Your Teamsters Local 710 Executive Board and Representatives are continuing to monitor the COVID-19 situation, especially as to how it relates to the measures your employers are taking.
The following letter has been sent out to all Local 710 employers. We are evaluating responses as they are received.
To whom it may concern:
I am writing on behalf of the Teamsters Local 710 members who are employed by your company. The health and safety of our members, your employees, is our primary concern, undoubtedly a concern we share. We are closely following the Centers for Disease Control (“CDC”) for updates to monitor the risks posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. We want to ensure that you are following all CDC and OSHA Guidelines and recommendations on strict infection control procedures, routine cleaning and disinfection protocols, and I hope that you continue to clean and disinfect all equipment, breakrooms, bathrooms, and all work areas throughout this time to keep everyone healthy and safe. We also want to ensure that our members and your employees are provided with any necessary personal protective equipment, including protective gloves and N95 masks for employees in positions requiring person-to-person contact. We also expect that you will implement appropriate work-rule changes where necessary to maintain infection control practices, including allowing additional time for hand-washing and providing adequate washing facilities.
I am requesting that you notify us of the measures that you have put into effect in response to or which are otherwise related to the possibility of exposure to the virus and what measures you have taken to train your employees to comply with such guidelines and protocols. Furthermore, I am asking you to demonstrate your commitment to the health and safety of workers and their families by suspending any absence-control policies for the duration of this national emergency.
Further, we are requesting all of our employers to voluntarily adopt the provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act passed by the US House of Representatives on March 14, endorsed by the President and now awaiting action by the Senate. The Bill passed the House by a vote of 363-40. It includes mandatory paid sick leave under The Emergency Paid Leave Act of 2020. (“the Act”)
The Emergency Paid Leave Act of 2020 would require employers to provide employees with two weeks of paid sick leave to self-isolate/quarantine, seek diagnosis or care for COVID-19, or to care for a child or family member with COVID-19. The Act also extends unpaid FMLA leave to all employees of a covered employer (those with fewer than 50 employees are exempted) who have been employed for at least 30 days, after a 14-day waiting period following the onset of a qualifying condition. Under the Act as presently drafted, an employee may take sick time and/or FMLA for any of the following:
- Self isolation because the employee is diagnosed with COVID-19;
- To obtain a medical diagnosis or care if an employee is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms;
- To comply with a recommendation or order that the physical presence of the employee on the job would jeopardize the health of others because of (a) exposure of the employee to COVID-19, or (b) the exhibition of symptoms of COVID-19 by the employee;
- To care for or assist an employee’s family member who is self isolating because the family member has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and needs to obtain medical diagnosis or care;
- To care for or assist an employee’s family member if a public official or a health care provider determines that the presence of the family member in the community would jeopardize the health of others due to COVID-19 exposure or the exhibitions of COVID-19 symptoms; and
- To care for the child of such employee if the child’s school or place of care has been closed, or the child care provider of such child is unavailable due to COVID-19.
Full time employees are entitled to 80 hours of paid sick time under the Act, and part time employees are entitled to the number of hours that the employee works, on average, over a two week period.
This legislation provides that paid sick leave will be available for employee use immediately, regardless of how long the employee has been employed. Further, the Bill expressly states that if an employer already provides paid leave to its employees, it must provide paid sick leave provided in this bill in addition to its existing paid leave. Under the Act, an employee may first use this paid sick leave, and employers are explicitly prohibited from requiring employees to use other paid leave before the employee uses the paid sick time provided under this legislation.
Finally, the Bill prohibits making a condition of the use of such leave the obligation of the employee to find a replacement worker or in any way retaliating against the worker for using the benefit.
We recognize that the Bill is not yet law and that it may exempt employers with fewer than 50 or more than 500 employees, though with the constantly changing situation, we are hopeful that the Senate will enhance this bill to include all employers. We also recognize that the Bill has additional benefits related to the Family and Medical Leave Act, but we believe that the paid sick time provisions are most urgent to ensure that workers take the time that is necessary to be tested, to be quarantined, and to take care of infected family members before further spreading this virus.
This is a national emergency. I know that we share a commitment to the health and safety of our members, your employees and the communities they serve and in which they leave.
Please confirm your Company’s willingness to voluntarily implement and adhere to the above reference provisions of The Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act as set forth in The Families First Coronavirus Act by co-signing a copy of this letter and returning it to me. I appreciate your consideration, and we hope that you will join us in combating this terrible disease which threatens our nation.
Michael J. Cales
Secretary-Treasurer & Principal Officer
Teamsters Local 710