Without a doubt, we are living through an unprecedented challenge with this global pandemic. I hope this letter finds you and yours safe and healthy.
We know you have a lot of concerns and questions about how and where to do your jobs, about how to get paid and in general, about how to navigate your work and home lives amid this rapidly evolving crisis. Now more than ever, we need to stand together. We must encourage or demand that employers take steps to keep us safe, while recognizing the nature of our work poses unique challenges maintaining an acceptable “social distance” from the public we serve.
The Local is working hard on a number of fronts. Last week, we sent letters to every one of our employers demanding their plans for keeping our members safe. We are encouraged that a number of employers appear to be taking this seriously, including those that have allowed staff to work remotely. But not all employers are moving at the speed or with the concern we think the situation warrants, raising the urgent need for us to push back.
Our priorities include:
- No loss of pay – companies should provide unlimited sick time to employees who are potentially exposed or sick
- No discipline for expressing concerns about taking a particular assignment
- Employees should be able to work remotely, including conducting interviews by phone
There are a range of assistance programs if you become unemployed, disabled or have to stay at home to care for an ill family member or a child whose school has closed. The Guild’s law firm has provided guidance on these issues here and here. You can read Gov. Gavin Newsom’s press release on state relief programs here. Please note this information is being updated as circumstances dictate. The Guild will forward the latest as we learn it.
We encourage you to work with your unit chairs for updates on the company’s response to this evolving crisis. Should you feel management is not listening or taking your concerns seriously, do not hesitate to reach out to the Local Executive Officer, Michael Applegate for help. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will use every means necessary to promote safety for our members.
Your work is absolutely critical. On behalf of the Local and our communities, thank you for your dedication and commitment to public service.
President, Pacific Media Workers Guild