Date: March 19, 2020
Sisters and Brothers:
As the United States and nations throughout the globe are facing concerns related to the new coronavirus known as COVID-19, I feel it's important to speak directly to all OPEIU members and share the following information.
OPEIU is taking very seriously this pandemic and its impact on our members and the industries in which they work. We are working with our local leaders throughout the country to put in place protocols to ensure we best serve our members and your needs during this crisis. We are also following directives given to businesses and organizations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). OPEIU staff and leadership have taken several steps to limit potential exposure, including instituting a travel ban and restrictions according to potential geographic threat levels, restrictions on modes of transportation, and the instituting of a remote work policy when possible.
We also are currently seeking resources to help our members deal with pressing financial concerns such as credit counseling, and mortgage and rent relief and will provide those resources on our website in the very near future.
We also will be pressing both federal and state governments to adopt measures that protect the health and safety, as well as the financial security of working people, including paid sick leave. And, as a union representing more than 14,000 nurses and healthcare professionals, we are working with the OPEIU Nurses Council (ONC) to push for measures that protect the health of those working on the front lines of our healthcare system.
For now, there are a number of steps that everyone can take to keep yourself safe and help stop the spread of the virus, including these basic hygiene practices recommended by the CDC:
- Regularly wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60 percent alcohol.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or cloth when you sneeze or cough, or use your elbow. Dispose of the tissue immediately.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.
Also, please follow all guidelines issued by your state and local governments, particularly in the nation's hot spots, such as New York, Washington state and California.
OPEIU has posted a number of resources on our website at OPEIU.org under the COVID-19 section. Included are current recommendations of the CDC and WHO. We will continue to update this information as it becomes available.
Thank you all for the caution you're showing to keep yourself, families and co-workers safe during this very difficult and uncertain time. Your union is standing beside you and your family, and is working to protect you and our nation's economy.