Important Information Related to Coronavirus and City Work Schedules
Hi everyone and hope you are well, both physically and mentally as we all navigate these incredibly dynamic, challenging and unprecedented times.
MEA wanted to pass along three important updates related to the Coronavirus, MEA’s efforts on your behalf and new City policies announced Friday as a result of those efforts. We expect more announcements and operational changes in the coming hours and days, and we will update you as we become aware of them.
New City Policies
MEA has been and will continue to press the City to shut down as many non-essential operations as possible; to limit or eliminate the need for employees to engage in face-to-face contact with the public; and to allow certain categories of employees to be placed on paid administrative leave if they are unable to telecommute for any reason.
We are hopeful that more announcements will be coming shortly from the City with respect to limiting employee contact with the public.
With respect to certain categories of employees, please read the attached memo released by the City on Friday afternoon. It lays out the City’s policies — effective today — related to City employees, work schedules, telecommuting and leave time as a result of this crisis.
In short, in consultation and with the approval of Supervisors, many City employees will be allowed to work from home and, if unable to work from home, placed on paid administrative leave to stay home, if one of the following circumstance apply:
1) If an employee has tested positive for the Coronavirus;
2) If an employee has been exposed to someone with the Coronavirus;
3) If an employee falls into a “high risk” health category as defined by the County of San Diego or is 65 years of age or older;
4) If an employee has recently returned from travel to a Country with “widespread or ongoing community spread” of Coronavirus; or
5) If an employee is exhibiting symptoms of the Coronavirus.
In addition, if an employee has been impacted by school or childcare closures, they are eligible to telecommute, work an alternative schedule that meets their childcare needs, or go on paid administrative leave if neither telecommuting nor an alternative work schedule is feasible. This childcare accommodation was advocated by MEA and after a number of hard fought communications with the City, the City agreed late Friday to add this provision to the list of accommodations. The City deserves credit for agreeing to this, as employees in most other jurisdictions will be forced to come to work or use their own annual leave to stay home with children.
It is important to note three critical things that apply to each of these accommodations:
1) You must communicate with your Supervisor and receive their approval before doing anything related to telecommuting or not coming into work. Each of these accommodations requires the explicit approval of your Supervisor.
2) If you abuse or misuse any of these provisions, or if you fraudulently misrepresent a condition that would trigger one of these provisions, you are subject to discipline up to and including termination.
3) The City’s communication with Supervisors has not been great, so not all Supervisors are doing what they need to be doing with respect to these new policies. If you work with your Supervisor and they are not willing to accommodate you, and you believe that you are entitled to accommodation under the City’s policy, please call MEA and we will work with your Supervisor or City Management to ensure that the City complies with these policies.
Employees who do not meet any of these conditions will also be allowed to telecommute only if feasible and approved by your Supervisor. As we said earlier, we continue to press the City to have its Supervisors allow and in fact encourage as many employees as possible to work from home.
Again, please read the attached complete City memo, as it contains many more details than are written in this summary.
Contract Negotiations Update
The City Council was scheduled to meet in closed session tomorrow (March 17) to discuss MEA’s labor contract and to provide direction and authorization to its negotiating team. That meeting has been cancelled and the City Council is not scheduled to meet again until April 6 at the earliest.
Accordingly, like many other things in the world, contract negotiations are effectively on hold for at least the next three weeks. The Coronavirus crisis is impacting pretty much everything on earth these days, and our contract negotiations are no exception. We will keep you posted if and when we can get back to the table with the City.
MEA Staff are working and ready to assist members in any way possible as we all deal with the impacts of the Coronavirus on City employees and operations. Please reach out to MEA at 619-264-6632 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you need assistance with anything.
We will continue to work diligently with the City to ensure that employees are getting the proper attention, resources and accommodations during these trying times. In addition, if you are facing extraordinary challenges at work or at home during these unprecedented times, MEA is here to assist you in any way we can or to help connect you with resources that can help.
MEA staff will be doing this work remotely at least during the next few weeks, so our physical office will remain open by appointment only. Please call or email with questions or requests and we will respond promptly. Like everybody else we will ensure that we continue to do our job while also following the guidelines encouraging everyone to work remotely and to limit physical interactions only to those absolutely required.
In addition to the main phone number and email address listed above, here are the office extensions, emails and cell phone numbers of MEA representatives and the City departments they represent:
Labor Relations Manager
619-264-6632 ext. 110
Purchasing & Contracts
Senior Labor Relations Representative
619-264-6632 ext. 118
Parks & Recreation
Transportation & Stormwater
Labor Relations Representative/Gov’t Affairs
619-264-6632 ext. 117
Labor Relations Representative
619-264-6632 ext. 101
PUD – Water
Labor Relations Representative
619-264-6632 ext. 120
PUD – Wastewater
These are trying times, and the only thing that seems certain is that uncertainty will continue to abound in the coming days and weeks. So no matter what the future holds, know that we will all get through this and that MEA will be here to support you in every way that we can. Please contact us with anything you need.
Thank you and we will continue to provide E-blast updates as things change and more information becomes available.
City of San Diego Covid 19 Protocol