As the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to affect communities across the globe, CWA leaders are engaging with employers to ensure that they are providing CWA members with comprehensive safety and prevention measures in an environment that encourages open and free communication without fear of reprisal or negative impacts on pay or continued employment.
CWA's Health and Safety department has established a process for locals to report on what protections employers have put in place as well as for members to report any incidents of exposure or infection. If you have been exposed to COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms consistent with infection, contact your healthcare provider immediately and follow reporting procedures established by your employer. Also notify your CWA Local or District as soon as possible.
Protocols at Your Workplace
Local health and safety committees are sharing information with members on protocols for avoiding infection at their workplaces.
Information for IUE-CWA Members (added 3/31/2020)
Recommendations for Call Center Workers (added 3/31/2020)
Recommendations for EMS/First Responders (added 3/31/2020)
Recommendations for Workers Who Enter Customer Premises (added 3/31/2020)
Recommendations for Workers who Interact with the Public (added 3/31/2020)
OSHA Guidance for Preparing Working Places for COVID-19 (added 3/26/2020)
OSHA Protecting Workers During a Pandemic (added 3/26/2020)
Community/Non-Medical Face Masks: Tips for CWA Members (added 4/30/2020)
If You Think Your Working Conditions Put You at Risk
If you have concerns about the risks you face in the workplace, you should consult with your steward or a Local officer for advice. Click here for more information on your rights if you are concerned about COVID-19 exposure.
State and Federal Benefits and Policy Issues
CWA members working on the front lines of the pandemic deserve swift government action to provide full protections for the safety of themselves and the public. Read CWA's policy priorities: Putting Workers First: Policies to Address the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Recently passed federal legislation mandates paid sick days and paid family leave in some COVID-19 related situations and expands unemployment benefits.
AFA-CWA Information about Increased Unemployment Benefits Under the CARES (COVID-19 Relief) Act (added 4/10/2020)
Paid Sick and Family Leave
As the Coronavirus continues to spread, it is critically important that Congress and the President take immediate steps to protect workers.
Many workers in this country don’t have paid sick or family leave, and even those that do may not have leave that is adequate in the face of the COVID-19 panic. They may face tremendous financial hardship if they or someone they care for becomes ill or if they need to care for a child whose school is closed. Take action now to demand Congress extend paid sick days and paid family leave to all workers by passing the P.A.I.D. Leave Act: https://actionnetwork.org/letters/paidleaveact
Mandate Production of Personal Protective Equipment
CWA members are on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis. Shortages of N95 respirators, surgical masks, latex gloves and other protective equipment leave essential workers at risk of infection.
Through the National Defense Production Act (NDPA) the President can mandate the immediate production of all the personal protective equipment, tests, and ventilators we need to respond to the crisis and protect healthcare and other essential workers — but so far he's refused to do so. Sign the petition to tell President Trump that he must use the full force of the Defense Production Act now! https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/weneedppe
Keep Airline Workers Employed
Congress passed a bill that gives the airline industry grants that are supposed to fund paychecks and benefits for two million hourly workers. President Trump's Treasury Secretary, Steve Mnuchin, is threatening to take action that will add debt to the airlines' balance sheets if they accept the grants, increasing the risk of bankruptcy, and making it more difficult for the airlines to do the right thing and keep workers on payroll. Sign the petiton to tell President Trump to keep his promise and keep airline workers employed: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/president-trump-keep-your-promise-fund-our-paychecks
Life Saving News Needs a Stimulus
News is an essential service and our country can’t afford to lose it during this pandemic. Journalists are working on never-ending deadlines and risking their own health to provide life-saving information to a nation sheltering in place. Tell Congress to include the news industry in the next stimulus package and protect access to this vital, life-saving essential service. https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/life-saving-news-needs-a-stimulus/
Civil and Human Rights Concerns
In this moment of heightened fear and concern, CWA civil and human rights advocates are standing with those who are particularly harmed by the results of the crisis because of their identity or status and fighting collectively to ensure no one is left without the help they need to live in dignity and safety. Learn more: CWA Human Rights - COVID-19 Resources
These resources provide more information on how to protect yourself from coronavirus infection, what to do if you are sick, and how to address the risk of infection in your workplace:
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Coronavirus Disease 2019
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration COVID-19 Hazard Recognition
- AFL-CIO Coronavirus Resources
Because conditions vary across the country and are changing constantly, your local leadership will have the most up-to-date information on policies in place at your work location to address the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have a question and are unable to contact your steward or local officers, click here to submit your question and we will route it to the appropriate person for response.
Reviewed and Updated 4/30/2020