COVID-19 / CORONAVIRUS RESOURCES
Resources for UAW Members
Brothers and Sisters:
As the United States is faced with the Coronavirus known as COVID-19, I feel it is important to speak to this topic with all our UAW membership.
I want to be very clear that we do not take this matter lightly. In detailing some important actions that our UAW is taking relative to the virus; I want to assure our brothers and sisters that we continue discussions daily to ensure the necessary steps are being taken to maintain a state of preparedness.
In addition to focusing on preparedness, our leadership is asked to be diligent in maintaining a constant watch on the potential spread of COVID-19 to ensure any new challenges are recognized and reacted to accordingly.
The direction given to businesses and the American public are predominantly derived from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations and the World Health Organization (WHO).
As our UAW staff and leadership monitor and assess the situation there have already been several steps taken to limit exposure potentials.
- This includes travel bans and restrictions according to potential threat levels geographically.
- We are working with companies to ensure that vendors traveling internationally into the U.S. have restrictions depending on geographic point of origin and potential for exposures, including quarantine protocols.
- Working with FCA, GM and Ford to enhance COVID-19 / Coronoavirus protections for manufacturing and warehouse workers
- The internal UAW Health and Safety Department protocols have been updated and shared with Health and Safety Committees and companies.
In addition to these steps, there have been leadership communications sent to all leaders, including this correspondence, to share the most current information with our members.
Our UAW Health and Safety Department back in February began to track best practices and impacts on our worksites and that work continues. Our UAW Nationally appointed Health and Safety representatives locally to actively engage our membership and help answer questions to address concerns appropriately.
I also want to spend a moment to talk about basic and simple hygiene practices that, according to the CDC, we can all practice to help each other maintain a level of potential protection against the spread of any and all viruses, including COVID-19:
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap is not available with at least 60% alcohol.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or cloth when you sneeze or cough
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
We will continue to press for the utmost preparedness and response capabilities from senior leadership at all levels. I want to thank all of you for the caution and preparedness you display at home and in the workplace regarding this matter.
Through Solidarity we will protect our families and keep our economy flowing.
Rory L. Gamble
Big 3 FAQs
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How do I know when my start date is?
GM, FCA and Ford will re-start beginning the week of May 18, 2020. Your employer will notify you on your plant’s specific restart date.
If I am called back to work and I refuse to report because of a COVID-19 related circumstance, will I be eligible for unemployment?
Unemployment eligibility is governed by state and federal law, and in most states, if you refuse to report to work on the date that you have been told to report, you will not be eligible for unemployment.
If you are unable to report for work because of certain specific, limited COVID-19-related circumstances, including a diagnosis or symptoms of COVID-19 by you or a member of your household, caring for a family member with COVID-19, or being the primary caregiver for a child who is unable to attend school due to the COVID-19 emergency, then you *may* be eligible for some level of unemployment benefits under state law or the Federal CARES Act’s Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.
If I take time off for COVID-19 screening, will I be paid?
The UAW’s position is that our members should not face repercussions for testing issues. If you test positive, you may be eligible for sick leave benefits. You should talk to your local union leadership about other provisions of the CBA that may be applicable to your situation.
Who do I contact about COVID-19 safety issues in my plant?
Please contact your UAW local union representatives.
What equipment will be provided to keep workers safe?
In keeping with CDC and WHO recommendations, the Big 3 have committed to providing workers with protective gear including masks. You will receive more updates on return-to-work protocols from your employer and updates from your Local UAW leaders as restart is implemented. The UAW is committed to holding the employers to a high standard of health and safety protections, including on-site adjustments as they are discovered.
If the Governor still has a “Stay-at-Home” lockdown, why are we going back to work?
Each company can determine when to restart their business, subject to state executive orders. Some states with continuing stay-at-home orders have relaxed rules or created exceptions allowing auto manufacturing to resume. As businesses begin to reopen, the UAW is demanding that they make sure their facilities are safe for our members and that they have implemented the recommended CDC and WHO protocols related to COVID-19.
What do I do about childcare as schools and daycares are closed?
We understand that this is a serious problem for a lot of our members. Each of the Big 3 departments are working to help address this issue. If this issue affects you, contact your local union leadership.
If we go on strike, do we get unemployment (UI)?
During the term of a collective bargaining agreement most disputes must be resolved using the contractual grievance procedure or other contractual means. In the unusual event that a strike is approved during the term of a collective bargaining agreement, and UI is not available, UAW members will receive $275 in strike pay each week. Generally, UI is not available to striking workers. It is important to know that the unemployment system and rules for eligibility are not something that can be bargained, but are based on laws passed by the legislatures of each state.
Why aren’t we all getting tested for COVID-19?
The UAW has received commitments from the Big 3 for as much testing as is possible at this point in time. We have told the companies that we want a commitment for full testing as soon as it is available, and we will be monitoring this situation closely to make sure that the companies comply with this important aspect of health and safety measures.
I’m worried that I won’t be able to breathe working with a mask. What should I do?
We understand that working with a mask may not be comfortable or easy, but we must follow the CDC and WHO guidelines to keep our workers safe and prevent the spread of the virus. If you have a health condition that may be affected by working with a mask, you should consult your physician and notify your local union leadership as necessary.
Will employees be tested before returning to work?
Each company has its own schedule for returning to work and will be communicating information on testing directly to you.
Will the line be slowed down to accommodate social distancing?
The speed of the lines will be plant specific, but workstations have been reconfigured to comply with WHO and CDC guidelines and based on that, line speed may need to be adjusted.
How are the bathrooms and common areas going to be cleaned and disinfected and how often?
The UAW has had extensive talks with the Big 3 about processes and procedures for deep cleaning and adhering to CDC and WHO standards. In addition, we’re working with our brothers and sisters in cleaning services throughout the plant to make sure they have the proper tools, equipment and training. Cleaning has been enhanced in the plants and the cleaning schedules will be communicated to you by your plant manager.
Do you think we can have better masks then the paper masks they are sending us?
The UAW continues to push for the best protective gear available. The masks being distributed by the companies meet CDC and WHO guidelines. PPE continues to be a supply chain issue and the UAW will continue to push the companies to provide the best equipment available.
Why is SUB pay being reduced by the Federal $600?
Under the Big 3 contracts, SUB pay kicks in for full weeks of layoff to replace an average of 74% of your weekly pay when combined with the state unemployment benefit (UI). Under the CARES ACT, the federal government provides an additional $600 a week through July. In many cases, based on your weekly pay and the amount of money the state provides in unemployment, your UI payment and your UI CARES payment exceeds 74% of your weekly pay. Therefore, many may receive $0 in SUB pay.
What is the company doing for members who have compromised immune systems?
Members with compromised immune systems are being directed to their health care provider to determine if they can report to work. If deemed ineligible to work based on the health care provider’s recommendation, sick leave benefits may be available and/or state/federal unemployment benefits.You should talk to your local union leadership about provisions of the CBA that may be applicable to your situation.
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