SEIU Local 99 Stewards and Staff have continued to meet with LACCD Chancellor Rodriguez and his team to address our safety issues. We’re making progress in large part because many workers took the bold action last week of refusing to go to work due to safety concerns. We need to keep pushing forward. Here’s an update on our talks with LACCD so far:
N95 and Face Shields to Service Restrooms
LACCD informed us that they have a supply of N95 masks and are ordering 3,000 CDC-approved KN95 masks for restroom cleaning and similar types of exposure. LACCD has enough of these masks available to require their use and provide them to workers who need them. LACCD is also ordering face shields this week. Face shields will be reusable and LACCD will train workers how to clean and disinfect them. Until the face shields arrive, goggles and a N95 mask will be required when cleaning restrooms. LACCD will also provide respirators for workers who are assigned to perform jobs that require it. And even with the appropriate PPE, it’s important that everyone maintain social distancing.
LACCD is finalizing a plan to track the distribution and inventory of PPE. Our SEIU Local 99 team will review the plan and provide the district with feedback.
LACCD is creating a plan to assign all SEIU Local 99 essential employees to do online Professional Development from home. All workers who need a computer will be able to obtain a Chromebook from LACCD. Workers will get tech support from LACCD IT, along with on-site orientation and training for those who need it. The first phase of this training is expected to begin on Monday, April 27. We are currently reviewing the district’s plan.
COVID-19 Testing and Screening
The district agreed that anyone who feels like they need to be tested can and should make an appointment and get tested. Workers will be allowed to go and get tested for COVID-19 during working hours, but should notify their supervisor and provide verification of the visit. Schedule a test here. The district’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is also looking into the screening of essential employees for COVID-19. Our team will be reviewing the EOC’s recommendation.
Our SEIU Local 99 team is reviewing LACCD’s social distancing protocol and we will provide feedback.
Governor’s Order and the Use of Sick Leave & Vacation
This is one area where we need to continue to push the district to do better for workers. Governor Newsom issued an order on April 1 clearly stating that “no employee should
have accrued leave deducted” for COVID-19 related illnesses, or if they fall in the high-risk group or need to care for anyone in their homes that has the virus. However, LACCD says that the Governor’s Order is a guideline and not mandatory. Furthermore, they say that state funding for COVID-19 related employee absences is not guaranteed.
We believe LACCD is misinterpreting the Governor’s order and that funding is available. Furthermore, we let the district know that requiring members to use their sick time is creating a bigger health risk because workers are thinking twice about staying at home if they are mildly sick because they want to save their time in case they need it in the future.
Our team urged the district to provide additional pay to essential workers required to report to work. LACCD said they “will work diligently to provide a response.” Our SEIU Local 99 team will review their response and provide feedback.
We let the district know that it’s urgent to resolve these issues. We are scheduling follow-up meetings this week. Make no mistake – we are at the table with the district because members took action. We need to be ready to escalate if necessary. Let’s continue to stand strong.