AFT Resolution

COVID-19 RETURN TO WORK SITE

WHEREAS, public sector workers in state, federal and local governments have continued to work throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, teleworking or still going into the work sites; and

WHEREAS, American Federation of Teachers frontline workers have risked their lives and personal health to perform their duties for the citizens of this country and the communities where they live; and

WHEREAS, AFT members stand ready to continue to perform their duties at any safe work site; and

WHEREAS, our union stands ready to work with federal, state, and local agencies to safeguard the health and safety of the workforce and the general public, and to continue the important and necessary provision of quality government services:

RESOLVED, that in order to protect the federal, state and local workforce as they return to their work sites or remain at their work sites, governments at all levels must:

  • Ensure that physical and environmental controls, such as those for ventilation and potable water systems, must be in place and operational 24/7;
  • Access to viral and antibody testing must be readily available, and strict protocols must be in place and operational along with training for all staff;
  • Ensure that return to the work site plan must meet all applicable federal, state and local recommendations, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  requirement for reduction in COVID-19 activity;
  • Complete a work-site safety and preparedness risk assessment, in which all identified concerns are remediated before any return to work site is commenced;
  • Ensure that safety protocols are in place at every agency and work site to include adequate amounts of proper personal protective equipment, including respiratory protection, surgical masks, cloth face coverings, face shields, gloves, and other PPE that is identified as necessary;
  • Ensure that adequate amounts of hand sanitizer are available and considerations have been made for the redesign of workspaces to meet proper social distancing guidelines;
  • Establish isolation procedure for when a visitor or staff member exhibits symptoms, comes into contact with someone who exhibits symptoms or tests positive for COVID-19. The procedure must include a temporary shutdown of the workplace so that highly touched surfaces can be cleaned, notification provided to employees and immediate implementation of contact tracing procedures can begin;
  • Establish a 14-day self-quarantine policy with paid leave or telework arrangements for any employee who has had close contact with someone who exhibits symptoms or tests positive for COVID-19;
  • Collaborate on pandemic planning and response protocols with their unions through the collective bargaining process, labor-management processor meetings with local union leaders in non-bargaining states to determine return-to-work-site procedures. Communication and collaboration will be key to a successful transition back to the work site;
  • Ensure that no worker will be subject to retaliation, termination or other work sanction for reporting a health or safety concern; and

RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers and its affiliates will advocate and support the principles of returning to the work site from telework; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will continue to provide support and provide technical assistance to its affiliates on returning to the work site in a safe and healthy manner; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT and its affiliates will advocate for and support policies and legislation that will keep the workforce and general public safe during this COVID-19 pandemic and to keep government functioning at all levels; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT and its affiliates will advocate and support child care policies and programs, including adequate funding that will allow our workers to return to the work site with confidence that their young children will be safe; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT and its affiliates will advocate and support policies and legislation at any level of government that will prepare the United States for future medical emergencies.

(2020)

Please note that a newer resolution, or portion of a resolution, may have superseded an earlier resolution on the same subject. As a result, with the exception of resolutions adopted at our most recent AFT convention, resolutions do not necessarily reflect current AFT policies.