Workers across the country are facing unprecedented challenges. Tens of millions of workers have been laid off and are struggling to pay their bills and access healthcare. Many of the essential workers that continue to keep the country moving are facing new, potentially deadly, workplace hazards without adequate workplace protections or proper equipment.
During this public health crisis, both employers and the government are failing to protect workers. Now, more than ever, workers need to speak up and take action to protect themselves, their families and their communities. The Teamsters stand with all workers, regardless of what industry you’re in, what kind of work you do, or whether or not you’re already part of our union. Everyone deserves to stay healthy and safe at work.
Every worker must be guaranteed:
A workplace that is free of recognized hazards likely to cause illness, death or serious physical harm.
This means employers must implement appropriate preventative measures like staggering shifts, reorganizing the work process to facilitate physical distancing, improving ventilation and installing guards to prevent workers from exposure to COVID-19.
The resources they need to do their jobs.
That means employers must provide adequate personal protective equipment and other safety materials like hand-washing stations, hand sanitizer, cleaning supplies, and masks.
Time to work safely.
Increased physical distancing, frequent hand washing, cleaning workstations, and other essential preventative measures all take time. Employers must ensure that workers’ have adequate time to complete their jobs while taking these safety measures.
Paid time off
Staying home from work is one of the most powerful things that workers can do to keep themselves and their coworkers safe during this pandemic. Every worker deserves paid time off to recover from illness, self-quarantine as necessary, or care for sick family members. Two weeks of paid leave now required by law in many cases and that should be an absolute minimum standard for every worker. Employers should not prevent workers from taking the time that they need by requiring unnecessary (and often unavailable) testing or doctor’s notes. Nor should managers with no medical training to make medical decisions regarding which workers are sick enough to require time off and which workers must report to work.
The right to speak up about your concerns at work without fear of retaliation.
Our workplaces and communities are safer when workers are able to speak freely and raise concerns about their safety and the safety of their coworkers. Keeping workers quiet doesn’t make the problems go away, it puts everyone at risk.
If you’re fighting for these protections at your workplace, we’ve got your back!