From Amazon to Walmart, many anti-union corporations are doing more than Teamster employers to protect workers from Coronavirus—including providing two weeks of paid sick leave. Here are four ways Teamster employers need to step up their game.
1) Sanitize Our Workplaces
Teamsters don’t have the option to work remotely. That means our employers need to do everything in their power to increase sanitary conditions on the job.
Employers need to staff up and disinfect our workplaces, especially heavily-used areas where the virus can most easily be spread.
2) Washing Hands—Back Up Talk With Action
It’s not enough for management to tell us to wash our hands. They need to back up their talk with action.
That means making hand sanitizer readily available to employees and waiving production standards that punish us for taking time to get to a bathroom and wash our hands.
3) Provide Paid Sick Leave
Walmart, Amazon, Starbucks, Target, and Lowes are just a few of the companies that are paying up to two weeks of sick time to anyone who has been diagnosed with Coronavirus or has been quarantined.
Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) is paying employees for up to two weeks if have they been exposed to the coronavirus or show symptoms.
By comparison, UPS is telling workers who have Coronavirus that they can take an unpaid leave of absence. It’s a sad day when Teamsters have fewer protections than fast food workers.
Our International Union cannot allow this to continue.
4) Ease Absenteeism Policies
The Center for Disease Control and World Health Organize say we should self-quarantine for fourteen days if we are exposed to the Coronavirus.
But many Teamsters work under absenteeism policies that punish workers for using much fewer sick days than that.
Teamsters at the largest grocery employer in the country (Ralphs/Kroger) start accumulating points toward discipline after they use five sick days—half the number needed to self-quarantine.
Our union needs to put pressure on employers to waive punitive absenteeism policies during this crisis. Workers should not be punished for protecting our co-workers and the public.