Staying safe during COVID-19

By Fred Timpner, MAP Executive Director

This country is facing a state of emergency like no previous generations of Americans have ever faced before. It is frednot the time for politics, blame or recriminations. If one wants to engage in that sort of thing, there will be plenty of time for that later. Now is the time that we all should band together to support the effort to combat this insidious disease.

As first responders and public employees, the very nature of our professions puts us in the forefront of the battle against the spread of COVID-19. Our work puts us in high risk of being exposed, if not infected with the virus.

As such we are advising everyone to put your safety and that of your family first. We are insisting for those of us who continue to work, the Employer provide the appropriate personal protection equipment (PPE) recommended by the CDC and the medical profession. In other words, N95 or greater masks, disinfectant etc.

If the Employer balks at issuing appropriate PPE or refuses to follow CDC guidelines, then please notify your labor representative immediately so that we may bring pressure to force the Employer to comply. After all, isn’t it to their advantage to see to it that we are protected? We are of no use if we become sick or infected. We then become spreaders of the virus infecting others we come into contact with, including our Employer, co-workers and members of the public.

If you believe that you have symptoms of COVID-19, contact your medical professional right away. If you feel you have been exposed to the virus, notify your Employer. We strongly advise you to consider self-isolation or quarantine per CDC guidelines. If anyone living with you has been advised to self-quarantine, let your Employer know that you will have to quarantine as well.

If you have child-care issues due to the closing of the schools, notify your Employer that you will be off. Both the President and Governor Whitmer are promising that benefits will be in place to pay for up to two weeks paid time off. (There is currently an on-going debate in Congress to make the 12-week Family Medical Leave paid.)

We have requested the Governor suspend Public Act 152 at this time. That Act requires an employee to pay a significant portion of the costs of their health care. We believe it is critical that all employees and their dependents not be without their health benefits during this crisis.

We must all do our part during this national state of emergency, but so must our Employers and our legislators. While this fluid situation evolves, know that you can count on us to guide you. Follow precautions, stay safe, and know that your Union is working to protect you.

With Union and management working together and the support of our state and federal government we will persevere as a nation!