CDCR/CCHCS Health and Safety Grievance Elevated to Arbitration
Our months-long fight to ensure safe prison workplaces took another step forward after the departments continued refusal to fully acknowledge the serious issues surrounding the health and safety of our members.
We called on those departments to enforce existing protocols around inmate movement, PPE, sanitation, physical distancing, and testing to prevent further spread of the virus, where outbreaks are out of control.
They claimed their practices were sound, and in essence, denied our assertions.
We elevated our grievance to the third level, involving CalHR in the process. Although the response outlined some developments that may help address our concerns, they still fall short in ensuring that the health and safety guidelines meant to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are followed consistently throughout all the institutions.
Because of this, we elevated the grievance to arbitration. That activity should take place shortly, because of the accelerated nature of health and safety grievances.
Summary of main points Local 1000 received in the third level response:
- Any expansion of the PIA-HFM cleaning program will likely
require service agreement amendments as the contract is currently
being flexed beyond its scope.
- The Department received an order of sanitizing wipes on August 21, 2020. The Department will continue to provide sanitizing spray, paper towels, and other alternatives in lieu of available wipes.
Reopening and Scaling Back
- In response to bringing back employees from telework assignments, the response references CDCR’s Roadmap to Reopening that supposedly provides guidance for scaling back reopening based on activity, population, and areas impacted. The response then outlines that “Concerns regarding the reopening plan can be addressed during monthly calls at which time if required the Department will have representatives present to respond to concerns and take suggestions. Concerns should be initially raised locally if the issue impacts the institution only.”
PPE and Decontamination of N95s
- The response also outlines that currently the Department
is not using decontaminated N95 masks, but that they
are being stored and retained for use in the event of future N95
mask shortage and that the Department would like to assure SEIU
that should it become necessary to use decontaminated N95 masks
in the event of an emergency triggered by supply shortages, SEIU
will be notified in advance. They also note that the Department
received an additional 22, 800 N95 masks on August 21, 2020.
- The response also outlines that the Departments have shared
information on their intent to create internal contact
tracing. We recently received a notice entitled COVID-19
Contact Tracing and Testing for Employees, which outlines that as
an initial step to enhance staff testing and contact tracing,
CDCR/CCHCS are creating a new Employee Health Registered
Nurse position at each institution, along with required
support staff, in a phased rollout. The goal of these positions
is to provide immediate direction and assistance related to
COVID-19 concerns as well as other communicable disease
prevention and response programs. The Employee Health
Registered Nurse will be responsible for rapidly identifying
employees who are either infected or exposed to COVID-19 or other
communicable diseases and taking appropriate measures to decrease
the likelihood of further transmission in the
- Although we asked for a halt to inmate movement, CDCR/CCHCS assert that transfers of inmates are required for a variety of reasons.
What you can do: Continue to report violations of the health and safety guidelines to you supervisors and to us through the Member Resource Center (MRC) at 866.471.SEIU (7348).