News

Today, Teamsters Local 623 along with over 40 Local unions and allied organizations sent a letter to Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney. We are asking Mayor Kenney to meet five needs for all Essential Workers in the city of Philadelphia:

  1. Expand Testing Eligibility to All Essential Workers
  2. Mandate Anti-Retalition Provisions for All Essential Workers
  3. Authorize the Office of Labor to File Suit On Behalf of Impacted Workers
  4. Enforce Strict Safety and Sanitation Guidelines for Employers
  5. Reopen Hahnemann Hospital for Public Use

Click through to read the letter and see the signatories.

Click Here To See The Letter


Mayor Kenney,

We the undersigned are union leaders and leaders of progressive organizations representing tens of thousands of workers in the Philadelphia region. Many of our members are essential workers who put themselves at risk every day in their efforts to provide services and distribute goods throughout this crisis. As a labor movement we have fought to implement policies designed to help promote health and safety of our members and of all workers. But as this crisis deepens we must do more to protect essential workers and the public.

For essential workers maintaining self-isolation is impossible. These workers are keeping our city running, and we are proud to serve Philadelphia in a time of need. The only way to protect essential workers and to effectively trace and contain the virus is to expand protections for all essential workers. Workers were called upon to deliver us through this crisis. It's time they are delivered the respect and protections they deserve.

We are asking your office to expand testing eligibility to all essential workers. Currently, only residents who have been referred by medical personnel are able to get tested. However, as you know, many people who have contracted coronavirus have not displayed any symptoms and would not be able to access testing. For essential workers it is crucial that they be allowed access to testing without prejudice. 

We are asking your office to mandate anti-retaliation provisions for all essential workers. Companies should not use this crisis as a means of thinning their employment roles or meting out harsh discipline for attendance when government officials have urged workers to take extreme precautionary measures. Workers should not be punished for staying home if they feel they are at risk. These provisions must be enforced by the Health Department to ensure speedy and appropriate consequences for violations.

We are asking your office and City Council to authorize impacted workers and trusted community organizations to bring suits on behalf of the Office of Labor.  Even during the best of times, the Office of Labor lacks the resources to monitor and correct violations at every workplace and their capacity has been strained severely during this pandemic.  Allowing these whistleblowers to assist the Office of Labor will greatly increase the agency's capacity and deter employers from breaking the law and exploiting their workforces during this pandemic.

We are asking your office to enforce regular cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and common areas, sending sick workers home and limiting customer access and establishment of safety zones. Many employers have made a commitment to keeping worksites clean but workers have reported repeated violations of this promise. Sanitation and safety go hand in hand. Disinfecting worksites is crucial to containing the spread of the virus.

Finally, we urge your office to do everything in its power to reopen Hahnemann hospital for public use. In the poorest big city in the country it is already a shame that we have no public hospitals, but in a crisis like this it is a crime. We know there are many decisions involved in reopening the hospital but we are confident that your office can become a strong advocate for the working people of this city by pushing for the stronger public health measures like the reopening of Hahnemann.

Essential workers are putting their lives on the line to keep our city moving. We are proud to represent these workers who deliver essential services and provide goods that will get us through this crisis. But our city can and should do more to protect these workers, their families and the public. If grocery store workers, letter carriers and package car drivers are at risk of contracting the virus then the city is at risk of its spread.

Signed,

 

Richard Hooker Jr.        Secretary-Treasurer                   Teamsters Local 623

Steve Paul                   Founding Member                     Coalition to Respect Every Workers (CREW)

Erin Kramer                 Exec. Director                           One Pennsylvania

Pat Eiding                    President                                  Philadelphia AFL-CIO 

Maureen May, RN         President                                  PASNAP

Chris Woods                 President                                  District 1199C, AFSCME

Wendell Young IV         President                                  UFCW 1776

Nick Casselli                President                                  APWU Local 89

Louis Agre                   President                                  Philadelphia Metal Trades Council

Bill Hamilton                President                                  Teamsters Local 107 & Penna. Conference of Teamsters           

Daniel Grace                Secretary-Treasurer                   Teamsters Local 830

Jed Dodd                     Vice-President                          BMWED National Division

Keon Liberato              President                                  BMWED Local 3012

Dwayne Ballard            President                                  AFSCME DC 33 Local 394 Water Dept.

Ernest Garrett              Business Agent                         AFSCME DC 33 Local 394

Charles Carrington       President                                  AFSCME DC 33 Local 427 Sanitation Dept.     

Omar Salaam              Business Agent                         AFSCME DC 33 Local 427

Irene Snyder               President                                  AFSCME DC 33 Local 1510 Airports & RRPA

Louis Greggs               Business Agent                         AFSCME DC 33 Local 1510

Frank Halbherr            President                                  AFSCME DC 33 Local 1637

Darnell Davis               Business Agent                         AFSCME DC 33 Local 1637

Fred Wright                 President                                  AFSCME DC 47 Local 1739    

Rosslyn Wuchinich       President                                  UNITE HERE Local 274

Steve Newman            President                                  TAUP, AFT Local 4531

Sarah Apt                   President                                  ASCE PA, AFT Local 6056

Cat Farman                 President                                  NTEU, Chapter 335

Caitlin Fritz                 Managing Director                    215 People’s Alliance

Devan Spear               Executive Director                    Jobs with Justice

Marilyn Arwood           Chair                                        Philadelphia DSA

Nadia Hewka              Supervising Attorney                 Community Legal Services of Phila.

Nicole Kligermann       Director                                    Philadelphia Domestic Workers Alliance

Samuel Jones             Director                                    Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC)

Make the Road Philadelphia

Movement Alliance Project

Philly Thrive

Reclaim Philadelphia

Teamsters For A Democratic Union

VietLead

Neighborhood Networks

Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW)