April 2, 2020
We still have a lot in progress and are working through multiple issues but here is the response to our submitted questions:
April Membership Meeting is canceled. We will be voting youth donations at a future meeting when we are able to open
March 26, 2020 UPDATE
**For your information**
The issue regarding comp time is not a contractual issue. This is a Penn State Policy.
The only contractual language we have regarding this is Additional Agreement 41 which states essential employees shall be notified in writing the beginning of fall semester in which all such employees are expected to report to work during any official University closedown of a campus or facility.
Clearly, they are not following that additional agreement for multiple reasons and we have filed a grievance on that. But for receiving comp time, that is a University policy that they are disregarding by saying this isn't a closedown.
March 25, 2020 9:15 PM Update I just got off the phone with Penn State. I was informed from Rob Hartman, Senior Director of Labor and Employee Relations, that Penn State is open for business and they will not give our members comp time for those who report to work.
I was also informed that the three Commonwealth Campuses that were already under the Governor's order (Abington, Great Valley, and Brandywine) will not receive any more comp time for coming in and performing work.
This is very disappointing news to the Union and our members who come in and do their jobs, facing the fear of working around the virus everyday. It is sad that they don't recognize the risk our members endure. We will be filing a grievance and fighting this. Please reach out to your local politicians to get a message to them that Penn State is not closed and open for business! Thanks for all your work and help on this.
- Jon Light
March 25, 2020
As of now, the Union has not heard any answers to the questions that were presented to the University yesterday. As the University continues to neglect to answer these questions, we will continue to demand a response! We have been in contact several times a day about issues with no response. We will post any answers to our questions once we receive them.
March 24, 2020 4:00 PM UPDATE
The following are a list of questions we have asked Penn State and are waiting on their response... we will provide updates as they come.
1) Will Penn State recognize this as a campus closure for UP and all Commonwealth Campuses?
2) Will our members who perform work get comp time for the hours they work?
3) Do those members who have childcare conflicts and are told to come to work have to use benefit time to miss work?
4) We want to extend the agreements about sick time and flexible schedule to the Governor time frame if extended.
5) Will those members who are told to report to work and told to quarantine because of themselves or if household family member is under quarantine be paid to stay at home?
6) Will those members who are required to work and call off sick or schedule a vacation day have to use their benefit time?
7) We have members who are currently out on a leave of absence, will they be paid by the University during this time?
8) When the University decides on the work force they need, they ask for volunteers by seniority order first and then force the junior members to work. If the unit gets enough volunteers, a rotation can be done among the volunteers. All parties have to agree to the rotation.
9) We may have situations when those members may have to contact with other employees due to work requirements (less then 6 feet), will we be given the proper PPE to perform that work. Things of respiratory, mask, face shield, and tyvek suit.
10) All safety and rules that govern the work to performed by our members be shared with the Union. Request that the Union and University create a safety task force that will govern all safety.
11) Request that we will be involved with conversation about the direction the University will go about the employment of the bargaining unit in mid April.
12) Provide the Union a list of life-sustaining areas or units that will require our members to work: Name of member, title of job, shift they will work, what work they perform.
13) Reimbursement of all parking pass fees for those who are told not to come to work.
14) How is the Governor’s order different from the following campuses: Abington, Great Valley, and Brandywine to the rest of the Penn State’s Commonwealth Campuses and UP?
15) We have members that live in locations that have no internet, supervisor and Penn State should communicate to all member by phone, not just by email.
16) Members who max vacation, can they carry those extra days over max for those who are told to stay home?
March 24, 2020 UPDATE
As you heard from Dr. Barron during the virtual Town Hall meeting- we will be paid through the month of April and they are going to reassess mid April for the financial aspect going beyond.
We will request to be involved in those conversations. We will be addressing additional questions to clear up comp time for those who are coming to work, safety of those who are working, what is considered essential work and additional questions that may arise during these unprecedented times.
As we get the answer to any of our questions, we will post on Facebook and our Website. Remember that under the Governor's order, we will have to provide essential services. Thank you for your steadfast understanding and commitment to follow these orders.
Please call any Business Agents (Jon, Cliff or Jesika) if you have additional questions.March 23, 2020
Due to the Governor's order and the PA Conference of Teamsters recommendations, we will be closing our office and performing only essential administrative functions.
Business agents can be reached by cell phone or by leaving a message on their voice mail at the office number – 814-548-1429.
Once the Governor's order is lifted, we look forward to resuming our office hours.
Business agent cell numbers:
Jonathan Light: 814-571-0107 Cliff Hixson: 814-777-3131 Jesika Millinder: 814-577-7498
March 21, 2020 5:40 PM UPDATE Thank you to all of our members. In one of most difficult times we have faced, I have seen our members doing their jobs with resilience and unwavering courage. You are the best example of what is good about this. I am so proud to be a part of this Union and to be able to work for you! The board recognizes the hard work and dedication you do everyday. Staying UNITED is exactly what we should do! We will continue to stand with you in these trying times and fight for safety and to protect our families. Things change daily and we will do our best to keep you informed. Take care and be safe!
- Jon Light
March 20, 2020 letter to Penn State regarding the recent order by Governor Wolf
March 20, 2020
As you may know the Governor’s order mandates that all non-life-sustaining businesses close state wide, this includes universities. I understand the University has certain essential functions that constitute life-sustaining operations requiring a limited number of our members physically to report to work.
While there are students on campus, we understand certain dining halls will be open for carry out only and our members will be expected to prepare food for them. Also, housing will be open to students at this time who cannot be sent home and our members will be expected to sanitize buildings that these students stay in. Both of these services should be limited to only the number of members providing these services. The work these members are directed to do should be limited to absolutely essential work. There should be no “busy work” or project work given just to keep members reporting to campus. We respectfully request that our members come to campus only to perform essential services and then be sent back home. Also, please provide personal protective equipment and follow guidelines and directives from the CDC, state government, and federal government in order to ensure the protection of our employees. Lastly, every effort at this point should be made to get the students off campus to allow our members to be safe and not put unnecessary risk to them or their family.
OPP and M and O (commonwealth campus) will have areas that are life-sustaining under the Governor’s mandate, including the power plant and waste water treatment facility. Other areas of operation may also fall under this category. Again, these crews should be limited to small number of employees. Buildings are being locked down and there is no need to clean buildings that no one has access to. Maintenance should be limited to safety checks and emergency repairs that could cause immediate harm to buildings, medical research, people, and animals that are on campus. There should be no project work, preventive maintenance or any landscape work taking place at this time. For those who are essential should be given proper PPE and training to protect themselves and their families.
While members who work with animals that are used for research may be considered life-sustaining employees, vehicle testing clearly is not life-sustaining work.
What I am hearing from Penn State is that they are still offering online classes and therefore, the University remains open for business. This is a misleading statement and it clearly undermines the Governor’s clear directive. Ignoring the Governor’s directive puts our members and everyone in the University community in serious risk. I am asking Penn State University to do the right thing and treat this situation with the seriousness it requires. This includes a true closure and a limitation on the number of our members required to put themselves at risk by reporting to campus. I would appreciate an immediate response to our members and Union.
President and Business Agent10:17 PM March 19, 2020 UPDATE
Just got off the phone with PSU. They have nothing to release. So the only thing they could tell me is that those who are told to report to work tomorrow to come to work and those who are told to stay at home will get paid to stay at home. If you're not sure- contact your supervisor. Official notice will be release as soon as they can.
- Jon Light
6:10 PM March 19, 2020 UPDATE
We heard the Governor order and we have reached out to PSU about his order. They will keep updating us as information develops. As of right now there is no message from PSU and we will let our members know when we hear from PSU.
We are in constant communication with Penn State regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and the evolving situations as they arise.
We are diligently working for our members safety and well-being.
Please contact the hall at 814-548-1429 for any questions and concerns.
For your information:
3/13/2020 COVID-19 update
Brothers and Sisters,
I have been in communication with Penn State Human Recourses all week about the coronavirus. I have been asking question about our member’s health and safety. I have also asked to be involved with meetings about the health and safety with our members and have not been invited to one meeting. So, I am letting you know what I have been told. Today students start coming back to the University to get personal belongings and our members are being told to clean and escort student to their rooms. I have ask the University to write an SOP for our members. I have also asked that they take temperatures of all student before allowing access to buildings. I was told that was not feasible to do. Also, I asked that any member who is at high risk (as per the CDC) should not be in that environment with students. The high risk warning from the CDC:
Early information out of China, where COVID-19 first started, shows that some people are at higher risk of getting very sick from this illness. This includes:
- Older adults
- People who have serious chronic medical conditions like:
- Heart disease
- Lung disease
If a COVID-19 outbreak happens in your community, it could last for a long time. (An outbreak is when a large number of people suddenly get sick.) Depending on how severe the outbreak is, public health officials may recommend community actions to reduce people’s risk of being exposed to COVID-19. These actions can slow the spread and reduce the impact of disease.
If you are at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19 because of your age or because you have a serious long-term health problem, it is extra important for you to take actions to reduce your risk of getting sick with the disease.
So if you fall under this high risk warning from the CDC, I believe you have the right of refusal to perform the work of working in an environment of high risk contact with students. Article 35 allows the protection to do this.
- If an employee has reason to believe that a particular assignment or piece of equipment or apparatus would present undue hazard to the employee or to others, the employee has responsibility for informing the employee’s supervisor of this condition.
If you are at high risk as per the CDC, you have the right to approach your supervisor for refusal of work.
Important COVID-19 Information!
(Updated above on 3/13/2020) In support of Penn State encouraging employees with symptoms of acute respiratory illness to not come to work until they no longer have a fever and other symptoms for at least 24 hours a temporary change has been made to the sick-leave standard used for technical-service job bidding and lateral transfers. Specifically, the University and Teamsters Local 8 have agreed that, “Any sick absences from February 29, 2020 through and including Saturday, March 21, 2020 will not be included in the calculations of whether an employee meets the sick-leave standard calculation outlined in Article 12, Job Vacancies, Sections 12.1(b) and 12.4(b)."
In response to the numerous questions regarding Penn States recent announcement to the COVID-19 crisis-- at this time the campus is NOT closed. Only in-person classes are canceled... all Tech Service are to report as normal. This includes those in Housing and Food service.
We will update with any changes as they come from Penn State.
Click here to be linked to Penn State's website with information regarding COVID-19.
IBT UnionActive Newswire Updated: Apr. 05 (04:49)
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