      If anyone is sick, they are to simply use the usual protocols for calling in sick. They DO NOT need to inform their manager of their specific illness. It is recommended that they follow their doctor’s orders. Administrative Leave is available if individuals test positive for COVID-19. The process to obtain this leave will be a standard of the District. I do not recommend having this discussion with your supervisor. Instead, contact a manager in HR for guidance.

      Going forward, I will have weekly conference calls with HR, to get updates and provide feedback from what members need. I have requested the specifics of who is working in the office and who is teleworking. I have also inquired about who are in positions designated as Essential and Emergency.

      Child & Family Services Agency

      Last week, CFSA contacted the union to discuss what was going on. That meeting left several unanswered questions, which we are still requesting feedback about. Yesterday, I called and emailed management to get our concerns addressed. We provided questions to the agency about which employees are designated as Essential/Emergency; who will allowed to telework, work in the office, be on Administrative Leave; what supplies are available for staff to ensure safe practices while in the office or field; how will supplies be distributed. I further inquired about sanitizing office space; and the capability of conducting virtual interviews with clients on HIPPA compliant applications. Going forward, I will be asking about the cleanliness of vehicles and having ongoing weekly conference calls.

      Department of Disability Services

      I called Jessica Gray and left a message to get an update. Early last week and prior to the Emergency status, the agency provided the unions and staff with information about their efforts to keep the buildings clean and guidance for staff.

      Office of Contracts and Procurement

      OCP is on 100% telework status agency wide. All employees have been issued laptops and equipment to do their work from home. Please continue to report for duty as usual during this time via telework until further notice. There are 3 members who have not received a laptop and therefore the agency intends to provide those staff members with their laptops and cell phones for them to be able to perform their duties from home. Please follow the District’s rules for the telework process during COVID-19 for your agency. Remember to stay connected and informed by checking emails and the media.

      Department of Aging and Community Living

      All of our members are teleworking, except a few volunteers that are needed to triage cases. As of Monday, there were only 2 cases that needed someone to visit. Hand sanitizer and wipes have been made available for staff. Reportedly, the agency is exercising extreme caution in interacting with clients, as their clients are some of the most vulnerable individuals prone to have complications, if exposed to COVID-19. If at all possible, the goal is not to have direct contact.

      Office of the State Superintendent of Education

      All 2401 members are teleworking.

      Department of Health Care Finance

      The agency is having 100% telework. IT is setting up VPN access. Managers are conducting calls to staff to check in on work being performed. Essential employees are On-Call. We only have one employee in that status. I reached out to her to make sure that she has the support she needs. Emergency employees are working from home. Only Deputy Mayor Turnage is in the office.

      Office of the Attorney General

      OAG has informed all non-essential employees to telework from home and has provided some staff with laptops and government cell phones to conduct their duties. A large number of OAG staff were told to remain home although they were not issued equipment to telework at present. The Agency has ordered a new shipment of laptops and cell phones for all employees who are able to work from home. The agency will contact those employees that did not receive laptops and cell phones to come in only to receive their equipment and to return to their homes to work. Employees are to follow their report for duty time as usual while teleworking until further notice. Those who have an AWS day will still keep their schedule during this time. OAG has identified Essential employees as well as a “skeleton crew” that will be at the office physically until further notice. Please stay tuned to your emails for updates from the agency.

      Office of Human Rights

      OHR is on 100% telework status and the office has identified individuals that will be in and out of the office or to remain there for intake needs etc. This will continue until further notice. Please stay connected and informed with your agency via email and the media.

      To download this poster: http://www.liberationnews.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/dr-king-was-a-radical-2.pdf

      Dr. King's legacy is more than the "I have a dream" speech. As we celebrate him, let us not join in the whitewashing of his legacy. Instead, let’s celebrate the real Dr. King, the revolutionary Dr. King.

      "I am much more socialistic in my economic theory than capitalistic. …
      Today capitalism has outlived its usefulness." (A letter to Corretta Scott, 1952)

      "We must admit that [communism] arose as a protest against the hardships of the underprivileged. … Communism seeks to transcend the superficialities of race and color, and you are able to join the Communist party whatever the color of your skin or the quality of the blood in your veins. With this passionate concern for social justice Christians are bound to be in accord." (1962)

      "True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it understands that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring." (1967)

      "When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism and militarism are incapable of being conquered." (1967)

      "[W]e are saying that something is wrong … with capitalism…. There must be better distribution of wealth and maybe America must move toward a democratic socialism." (1966)

      "One day we must ask the question, 'Why are there forty million poor people in America?' ... When you ask that question, you begin to question the capitalistic economy." (1967)

      "Marx reveals the danger of the profit motive as the sole basis for an economic system. We must heed this challenge. I’m afraid that there are too many people in America concerned about making a living rather than making a life." (1962)

      Read More...
      Download: dc council hearings.pdf

      DC Council Hearings Impactful to AFSCME Local 2401 Members
      COMMITTEE AGENCY PERFORMANCE HEARING BUDGET HEARING
      Government Operations ORM 1/16/2020
      Government Operations OHR 1/22/2020
      Human Services DHS 1/29/2020
      Human Services CFSA 2/12/2020
      Judiciary & Public Safety OAG 2/13/2020 3/24/2020
      Human Services DDS 2/7/2020
      Education DCPS 2/19/2020
      Labor & Workforce Development OLRCB 2/21/2020
      Labor & Workforce Development DCHR 2/21/2020
      Education OSSE 2/26/2020
      Health DHCF 3/5/2020 4/6/2020

      Download: dc council hearings.pdf

      Members, if you know anyone struggling during this holiday season, please don't forget about Black America Cares. This great non-profit has several services to help with:

      -Rent Assistance

      -Utility Assistance

      -Youth Mentoring

      -Workforce development and life skills

      -Assistance for seniors

      -Food and gas gift cards

      https://www.blackamericacares.org/
       


      Today's Washington Post reports that income equality continues to rise in the U.S., with most of the wealth created by workers going to a small minority of CEOs and rich shareholders. For the working class, homelessness continues to rise to epidemic levels in some cities. 

      Michelle was an experienced social worker with a Master's degree (and working on another one), when a couple of setbacks resulted in this single mother losing everything. The streets the U.S., both urban and increasingly rural, are filling up with hard-working people who have fallen victim to an economic system that devalues human lives and inherently puts profits over people. 

      As you watch Michelle tell her story, remember that union organizing is the ONLY way workers are able to have any say in their pay, benefits, work safety, etc. especially in public sector jobs. Electing the "right" politicians and hoping they will act in workers behalf has only resulted in maintaining a status quo where the working class falls further and further behind. 

      As the weather turns colder, please remember that the homeless you see all the working class, like us. They may not be as educated as Michelle, but they all have a story that needs to be heard. 

      Support your union! Join and be active! YOU are the Union!!!  




      Download: June 2019 Newsletter 2401.pdf
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