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:
- Expand Testing Eligibility to All Essential Workers
- Mandate Anti-Retalition Provisions for All Essential Workers
- Authorize the Office of Labor to File Suit On Behalf of Impacted Workers
- Enforce Strict Safety and Sanitation Guidelines for Employers
- Reopen Hahnemann Hospital for Public Use
Click through to read the letter and see the signatories.
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.
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
Teamsters For A Democratic Union
Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW)