Updates from the AFT on Workplace Safety and Financial Security During COVID-19

May 21, 2020

(via the American Federation of Teachers)

 

AFT Buys PPE for Public Safety and Healthcare Members

After more than 5 weeks of waiting, fingers crossed that it would arrive safely and without incident at customs, AFT has begun distributing close to $3 million in PPE to frontline healthcare and public safety members around the country. Darlene Williams, a leader with the New York State Public Employees Federation in New York City and herself a state occupational therapist, will help deliver the much needed PPE to PEF members on the frontlines. Watch as she first sees the delivery in this moving video.

 

IRS Issues Guidance on Flexible Spending Accounts

Because of the coronavirus crisis, the IRS has issued new guidelines allowing for mid-year changes to health plans and flexible spending accounts.  Workers can opt to put less money in a flexible spending account and up to $550 in flexible spending money can be carried over for 2 1/2 months in to 2021. Click here to read the new IRS guidance.  

 

Preparing for a Second Wave

Registered nurse and State employee Trung Le, a member of University Health Professionals (AFT Local 3837, CT)  was the first frontline worker at his facility to contract COVID-19. In his AFT Voices piece, he says there are a lot of lessons to learn from his experience because a second wave of COVID-19 is coming. Now is the time to learn from our mistakes so that history does not repeat itself. Help us spread the word by sharing this story on social media today.

 

Comprehensive Checklist for Return from Remote Work

As public work forces begin to contemplate a return from remote work, union activists will need to be prepared to assess the public workplaces to identify control measures to prevent exposure to COVID-19.  Key exposure risk factors include working within 6 feet of people who are known to be or are potentially infected with the virus, and, working with equipment and/or surfaces that are potentially contaminated with the virus. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences has put together a checklist to help unions, workers and employers in non-healthcare facilities as we work together to assess workplace exposure. You can review the comprehensive checklist here.

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