COVID-19 CDCR Health & Safety Grievance


We received the 3rd level response on Tuesday, September 1, 2020, 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 this grievance to arbitration on September 2, 2020, which now requires that this grievance be arbitrated within 14 days unless the parties agree to something different. We will now move forward with the arbitration process. Please continue to report violations of the health and safety guidelines to you supervisors and to us through the Member Resource Center (MRC) at (866)471-7348.

Summary of main points in Response. 

On Sanitation

  • 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. On Monday we 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 are 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 institution. (See attached notice)
  • Although we asked for a halt to inmate movement, they assert that transfers of inmates are required for a variety of reasons.