IMPORTANT: One of the most important ways we can prevent the spread of this illness is to stay home from work if you are feeling ill. If you have any questions about your right to stay home from work, contact your District Union Rep or call our Main Office in Roseville toll free 888-834-4488.
Q: HOW SERIOUS IS THE ILLNESS CAUSED BY THIS NEW VIRUS?
A: According to the California Department of Public Health, the majority of the reported illnesses are mild, with fever and cough, but a smaller percentage of cases are severe and involve pneumonia, particularly in elderly people and people with underlying medical conditions. Over 18,000 people in California and 249,000 people in the United States (as of November 18, 2020) have died of this illness. It’s important to continue trying and stop it from spreading as best we can.
Q: WHO IS IN A “HIGH RISK” CATEGORY FOR SERIOUS ILLNESS FROM THIS VIRUS?
A: The national Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says the highest risk categories are older adults and people who have serious chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease. The list of health conditions that may put you at higher risk has changed as new research is done, so it’s a good idea to check the CDC’s website for up-to-date info if you have questions.
Q: I FEEL SICK, WHAT SHOULD I DO?
A: If you have symptoms like a cough, fever, shortness of breath, or other respiratory problems, you should get tested and call your health care provider or the California statewide COVID hotline at 1-833-422-4255 (this hotline is open 8am to 8pm Mon-Fri, 8am to 5 pm Saturday and Sunday). Click here for a list of Northern California County Office numbers. You should also stay home from work and away from public places.
Q: I FEEL SICK, BUT I DON’T WANT TO STAY HOME FROM WORK.
A: One of the absolute most effective ways to prevent the spread of this illness is to wear a mask and stay home if you are sick. We have fought hard for the right to paid sick leave and other leave language in our contracts, and we have the right to use it. Under California State paid sick leave, your employer cannot ask you for a doctor’s note until the 3rd day of your illness, and they cannot retaliate against you for taking your paid sick time. Many contracts have additional sick leave, PTO, or other leave benefits you may be able to utilize. Use your contract and ask a Shop Steward or District Union Representative if you need help.
Q: I FEEL SICK, BUT I’M OUT OF PAID SICK TIME.
A: You should let your manager know as soon as possible that you feel unwell and need to go home or stay home. Our employers should be following the CDC’s best practices for employers right now, which includes encouraging people to stay home when they are sick, and we are talking to employers at the highest level to ensure members can stay safe. Many workplaces have negotiated COVID agreements that include If you have any issues, call your Union Rep or the Rep of the Day as soon as you can so they can help.
Q: WHAT SHOULD I DO DURING SCHOOL CLOSURES IF I DON’T HAVE CHILDCARE?
A: You may be eligible to use Paid Sick Leave when your child’s school is closed and you don’t have childcare. You can file for Unemployment Insurance (UI). The federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) provides up to 80 hours of paid sick leave at two-thirds of your regular rate if your employer has less than 500 workers. You may also be eligible for up to 10 additional weeks of paid expanded family and medical leave at two-thirds of your regular rate. Use the FFCRA tool to find out if you may be eligible. Other options may be available. See the chart of benefits for workers impacted by COVID-19.
We are working with employers regarding the importance of following public health guidelines during an outbreak, which includes being flexible about giving workers who need to stay home access to paid leave. We are also working as quickly as we can with employers, our friends in the labor movement, community allies, public agencies, and our state government to find more childcare solutions. Contact your District Union Rep if you need help advocating for you or your family.
Q: WILL I HAVE ACCESS TO PAY OR BENEFITS IF I AM QUARANTINED DUE TO COVID-19?
A: We are currently working with the state and our employers to ensure everyone has access to paid leave and benefits if they are quarantined. If you or a coworker is quarantined, contact your District Union Rep if necessary.
Q: HOW CAN I MAKE SURE MY EMPLOYER IS FOLLOWING PROPER SAFETY GUIDELINES FOR MY WORKPLACE?
A: You should have access to hand sanitizer and tissues, hands-free garbage cans to throw away tissues, breaks for hand washing, and should be ensuring that all high-touch surfaces in your work area are cleaned regularly. The guidance we have received from public health experts is that the frequency of cleaning and sanitizing work areas and customer areas depends on the level of use and level of contact. Employers should ensure the hourly cleaning and sanitizing of common surfaces or surfaces that get regular contact. If the level of use/contact by customers or workers is high, they may need to be cleaned even more frequently. If you are a UFCW 8 member with a COVID-19 concern in your workplace, please report it to us.
Q: SHOULD I BE WEARING A MASK TO WORK?
A: Yes, masks are very likely to help prevent the spread of COVID and are required when in public. Masks are more readily available and your employer should be providing you with all appropriate protective equipment for doing your work safely and complying with safety regulations.
Q: WE HAD A CONFIRMED COVID-19 CASE AT MY WORKPLACE, WHAT IS MY EMPLOYER SUPPOSED TO DO TO MAKE SURE OUR WORKPLACE IS CLEAN AND SAFE?
A: The CDC has guidelines for cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing public places and workplaces. Anyone who is involved in this process should be given adequate training and appropriate PPE for the cleaning and chemicals used. Your employer should follow the CDC’s guidelines, and if they do not, you should contact your District Union Rep or report it to us, if necessary.
Coronavirus symptoms include, but are not limited to:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.
You can check your symptoms using the Symptom Screener
- We are monitoring this situation as it continues to change and updating our website at: ufcw8.org/covid
- If you have any additional questions please contact your District Union Representative.
- If you believe your employer is not following proper safety guidelines please use this form to report safety concerns.