SEIU Local 1000 Bargaining Unit 15 has been in communication with the Department of General Services (DGS) to understand the department’s policies in response to the Corvid-19 crisis and its impact on our Custodian workforce.  Please check out the information below for the most recent information from DGS. 

SEIU Local 1000 Bargaining Unit 15 has been in communication with the Department of General Services (DGS) to understand the department’s policies in response to the Corvid-19 crisis and its impact on our Custodian workforce.  Please check out the information below for the most recent information from DGS. 

If you have questions or issues about health and safety that you would like the union to raise to DGS, please call the Member Resource Center at 866.471.SEIU (7348).

Be sure to visit our COVID-19 Resources and Bargaining Unit 15 webpages often as we will post updates and latest responses from DGS.

Frequently Asked Questions:

April 6, 2020

1. On April 1, 2020, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) went into effect, which added 80 hours of federally funded sick leave that our members can use to take time because of Covid-19 related needs.  When can our members access this bank of federal sick leave and when will the department issue guidelines to employees on how to use it?

DGS Response: The federal bank leave is available for them to use. CalHR has issued guidance on this on April 6, 2020.

Your Union has a copy of these guidelines, click here to view the guidelines.

April 3, 2020

1. What are the guidelines for ATO approvals? Is there something in writing from DGS that we can distribute to our members?

DGS Response: We have questions pending with CalHR regarding ATO guidance.  When our questions are answered, we will be able to respond to this question accordingly.

2. What are the precautions being taken for having the appropriate PPE, including the proper chemicals, used in the cleaning and disinfecting of a building?  We know DGS has ordered PPE, but our members report they haven’t received it yet.  What is the timeline for receipt and is there a distribution plan? Will fitting and/or training be required?

DGS Response: Currently it appears that our current cleaning process is consistent with the current CDC guidelines. We have increased our cleaning of frequently touched surfaces particularly where there is exposure to the public. We have placed an order for a cleaner that has a shorter surface dwell time to make it easier for custodians to complete their routes. We have also developed an interim cleaning protocol for areas that are known to have been visited by an ill person. We are in the process of preparing a video of our approved final cleaning process that will be shown to all staff for training.

The primary recommended PPE are gloves which are available to our staff. Although masks are not recommended at this time, we are making an effort to make masks available to individuals who want them. As I’m sure you’re aware, masks are a backordered item due to the heavy demand. Because of this, we have ordered two types of masks; one type that requires fit testing and one that does not. We have an order that is due in later today.  Although this is the mask that does not require fit testing, we will provide a handout communication on how to wear the mask properly. For the N95 masks, we will have a health and fitness assessment as a part of the training when they arrive. 

3. What is the cleaning protocol in LEED certified buildings, where all products need to be green, if there is a suspected/confirmed case of COVID-19?

DGS Response: Because the safety of our employees and tenants is paramount, we have temporarily waved the green requirement.

4. Will management allow a grace period for employees who ride public transit to clock in?  Public transit has switched to Sunday hours with buses only arriving every 30-45 minutes on some routes.  Our concern is that there will be an increase in missed transfers bus to bus, or bus to light rail.

Due to the reduced transit schedules we have adjusted shifts to accommodate the change. This should be discussed with management on a case by case basis.

5. Will DGS be sending a directive to supervisors to maintain social distancing during all meetings?  Our members report being required to do daily check-in meetings where social distancing is not maintained.

DGS Response: We have sent out several notifications to managers regarding the need for social distancing, we will continue to emphasize this topic in our weekly meetings. Managers have also adjusted clock-in times to prevent an accumulation of people around the time clock.
We have asked our managers to communicate, in person, with staff, more frequently so information doesn’t get lost in the process. Obviously, this poses a challenge with the desire to maintain distance, however we have asked them to assemble smaller groups.

During this time, we believe it is particularly important for management to be present and in the buildings, talking with staff, addressing their fears where they can and at least listening where they can’t.

6. How is DGS ensuring that Custodians are informed of a possible COVID-19 exposure prior to entering a work area to be cleaned?  A member who cleans DSS raised the concern that employees might have been exposed to COVID-19 when they were asked to clean up an office where a person fell ill. Only after the work was done were they told about it. Members were not given this information prior to the work starting so no extra safety precautions were taken or any type of extra sanitizing methods were used.  Now they are concerned they may have been exposed and possibly exposed fellow coworkers and family members.

DGS Response: Since the most reliable and current information seems to show that the virus is transmitted through droplets, our protocol for cleaning, where an ill person has been identified, is for the employer to cordon off the area. Then we should let the area sit idle for 24 to 48 hours, opening windows and doors as necessary before cleaning. This allows the droplets to dry therefore reducing the probability of transfer. The custodial staff should be informed of the nature of the task and the correct cleaning procedure discussed prior to beginning any work