Category: Benefits

COVID-19 Update #6

Brothers & Sisters,

Just as a follow-up to last week’s update, I have continued daily conference calls with the staff and local lodge leaders. I wanted to share more resources and legislative updates with you.

Below you will find information regarding your safety committee, example safety policies during COVID-19, Ohio’s extended stay-at-home order, the WV primary election, and general legislative updates.

Thank you to my staff, our local lodge officers and stewards, and membership for their support and solidarity during this time.

In Solidarity,

T. Dean Wright, Jr.
President & Directing Business Representative



WHAT YOU AND YOUR SAFETY COMMITTEE CAN DO:

During this time, I suggest your shop safety committee frequently meets, at a minimum of once a week. In addition to this, take detailed notes with the 5 W’s (who, what, when, where, why) and collect any documents passed out or posted by the company. This information will be essential to communicate with us and company representatives to bargain if needed over working conditions related to the COVID-19 pandemic and/or in the use of grievance cases.



SAFETY POLICIES DURING COVID-19:

Here are some example practices that our shops have implemented regarding COVID-19.

  • Checking every employee’s temperature at the beginning of each shift. A trained professional with PPE should perform this task. This time should be paid.
  • Staggering shifts by twenty minutes so there is no cross-over between shifts.
  • Go to the honor code or change to a different system than the time clock. This high congregation area prevents social distancing and sanitary surfaces.
  • Extra paid break time to wash-up and clean working area.
  • Company hired cleaning crews.
  • Designated person to clean door handles and other frequently touched objects.
  • Avoid using other people’s tools, computer, etc.
  • Limit the amount of people gathered on lunch/break with staggered breaks.
  • Equalize shifts.
  • No points on attendance.
  • Placement of hand sanitizers and disinfectant wipes around the facility.


OHIO STAY-AT-HOME ORDER EXTENDED UNTIL MAY 1:

The extended order and new restrictions take effect on Monday, April 6 until 11:59 p.m. on May 1, 2020. 

 (COLUMBUS, Ohio)—  Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced yesterday that Ohio’s Stay at Home order has been extended until 11:59 p.m. on May 1, 2020.

Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton, MD, MPH, signed the updated order this afternoon. It goes into effect at midnight on Monday.

“We understand that this is tough – it is very difficult. But, I would not be making these decisions if it wasn’t a mater of life and death,” said Governor DeWine. “We have to keep this monster down. It’s not dead – it’s very much alive.”

The full Stay at Home order can be found  on coronavirus.ohio.gov.

Updates to the new order include:

  • The creation of a dispute resolution process for situations where two local health departments have come to a different conclusion on what is or is not an essential business.
  • The requirement that essential businesses determine and enforce a maximum number of customers allowed in a store at one time.  These businesses must ensure that people waiting to enter the stores maintain safe social distancing.
  • Direction that travelers arriving to Ohio should self-quarantine for 14 days. Exceptions include persons who live and work in trans-border areas, heath care workers, public health workers, public safety workers, transportation workers and designated essential workers. Visitors are instructed not to travel to Ohio if they are displaying symptoms, excepting in certain circumstances for medical care.
  • The mandate that wedding receptions be limited to no more than 10 people.
  • A clarification to close campgrounds with the exception where a camper or recreational vehicle in a campground serves as a citizen’s permanent residence and they are unable to secure safe alternative housing.
  • The requirement that public swimming pools and swimming pools at private clubs or housing complexes close to prevent transmission of COVID-19.  This does not apply to private residential pools.
  • The clarification that retail garden centers can remain open but should determine and enforce a reduced capacity to keep customers and employees safe.
  • The closure of day camps for children.
  • The prohibition of organized youth and adult sports.
  • The clarification that fishing is permitted if proper social distancing is practiced.

https://governor.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/governor/media/news-and-media/ohio-stay-at-home-order-extended-through-may-1



WEST VIRGINIA PRIMARY ELECTION DATE MOVED TO JUNE 9:

Gov. Jim Justice has rescheduled West Virginia’s May 12 primary election to June 9.

He cites fears about the coronavirus spreading at polling places.

Justice said medical experts told him that having the primary on its originally scheduled date would be unsafe for voters and poll workers.

He says “There is no question moving this date is the right thing to do,” Secretary of State Mac Warner has mailed absentee ballot applications to registered voters, seeking to increase mail-in voting.

He said deadlines on those applications as well as the early voting period will be extended.

https://www.wtap.com/content/news/West-Virginia-primary-pushed-back-to-June-9-569288351.html



LEGISLATIVE UPDATE:

Breakdown of the CARES ACT from the AFL-CIO:

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PDF version here: https://iamdistrict54.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/CARES-Act-Highlights-Memo_3.27.202.pdf



Employee Rights under FFCRA: 

*This only applies to employers with less than 500 employees (nationwide).

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IAM SBA Loan Memo:

Part of the $2 trillion federal coronavirus relief package (“CARES Act”) is the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”). The PPP allows businesses with under 500 employees (all employees including affiliates, not just bargaining unit members) to obtain low interest loans (0.5%) to pay its employees when “current economic uncertainty makes the loan necessary to support ongoing operations.” Each employer can receive up to $10 million, or 2.5 times the businesses’ total payroll over the loan period. The loans are to be applied to payroll costs incurred from February 15 through June 30. The loans are to be repaid over a two-year period, starting in six months after the loan is taken out, but, critically, loans covering the first eight weeks of payroll costs are entirely forgiven as long as the business does not lay off its workers. Put another way, the federal government will pay a small employer’s payroll costs for eight weeks as long as it does not lay off its workers during the coronavirus crisis.

Read the entire memo here: https://iamdistrict54.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/SBA-Loan-Memo.pdf


COVID-19 Resource Links:

OH Gov. Health Department: https://odh.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/odh/home

OH Office of Unemployment Insurance Operations: https://unemployment.ohio.gov

WV Gov. Health Department: https://dhhr.wv.gov/COVID-19/Pages/default.aspx

IN Gov. Health Department: https://coronavirus.in.gov

MI Gov. Health Department: https://www.michigan.gov/coronavirus/

CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html


 

COVID-19 Update #5

Brothers & Sisters,

This week has been unprecedented for our District. All four states with members under our representation now have “stay-at-home” orders.

After conference calls with each affiliated Local Lodge, it holds that the vast majority of our members are classified “essential,” and continue to return to work.

Our staff has served all employers with information requests and notification of your right to bargain over the changes in working conditions due to COVID-19. Many employers were proactive in implementing safety policies regarding COVID-19. After our communications, we saw an immediate transition from employers who had nothing in place, to supplying hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes, etc., and introducing new policies.

For our members impacted by “non-essential” short closures, we are monitoring the situation and in contact with your employers.

Below you will find resources for the IAM Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and Union Plus, and information regarding Ohio and West Virginia Primary Election Voting Information and Legislative Updates.

Wishing you and your family safety and good health.

In Solidarity,

T. Dean Wright, Jr.
President & Directing Business Representative


 

There are resources available to you during this time:

EAP“The IAM recognizes this is a stressful time for many IAM members, staff and family members due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The IAM Employee Assistance and Addiction Services Program stands ready to assist members, staff and their families during this tough period.

As with any large scale event such as this we face many challenges. In conjunction with this occurrence we face the familiar list of continuing problems associated with, but not limited to; substance abuse and addictions, mental health, stress, anxiety, depression, financial hardship and socioeconomic issues. All of these are serious matters that can cause problems by worsening the situation and negatively impacting the quality of life for many of our members.”

IAM EAP Services can be accessed by emailing iameap@iamaw.org or by calling 301-335-0735.

IAM Addiction Services can be reached by calling 1-888-250-4IAM (4426).


 

union-plus-logo_0Union Plus offers Hardship Help benefits. That’s financial, homeowner and healthcare assistance for union members and families.

Check it out here: https://www.unionplus.org/hardship-help/union-plus-hardship-help-benefits

 


 

OHIO PRIMARY ELECTION & HOW TO VOTE:

38b15a88-e87b-48ce-9c8c-7c08bcc1a77b-large16x9_BenivotedstickerThe Ohio General Assembly has put in place a plan that will allow Ohioans to continue voting until April 28.

Voting will be conducted by absentee mail-in ballots.

To request your ballot:
1) Call your county board of elections
OR
2) Fill out your form online at https://www.ohiosos.gov/elections/voters/absentee-ballot/

After you fill out the request online, you have to put the completed form in an envelope with correct postage and mail it to your county board of elections.

Request a Vote-By-Mail Absentee Ballot here: https://www.ohiosos.gov/elections/voters/absentee-ballot/

County Board of Elections Information: https://www.ohiosos.gov/elections/elections-officials/county-boards-of-elections-directory/

Ballots must be received by 7:30 p.m. on April 28, or postmarked on or before April 27 and received by May 8 to count.

Voters with disabilities and those who are unable to receive mail may cast ballots in person at their county voting center on April 28.

Don’t lose your voice! Vote!


 

WEST VIRGINIA PRIMARY ELECTION DATES:

90April 21, 2020 – Deadline to register to vote

April 29 – May 9, 2020 – Early Voting at the county courthouse, annex or designated community voting location during normal business hours and Saturdays 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

May 6, 2020 – Deadline to request an absentee ballot for all voters.

May 5, 2020 – May 11, 2020 – Official List of Candidates or Sample Ballot published in local newspapers throughout the state (publication dates will vary by county).

May 11, 2020 – Deadline to hand-deliver Absentee Ballot to County Clerk’s office.

May 12, 2020 – Primary Election Day

May 13, 2020 – Absentee Ballots without postmark accepted.

May 18, 2020 – (Canvass) – Absentee Ballot postmarked by Election Day accepted if received by start of Canvass.

WV Voter information can be found here: https://sos.wv.gov/elections/Pages/GoVoteWV.aspx


 

Legislative Update: 

EMERGENCY PAID SICK LEAVE ACT:

Effective April 1, 2020, the Federal Government authorized paid sick leave in certain circumstances. The Department of Labor will be issuing regulations which will give further clarity to what the law requires and Congress is considering additional relief packages which may supplement this new law.

Find attached a link to the International’s summary of what the law requires as of March 20, 2020: https://www.goiam.org/news/emergency-paid-sick-leave-act/

 

Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act:

Effective April 1, 2020, the Federal Government amended the FMLA to provide for increased coverage for certain employees. The government also separately authorized paid sick leave; however, when it comes to FMLA, the pay component is actually limited to childcare responsibilities caused by Covid-19. Further, it is anticipated that the Department of Labor will be issuing regulations which will give further clarity to what the law requires and Congress is considering additional relief packages which may supplement this new law.

Find attached a link to the International’s summary of what the law requires as of March 20, 2020: https://www.goiam.org/news/emergency-family-and-medical-leave-expansion-act/

Employee Rights_DOL_HR6201


COVID-19 Update #4

Brothers and Sisters,

As you know, this week I have been calling each Local Lodge to discuss the current state of our membership, District, and Union.

Approximately two years ago, our District started preparing for a day when in-person communication was not advisable or obtainable. Today, we have the tools accessible to be able to mass communicate with our members through email and text, the ability to video and phone conference, and work away from the office. As such, the staff and I have been in constant communication and are battling to ensure increased safety standards for our members currently working, and increase paid leave and health benefits for those falling under “non-essential” workplace closures.

Our membership knows they are protected by their collective bargaining agreement and have the right to negotiate any changes in their working conditions due to COVID-19. Your union shop safety committees are frequently working to engage with the company and protect your working conditions. These committees are no longer meeting monthly, but weekly and daily.

We were fortunate that many of the employers were proactive and thoughtful in ensuring a safe workplace. We encourage any policies implemented that ensure the safety of our members, including but not limited to, staggering the entry and exit of employees between shifts, the use of cleaning crews, placement of hand sanitizers around the shop, extra paid break time to wash-up, equalizing shifts, and the use of paid sick or personal leave. This, of course, is paired with social distancing and thermometer checking at the beginning of each shift.

Due to our good working relationship with your employers, we have maintained respectful communication with regard to what is best for our members while they work at this critical time. Although more than 90% of our members are classified as “essential,” a majority of those who are not will still receive as much as two weeks of pay due to the respect of our union workforce.

I want to thank my staff and all our affiliated local lodge leaders, stewards, and members during this most difficult time. Now, more than ever, things seem to be changing by a minute-to-minute basis, but we as leaders of your union are patient and prepared to represent you in the best manner.

Stay safe and healthy.

In Solidarity,

Dean

T. Dean Wright, Jr.
President & DBR