A message to our UC Teamsters from Secretary-Treasurer Jason Rabinowitz

Greetings Teamsters,

In the face of our national crisis, the 1.4 Million Teamsters across the country have been working tirelessly, performing essential services keeping America safe, the stores filled with food, and public services running.  Our 14,000 Local 2010 Teamsters throughout the UC and CSU systems – 911 dispatchers, payroll and financial workers, hospital workers, skilled trades, administrative support and more — are providing critical services to the community through this crisis.

Meanwhile, our Union is working day and night to make sure that our workplaces are safe, and that our jobs and income are protected.  Already, we’ve won three weeks of paid leave for those who can’t work due to illness or childcare obligations, and we are continuing to fight for the extension of this program so no one will lose pay or benefits due to COVID-19. We’ve won the right for more than 1,000 call center and other employees to work safely from home. We’ve won PPE and other safety measures, and more.

We are in daily contact with top leadership at UC and CSU, to enforce our members’ rights and safety. And we are making this message heard loud and clear: UC and CSU must prevent layoffs or any loss of pay for our members who are unable to work due to COVID-19, for the duration of this crisis.

We have received many inspiring messages of thanks from members, and Diana Lopez. a member at UCLA, said it more eloquently than I can: “Thank you so much for such quick action on taking care of our members at this time of uncertainty. This is making Teamster history, something that won’t be forgotten! TEAMSTERS don’t fear COVID-19. We’ll beat this!”

Since we had to cancel our membership meeting this month due to the stay-at-home orders, below is a detailed update on the activities of our Union and the victories we have won on behalf of members during the COVID crisis. We will continue to fight for workers’ rights and safety for the duration of this crisis. If you are aware of an issue or concern for the safety or rights of our Teamster workers, please contact your Union Representative.

Following are some of the things our Stewards and Union Reps have fought for and obtained:

 UCLA Health Patient Communications Center (PCC)

Approximately 850 Teamsters members at the UCLA Health LAX Century, Inglewood and Agoura Hills locations were approved for telecommuting after near-constant requests by our Union.

PCC workers answer calls made by patients and others to more than 100 outpatient UCLA Health clinics throughout Los Angeles County. The PCCs have roughly 300-400 employees spread out in three buildings. They are in close quarters within two to three feet of each other in pods of four to six people, facing each other. Workers were extremely concerned about their health due to proximity of other workers, the necessity of some to move to different desks every day, and lack of supplies to sanitize working areas.

UCLA management started issuing laptops March 23 to any workers who do not have their own so they could start working from home. The PCC utilizes a software system that can monitor every laptop screen live, track every click and record every call.

UCLA Health

  • An Administrative Assistant was approved for Paid Administrative Leave to take care of her 85-year-old mother.
  • A hospitality worker was approved for Paid Administrative leave to take care of her 70-year-old mother, after being denied twice by management.
  • An employee asked for Paid Administrative Leave due to their own high-risk status. Management challenged the leave due to the age requirement. We worked with the member’s doctor to get the basic non-confidential medical documents to management.
  • A worker requested paid administrative time off to care for their mother who has an auto-immune disease, an elderly father who has had heart transplant, and three children for whom they could not obtain daytime care. After two denials by management, our Union was able to secure paid administrative time off for the worker.

UC Davis & UC ANR

  • Repeatedly obtained telework for members denied by their management. The most common reason members were given is that the Union would not allow it, which of course is untrue.
  • Repeatedly helped members request telework or emergency administrative leave due to being in an at-risk group or due to childcare issues.
  • Obtained rotating or alternate work schedules to minimize number of days spent on campus where telecommuting not feasible.
  • Ensured emergency administrative leave applied to temporary employees.
  • Repeatedly ensured that emergency administrative leave and personal leave balances were used intermittently and at the employee’s choosing in accordance with the UCOP Executive Order.
  • Contacted various departments directly to push them to adopt methods and operations that placed employee health and safety first.

UCLA Skilled Trades

  • A limited-term Skilled Trades worker in Housing was sent home and told to use personal leave. Our Union pointed out that the UCOP Executive Order applies to all employees – ATO for limited-term employees at other UC campuses is being determined based on the percentage of time they are working.
  • Skilled Trades workers had a safety meeting on March 5 during which Teamsters staff learned that Ronald Reagan Hospital workers had never been fit-tested for their N95 masks. Cal/OSHA requires annual fit-testing because the masks are useless if they do not fit properly. Workers were never told that facial hair also makes them useless. Teamsters pushed for all hospital Skilled Trades workers to be fit-tested, which began on March 19 and will continue until all trades workers are fit-tested.

UCOP/UC Path

The Office of the President sent all their Oakland workers home to telecommute but were requiring the 130 UC Path Teamsters (there are more people working at the Center) to come into the office. Teamsters 2010 told them the Executive Order applied to UC Path, questioning the disparate treatment between centers and asking for the business reasons that justified the difference. As the single payroll processing location for almost every UC location, the urgent need for appropriate preventive measures at this location was presented. Management relented, providing laptops for the staff, approving telecommuting agreements and committing to full adherence to social distancing and disinfecting precautions if any staff are required to return to the building for troubleshooting.

In Unity,

Jason Rabinowitz, Secretary-Treasurer

P.S. Click here to access the Teamsters’ comprehensive online UC COVID-19 information.

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