Apr 2, 2020 - New COVID-19 Resources for Workers

April 2, 2020

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New COVID-19 Resources For Workers

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We have been updating our COVID-19 resource page with new resources to address common questions and concerns that CWA members have as the pandemic continues to affect every aspect of our lives.

New materials this week include recommended health and safety protocols for call center workers, emergency medical service workers and first responders, workers who enter customer premises, and workers who interact with the public.

There is also information about benefits available for workers as the result of recently passed federal legislation that mandates paid sick days and paid family leave in some COVID-19 related situations and expands unemployment benefits.

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 and what action you should take if you believe you are being asked to work under unsafe conditions.

Remember, 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.

During this time, it is more important than ever that we be able to contact you with information that is specific to your employer or local. Please visit https://cwaunion.wufoo.com/forms/cwa-member-information-update to help us update our records.

COVID-19 Resource Page.


IUE-CWA Members Push GE to Manufacture Ventilators In-House and Improve Safety

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On Monday, IUE-CWA members who work at General Electric issued a set of demands, calling on GE to use excess capacity to manufacture much-needed ventilators in-house and implement enhanced health measures to protect members doing essential work. Members of IUE-CWA Local 81201 marched six feet apart at GE's Lynn, Mass., Aviation facility and GE's national headquarters in Boston to appeal to the company to protect workers and save lives.

"IUE-CWA has represented frontline workers at GE for several decades, workers who have manufactured some of the nation's most innovative products," said IUE-CWA President Carl Kennebrew. "We know that the highly-trained workforce at GE, regardless of their current division, is capable of stepping up to support the needs of the American people during this global pandemic and produce desperately needed ventilators. That's why we're calling on GE to put these men and women to work and manufacture the ventilators necessary to save lives."

Ventilators are desperately needed in states across the country, including New York, California, Washington, and Florida. GE is one of the nation's leading producers of ventilators, through the company's health care division. However, GE has chosen to partner with outside corporations to help transfer the needed technology as well as their experience and their knowledge of the supply chain to source ventilator parts for new production.

CWA Local 1168 Director of Health and Safety Denise Abbott, who is a Registered Nurse, joined a press call to support the demand for ventilator production. "We are in an absolute crisis. Because of supply shortages, frontline healthcare workers like me and the members of my local union cannot follow CDC safety guidelines for protective equipment," Abbot said. "As IUE-CWA members have told us, other essential workers also do not have the equipment and procedures in place to protect their health on the job. Preventing the spread of this virus is urgent, and the alarm that my union brothers and sisters are raising must be heard – and acted upon – by every employer. We are desperate. Lives are at stake."

Learn more at https://cwa-union.org/news/releases/cwa-demands-general-electric-use-expertise-and-excess-capacity-manufacture-ventilators.


IUE-CWA Local 81201 members call for ventilator production and enhanced safety measures outside of GE’s Lynn, Mass. facility. Photo credit: Adrianne Mathiowetz.


News Outlets Need Support to Continue Providing Life-Saving Coverage

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The NewsGuild-CWA is urging Congress to adopt provisions in its next stimulus package that will protect life-saving news operations from devastation. As businesses close due to COVID-19 restrictions, advertising revenue has plummeted, threatening news outlets, especially local and regional media, with extinction.

To address the crisis, The NewsGuild Executive Council unanimously approved a resolution calling for federal, state, and local governments to provide public funds and incentives to sustain news operations.

"Journalists are working on never-ending deadlines and risking their own health to provide life-saving information to a nation sheltering in place," NewsGuild President Jon Schleuss said. "News is an essential service and our country can't afford to lose it during this pandemic."

See the NewsGuild's demands here


Maximus Call Center Workers Demand Meeting to Address COVID-19 Safety Concerns

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Workers who are organizing to join CWA are calling on Maximus CEO Bruce Caswell and senior leadership to immediately meet (via video) with their organizing committee to address the safety precautions the company must take to protect its workers, their families, and our communities from the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than 10,000 Maximus workers at 11 call centers work in close quarters helping Americans get healthcare support. 

"With these critical health and safety concerns, it's more important than ever that workers have a voice at Maximus – and that the company have an open dialogue with those demanding that voice," said CWA President Chris Shelton. "Refusing to engage in dialogue with workers is always bad policy, but especially bad policy during a pandemic. The lack of communication puts people at unnecessary risk. Maximus needs to meet with the workers' organizing committee and discuss policies that will keep workers, their families, and their communities safe."

Click here to send a message to Maximus CEO Bruce Caswell asking him to meet via video with our organizing committee to address the safety precautions the company must take to protect its workers, their families, and our communities from the COVID-19 pandemic.


President Trump Should Keep His Promise to Keep Airline Workers Employed

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The grants for the airline industry in the coronavirus relief act that Congress passed last week are supposed to fund paychecks and benefits for two million hourly workers, including CWA members who are airport agents, reservation agents, and Flight Attendants.

Instead, President Trump's Treasury Secretary, Steve Mnuchin, is threatening to attach stock warrants to the grants, which add debt to the airlines' balance sheets, increase the risk of bankruptcy, and make it more difficult for them to accept the grants.

Congress did not intend for the grants to work this way. Tell President Trump to make sure the grants are used to save jobs, paychecks, and healthcare by signing the petition at https://cwa-union.org/keep-airline-workers-employed.


CWA Healthcare Workers on the Front Lines of the COVID-19 Crisis

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CWA's 24,000 healthcare workers are on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis. Hospitalizations are soaring, and facilities are suffering from extreme shortages of protective equipment, ventilators, tests, and healthcare staff. They face the highest probability of repeat exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19 and their lives are at risk.

On Saturday, CWA Local 1104's Lavita Thompson Payton and CWA Local 1168's Sarah Buckley gave intense, moving interviews on CNN and MSNBC about the desperate shortage of protective equipment for healthcare workers, and the need for the President Trump to use the full force of the National Defense Production Act to get equipment produced now.


Watch the video by clicking the above image.

CWA healthcare workers are also speaking out on videos that explain the urgent need for more equipment. Watch the entire series of videos and share at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLrVc3mWU1IO8uB7uDFCBH3arsY0v7_atF.

Take action. Sign the petition to tell President Trump that he must use the full force of the Defense Production Act now!


In Memoriam – April 2, 2020

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CWA has established a memorial page for members who have lost their lives to COVID-19.

This week we honor the memory of Alan Finder, a member of TNG-CWA Local 31003 who worked at The New York Times; Rolondo "Sonny" Aravena, a member of CWA Local 1101 who worked at Verizon; Karisma Dargan, a member of CWA Local 1182 who worked for the New York City Police Department Traffic Enforcement District; José Vázquez, a member of CWA Local 4299 who worked at Envoy Air; and Priscilla Carrow, a member of CWA Local 1180 who worked at Elmhurst Hospital.​