COVID-19 Update for April 5, 2020

Good Morning Members,

We have heard from a number of members that they are not receiving the email correspondence that is being sent out from your Union, if that is the case we would ask that you please go to the “Contact Us” tab on the home page of the 411 Website and then scroll down to “Update Your Contact Information”.  We may have outdated information, or it may have been entered incorrectly so this will give us an opportunity to update our records accordingly and ensure you are getting the latest information pertaining to the current COVID-19 situation.

Your Union continues to receive excellent health and safety resource materials from our governing body CUPE National, please take a moment to review the following:

Our affiliate CUPE BC is also sharing information on their website with regards to COVID-19 that may be of interest to our members?

WorkSafe BC is also another excellent on-line resource as it speaks to the expectations of Employers, as well as to the rights of Workers, not just in the midst of this COVID-19 pandemic, but always.

There has been much talk about Personal Protective Equipment, and it is important to know that this is truly a last resort when it comes to protecting workers against exposures in the workplace that could lead to injury or ultimately death.  Wearing such equipment can sometimes give a worker a false sense of security, which is why it is critically important that Employers do all that they can to remove the risk, or put into place Engineering or Administrative controls that will either isolate the hazard or change the way in which people perform their expected duties and responsibilities if the hazard cannot be removed.  We can appreciate that it would be impossible to say for 100% certainty that a worksite is safe, but that does not mean the Employer only has to do the least possible to protect their workers, they must do everything that would be considered reasonable given the circumstances.

With that being said every worker in this province has the right to wear gloves, face/eye protection, as well as clothing if they feel as though it is necessary to protect themselves or others in the face of an infectious disease.  So long as by wearing such equipment does not pose a risk to the workers safety.  We have members that have Eczema and excessive hand washing can make this condition worse, therefore wearing gloves would be an acceptable option.  We also have members who suffer with seasonal allergies, and therefore wearing a respirator or face shield would help to mitigate the spray of droplets that would be expelled during a sneeze or cough.  Although the Employer does bear the responsibility in showing members how to put on/take off this equipment safely this can easily be done through virtual or in-person instruction; not being able to demonstrate “how to” should never be used as an excuse for workers not to be permitted to wear such equipment.

WorkSafe BC has some excellent information for workers when it comes to Controlling Exposures in the workplace and Personal Protective Equipment.

Members are asked to please watch for an important email that will be going out tonight, as we again are trying not to overwhelm you with emails as we want to make sure that when we do send them you read them as they are important.

In Solidarity,

CUPE 411 Executive