BU 17 – Registered Nurses
Weekly Update - June 15


On Friday, June 12, 2020, the Union met virtually with CDPH management/HR about several HFEN concerns and we wanted to give you an update. 

Q: If HFENs will be assisting with COVID testing, will there be proper training?

  • Regarding HFENs doing COVID specimen collection, HR said they have not issued the notice to the Union but will be doing so soon. They stated that there have been no changes implemented yet, except that they have asked for volunteers. 
  • Management also agreed to do regular check-ins to address ever-changing issues and concerns.

Q: Why are contract CNAs and other contracted services performing screenings statewide at the doors of state buildings while employees may be furloughed?

  • Regarding screenings at the entrances, management stated that they initially had screenings done by the National Guard, but they then contracted it out, and now the work is being done by medical assistants.
    • Management stated that they decided to contract out this work because they wanted to protect confidentiality and not have employees potentially revealing their medical conditions to coworkers. They also stated that they didn’t reassign HFENs to do that because there is other essential and mission-critical work that they need the HFENs to be doing. 
    • However, in areas of the state where there are only 4 or 5 people in an office, they just have the employees self-screen and send it in to HR.
    • We asked for a list of the addresses of the offices within the state that have or don’t have screeners, and HR said they would provide that information 
    • Management said they would provide us a copy of the form with the instructions for what employees are supposed to do if they answer yes to any of the screening questions.

Q: When will HFENs be fit tested for N-95 masks according to CDC guidelines? How many times can that mask be reused?  Are they to be cleaned after a certain number of uses? Will there be enough essential PPE?  

  • Regarding N-95 fit testing, how many times a mask can be reused, and cleaning, HR said they would get back to us, but they thought that information was on the training videos that were sent.
  • Regarding PPE, management stated that they did provide surgical masks as well as the N-95 (according to management, the N-95 doesn’t need to be used for everything).  We asked them to let us know which offices were given additional N-95 masks. HR said they would get back to us.

Q:  What changes have been happening regarding reasonable accommodations?  Are accommodations being implemented in a fair and consistent manner? 

  • Regarding reasonable accommodations, management stated that they gave out some informal accommodations to not go out into the field due to being high risk, age, or having family members with cases of COVID.  However, as this has stretched into a longer term issue, management stated they are asking all employees that need a reasonable accommodation to fill out Form 1048. Management stated they are willing to accommodate employees, but employees must still be able to do the essential functions of their job, and 30% of the HFEN duties are to go out to the facilities. If an employee cannot meet the essential functions of the job, then they can have a conversation about next steps. They also stated the Disability Management Unit does not get to place people in contract tracing.
  • Regarding contact tracing, management stated the Governor has requested each department give up 5% of their workforce to do contract tracing.  Early on, management stated it allowed the ones on telework to do that.  However, they said they cannot have all HFENs doing contact tracing because their work is paramount in this state of emergency. Some of the HFENs that were placed in contact tracing were asked to come back to do mission critical work. 
  • Management agreed to provide the number of HFENs who were assigned to contract tracing and the number that were asked to come back. Management also agreed to get back to us on the process of how employees were chosen to return.

Let us know if you have any additional questions.

Kim Cowart
SEIU Local 1000
Chair of Bargaining Unit 17