March 24, 2020
Statement from Local Union 509
As we follow the television news, newspapers and social media we are reminded how quickly our lives can change. Just weeks ago, things were wonderful. Life seemed at its fullest. The economy was booming. Unemployment at record lows. Employers growing at the fastest rate in decades. Now just weeks later the United States of America as well as the rest of the world is in a crisis that will change us for years to come. We are at critical state right now and our actions will determine whether we beat this terrible illness or live in fear of the disease for decades to come.
As we all go through this crisis, we are all in it together. It is very important that we diligently attempt to follow the guidelines from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention as well as the leaders of our country. We must not have the attitude that we are so healthy that we could fight off this disease. This disease is attacking people of all ages. Yes, you may be healthy enough to survive the disease, but how about your spouse, children, parents and grandparents? They may not have the same health status as you.
While the country stops, many Teamsters continue to work every day. The Teamsters are working making ingredients for medicine. Products for safety and communication. Delivering products to businesses who are open to help sanitize their facilities. The Teamsters package carriers and freight carriers are working unprecedented hours to deliver food, medicines and yes even toilet paper to the communities they serve. Please encourage these Teamsters as they work on the front lines. Each day of this crisis these dedicated men and women leave their safe haven and put themselves on the front line risking the possibility of contracting the virus. Moreover, these dedicated men and women’s greatest concern is not for themselves, but for their loved ones at home. But yet each day they plug forward working long hours in a clearly hazardous environment. These Teamsters are true Patriots and Hero’s. They are not lawyers, they are not politicians, they are not surgeons, they are not the top leaders of our country. They are Teamsters who once again are unselfishly keeping the country running by working to manufacturer and deliver important goods to all communities that would otherwise fall by the waste side. THANK YOU, TEAMSTERS, FOR YOUR DEDECATION.
What is Local Union 509 Doing?
The Local Union monitors this situation daily. We have adopted a no touch policy where no handshaking or touching at all will take place at the Local Union. We have adopted a policy where we attempt to keep distance from each other. We have asked that whenever possible that the Business Agents take their files, grievances and cases home and work from home. Of course, the Business Agents will continue to be assessable by telephone just as they have always been.
We are actively involved in pressuring companies to adopt additional benefits for our members during this Coronavirus pandemic. Recently because of the pressure from the Union, we had companies add additional benefits that would allow members affected by this disease to receive up to eighty (80) additional hours of paid sick leave. We have had other companies not offer the eight (80) hours paid sick leave but made it much easier to apply at once for disability. Many of these companies have also relaxed their attendance policies when absences are related to the Coronavirus Pandemic.
The Local Union and the International Union is currently pressuring the companies who still have employees working to do more to sanitize their work areas and to put sanitizers on the vehicles of delivery drivers of packages and / or freight. While it is an enormous cost to the companies. Safety and health cannot be compromised to save money. We will continue to push the companies to do more.
While some companies have done more and others less, much of the problem is supply and demand. The products needed are definitely in short supply. In frustration with the companies for not doing enough, Local Union 509 has been on the hunt for sanitizers that we will purchase and get to the worksites of our members. We will keep looking, but unfortunately, we are finding that these supplies are in fact in short supply.
Local Union 509 will continue to be actively involved in demanding that the Companies do more to protect the members and we will continue on our hunt for supplies.
Once again, the Teamsters have unselfishly kept the country moving. Local Union 509 and the entire country salutes each and every Teamster.
You may stay in informed by visiting our website at www.teamsterslocal509.org or the International Brotherhood of Teamsters website at www.teamster.org
May God Bless and Protect You and Your Family,