Twenty-four (24) unions that form the core of the federal employee labor movement as members of the Federal Workers Alliance, composed of unions in and outside of the AFL-CIO, have listed for the Administration the 11 working conditions that must be provided  for their members to return to federal office space.  They 11 are listed below along with the names of the unions that are working together on this. It is unlikely that the agencies, much less the political administration, will agree simply because the Alliance said these are the conditions.  Unions have a struggle ahead of them which will require that they use all the tools available to them to achieve these goals.  For example, demanding to bargain over the issues that are negotiable, helping high risk employees file FMLA and Reasonable Accommodation requests—and grieve if necessary, publicizing through picketing that the building is unsafe, enlisting the help of local Congressional reps and media, etc. At a minimum, unions need to notify unit employees what the agency should be doing to protect them and asking for their support.

(1) Liberal accommodations must be made for employees with preexisting conditions that make them, and their families, more susceptible to COVID-19.

(2) Engineering controls and work practice controls, such as negative pressure rooms, barriers, and work schedule changes must be implemented to reduce the possibility of exposure to COVID-19.

(3) All individuals present in the worksite should be expected to wear masks to reduce the possible spread of COVID-19 through respiratory droplets.

(4) Personal protective equipment (PPE), including respirators, gloves, and other PPE, must be provided at the worksite, and worn by employees to lessen the chance of transmission at the worksite, where engineering and other controls have not fully reduced the risk of transmission. For nurses and other healthcare workers caring for suspected and confirmed COVID-19 patients, PPE should include a powered air-purifying respirator and coveralls that include a head and shoe covering, and gloves.

(5) Hand washing and sanitizing stations must be provided, as well as time in the day for workers to sanitize their work areas and any parts of which that are available to the public.

(6) Assign and ensure that all shared / common areas and equipment are sanitized at regular intervals by personnel qualified and trained in disinfection of COVID-19.

(7) On-demand testing for employees who suspect they have been exposed to COVID-19 must be offered. The most reliable tests available should be used.

(8) Administrative leave must be granted for employees who suspect they have been exposed to COVID-19, to ensure that employees are not pressured into coming to the worksite while they suspect they may be infected.

(9) Immediate and thorough notice to be provided to employees at worksites where a person who has been suspected of having COVID-19 was present. This notice should include, at minimum, information about the time, location, duration, and nature of the possible exposures. Weekly or regular updates on suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases at worksites to be provided to employees’ unions.

(10) Administrative leave be granted, and flexibility ensured (i.e.: telework), for all employees who suspect they have been exposed to the virus, and for employees who have previously tested positive who are volunteering to donate plasma or data to the CDC and other scientific organizations that are working on solving the COVID crisis

(11) Agree to pre-implementation negotiations with unions when collectively bargained agreements do not provide for necessary return to work protocols.

All feds owe the following unions a debt for standing up for them together.

  • American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME)
  • American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO (AFT)
  • Antilles Consolidated Education Association (ACEA)
  • Federal Education Association/National Education Association (FEA/NEA)
  • International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF)
  • International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW)
  • International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW)
  • International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT)
  • International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE)
  • International Organization of Masters, Mates and Pilots (MM&P)
  • Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association (MEBA)
  • Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO (MTD)
  • National Association of Government Employees, SEIU (NAGE)
  • National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE)
  • National Nurses United (NNU)
  • National Weather Service Employees Organization (NWSEO)
  • Overseas Federation of Teachers, AFT, AFL-CIO
  • Professional Aviation Safety Specialists (PASS)
  • Patent Office Professional Association (POPA)
  • Seafarers International Union/NMU (SIU)
  • Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
  • Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART)
  • SPORT Air Traffic Controllers Organization (SATCO)
  • United Power Trades Organization (UPTO)

About AdminUN

FEDSMILL staff has over 40 years of federal sector labor relations experience on the union as well as management side of the table and even some time as a neutral.
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