Re: Local 572 Update
As you know too well, COVID-19 continues to challenge our communities every day. The effects of the virus have impacted every last corner of our lives. Here at Local 572 we continue to balance the protection of our members’ jobs, while making sure it’s even safe to report to the workplace.
Our Local is not immune to the challenges of maintaining a safe workplace. Our front office remains open to member walk-ins but with LA County-mandated restrictions in place. Everyone who enters our building must wear a face mask or covering, adhere to social distancing guidelines and be free of COVID-19 symptoms (fever, chills, coughing, headache, body aches, etc.). The number of positive COVID-19 cases is extremely high in LA County so please be vigilant about adhering to safety guidelines that are designed to keep you and your families safe.
As in all my other updates, I have included a list of our business agents’ cell phone numbers at the bottom of this message. The business agents continue to work day in and out to address COVID-19-related issues on top of the typical workplace issues we see on a regular basis. The ever-changing government mandates have made things especially difficult, but we’re up to the challenge so contact your business agent if you need assistance or have any questions. Make sure to visit our website for regular updates. We can be found at: https://www.teamsters572.org.
On July 13, Superintendent Beutner announced that LAUSD will start the fall semester with only remote learning. While we are eager for school operations and transportation to go back to what we know as normal, we support this decision because it is the safest option for all involved: the students, the teachers, our LAUSD members and our school bus members. We firmly believe that if everyone works together, school operations can resume in the next few months even if just under a hybrid model—but it will take everyone to make this happen. Other countries have accomplished this, why not us?
We have been informed that LAUSD does not plan on having any RIFs because of its decision to implement distance learning when school resumes. Accordingly, be prepared to start working on your scheduled “return” date. We are pleased to report that we were successful in getting the $5/hr stipend extended. Our LAUSD members should expect to see regular emailed updates as things develop.
As for our many school bus members who transport students at other school districts and education agencies, we are still waiting for firm information about what the new school year will look like. Much is being contemplated by Southern California school districts and local education agencies after this week’s state and county renewed closures and the July 13 issuance of the Re-Opening Protocols for K-12 Schools by the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health. This week and next, many school districts are meeting with their employees and community partners to decide on how to proceed in the fall. The anxiety is high for all involved, but we are hopeful that student, staff, and our members’ safety will be the top priority for the decision-makers. Just yesterday, July 14, Superintendent Baker of Long Beach Unified School District announced that they will open the school year solely with online instruction at least through October 5. Additionally, late yesterday both the Palmdale School District and the Glendale Unified School District decided that they too will start the fall semester with only distance learning. San Bernardino City Unified School District had previously announced that it will start the fall semester with only distance learning but that it will continue to work on resuming in-classroom instruction, hopefully in late September/early October. Tomorrow, July 16, Pasadena Unified School District’s superintendent will recommend to its Board that school resume on August 17 with only distance learning. Given the trend, we expect this recommendation to be adopted. Our business agents are in constant contact with district representatives and school bus employers so stay tuned for updates.
Some of the Meals on Wheels programs will resume, including the bi-weekly breakfast/lunch routes at Durham/San Bernardino which are scheduled to restart on August 3rd. Stay tuned for more information or contact Business Agent Michael Williams for bid information.
Our Costco locations continue to report numerous COVID-19 positive tests. We have had more members test positive in the last three weeks than in the first three months of this pandemic. Business Agent Doug Brown is monitoring operations daily and working closely with the Teamsters Costco Committee to address member safety and compensation.
We remain hopeful that many of our members who were recalled from layoff in the last few weeks will continue to work despite the renewed closures. For those members who continue to work, please do everything you can to follow your employer’s safety guidelines and report to your business agent anything that you believe is a safety hazard. Keep in mind that employers are legally required to report three or more confirmed cases of COVID-19 at a workplace to the LA County Department of Public Health (DPH). If you’re not sure whether this has been done, contact your business agent immediately. Note also that the DPH operates a hotline for people to report unsafe work conditions (888) 700-9995. Reports may be anonymous and there are no questions about personal information, including immigration status.
Preparations are being made to start negotiations with the food employers in the next couple of months, with proposals currently being developed by the Locals. Our Ralphs business agents, Steve Badger and Tait Skifstrom, continue to explore ways in which to hold safe and legally compliant proposal meetings.
As for our MV Downtown and Mid-City DASH members, stay alert for contract updates from Business Agent Traci Smith.
Our national Teamsters Committee continues to negotiate with Gate Gourmet and ACTS regarding the use of the millions of dollars in federal stimulus grants and loans they received. Our goal is to get everyone back on the payroll as soon as possible.
At UPS things remain at a hectic pace given the increase of online sales during this pandemic and the many recent hires in the last couple of months. As with all other work locations, we have had members test positive, but fortunately, we have not had high numbers at our locations due in large part to our members taking necessary safety precautions.
The Teamsters continue to oppose the Grow Act which is embedded in the pending Heroes Act. As I previously reported, the Grow Act will weaken our hard-earned pensions. We continue to reach out to our representatives in Washington to educate them about the negative implications of the Grow Act and demand that they stand with workers in protecting our pensions.
LA County officials have placed new restrictions on who should get tested for COVID-19 as the demand for testing increases. To learn more about the testing requirements and sites and to schedule an appointment, go to https://covid19.lacounty.gov/testing. County officials are working on setting up new testing sites over the next few weeks so check this site often for updated information. If you test positive, you should expect a call from a county public health specialist as part of an effort to contact trace and contain the spread of the virus. They are not law enforcement officers and will not ask about immigration status.
The City of Los Angeles Emergency Renters Assistance Program is providing $100 million in rent support to qualifying residents during the pandemic. To learn about eligibility criteria, go to https://hcidla.lacity.org/.
The LA County “Great Plates Delivered” program has once again been extended. It is now operational through August 9. The program offers three free home-delivered meals a day from local restaurants to qualifying older adults and adults over 60 who are at high-risk of COVID-19 as determined by the CDC. It aims to assist those in need of home-delivered meals and to help get our local restaurant, hospitality, and transportation industries back to work. For more information and to see if you qualify, email email@example.com or call 211 for multi-lingual services. Some cities have chosen to run their own programs: in Long Beach, email firstname.lastname@example.org; in Bell Gardens, email email@example.com: in Pasadena, email firstname.lastname@example.org; and in Rosemead, email email@example.com.
Make sure you are registered to vote. Our lives depend on it. Every registered voter in California will receive a mail-in ballot in time for the November 2020 election. Visit https://lavote.net for more information. To check your voter registration status, go to: https://lavote.net/vrstatus/. Please do it today—it only takes a couple of minutes.
Reminder: Our July 26 General Membership meeting will be held via Zoom because of ongoing social distancing mandates. Pre-registration by July 22 is required. The shop steward training for July is cancelled. If you have provided our Local Union with your email address, you should have received an email inviting you to the General Membership meeting. If you did not receive one, go to our website and scroll down to “Featured Articles” for more information on how to register. You may also reach out to Business Agent Adriana Salazar Avila with questions (firstname.lastname@example.org) about the process.
I recently heard someone say that we may be done with the virus, but that the virus isn’t done with us. Here at Local 572 we know from first-hand experience that it’s a true statement, so until next time, we ask that you take care of yourselves and your loved ones. I send my sincerest condolences to all who have lost loved ones to COVID-19.
TEAMSTERS LOCAL 572
Local 572 Business Agent Cell Phone Numbers:
Adriana Salazar Avila (310) 365-7872
Doug Brown (310) 415-0375
Grace Guitron (310) 345-9326
Jaime Villanueva (310) 650-0032
John Flammia (310) 702-3479
Michael Williams (310) 991-2963
Mike Ford (310) 499-3556
Steve Badger (310) 345-9734
Tait Skifstrom (310) 345-9534
Traci Smith (310) 345-9732
Sources of Information/Assistance:
- City of Los Angeles Emergency Renters Assistance Program: https://hcidla.lacity.org/
- Free COVID-19 Testing for All LA County Residents: LA County COVID-19 Free Testing for All: https://covid19.lacounty.gov/testing/
- LA City Free Testing:lacity.org/testing
- Orange County COVID-19 Testing:https://occovid19.ochealthinfo.com/
- CA EDD Coronavirus Benefits Info (English): https://edd.ca.gov/about_edd/coronavirus-2019.htm
- CA EDD Coronavirus Benefits Info (Espaňol): https://www.edd.ca.gov/about_edd/coronavirus-2019-espanol.htm
- CA EDD FAQ Sheet (English): https://www.edd.ca.gov/about_edd/coronavirus-2019/faqs.htm
- CA EDD FAQ Sheet (Espaňol): https://www.edd.ca.gov/about_edd/coronavirus-2019/faqs-espanol.htm
- Los Angeles Regional Food Bank: https://www.lafoodbank.org/
- LA County 2-1-1 Social Services Referral & Assistance Program (food pantries, utilities, housing, mental health, etc.): https://www.211la.org/ (211LA.org) – You may also simply call 2-1-1 to speak to a live person for guidance.
- LAUSD “Grab and Go” Food Bank Sites and other resources: https://achieve.lausd.net/resources
- Southern California Edison (assistance with electricity bill): https://www.sce.com/residential/assistance/care-fera
- California Labor & Workforce Development Agency: https://www.labor.ca.gov/coronavirus2019/