Phone: 425-252-3800

General Teamsters Union Local 38
COVID-19 Updates

News & Updates

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UNSAFE WORK ASSIGNMENT Q & A

During the COVID-19 crisis workers have been encountering situations that may be considered unsafe work assignments. In the normal day-to-day operations at work, workers are generally required to comply with management orders and directives. Complying with management directives is considered part of your job duties and not doing so can lead to discipline. Employees covered under a Union contract should usually "obey now, and grieve later." But situations might be different when you are being asked to do something unsafe. 

The following Q & A addresses a specific exception to the general rule that employees must obey orders and grieve them later. If you are being asked to do something unsafe at work, you should call your Union Rep (call 425 252 3800 to be connected). Due to the high volume of calls we are receiving you may be directed to voicemail, but someone will reach out to you as soon as they can. 

Q:  I've been asked to perform a work assignment that I feel will threaten my personal safety and expose me to serious bodily harm.  Does my Union contract provide any protections for me?

A:  Because you are covered by a Union contract the answer is yes.  Your Union contract includes a just cause provision.  In this situation, just cause means you should not be disciplined for refusing to obey an unreasonable order.  An order to perform a work assignment that is likely to cause serious bodily harm to an employee is not reasonable.  To be covered by this exception, your fear of bodily harm must be objectively reasonable and not speculative.

Q:  Are there any specific laws that offer protection to workers who are asked to perform unsafe work assignments?

A:  Yes, there are state and federal laws that provide additional or separate protections.  One example is OSHA (click here to read an OSHA summary).

Q:  What should I say to my employer if asked to perform a work assignment that is likely to cause me serious bodily harm?

A:  It is always best to try to work with management to solve the problem.  For example, you should explain to management why you feel the work assignment is unsafe or dangerous so that your employer has an opportunity to problem solve.  You can also tell your supervisor you would be happy to accept the work assignment if it can be made safe to perform i.e., by providing you with adequate equipment or protective devices, adequate supplies, protective clothing, additional staffing, etc.     

Q:  Should I leave work if my employer insists that I perform the unsafe work assignment?

A:  No, under most circumstances, you should stay on site and remain available to work safe assignments.  If management sends you home, asks to meet with you to investigate the situation, or issues you any discipline, you should contact your union rep immediately.

3/20/2020 Safeway/Albertsons (including Haggen) agreed to pay Hazard Pay for all members for all worked hours at the rate of $2.00 per hour! They are leading the way for Employers across the Country. 

Washington State UFCW and Teamster Local Unions reach understanding with Safeway/Albertsons to better support and protect Grocery Store Workers and Community

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This weekend, UFCW 21, 367, 1439 and Teamsters 38 reached an understanding with Safeway/Albertsons to better support and protect grocery store workers and shoppers in this time of need due to the Coronavirus.

This resolution includes:

  • More flexibility for schedules to accommodate childcare.

  • Joint hiring hall to allow for more workers to get work in the stores.

  • Up to two-weeks of pay for workers diagnosed with COVID-19 or workers required to self-quarantine, before needing to access sick leave and other contractual paid leave.

  • Agreed to jointly work with State and Federal government to treat Grocery Store Workers as first responders and set up a childcare fund for Grocery Store Workers.

  • Expanded use of paid sick leave to cover childcare needs.

  • Agreed to further discussions of ways to meet workers’ childcare needs.

  • Ensure workers do not lose eligibility for medical coverage or lose vacation accrual while out on sick leave.

  • Temporarily allow the employer to bring in extra outside help to make sure we are able to serve our communities during this crisis—provided bargaining unit employees are offered hours first, including overtime.

  • As always, any work done in the meat cutter classification will only be performed by individuals qualified and licensed (where necessary) to perform such work.

If you have questions, please contact your Rep

Washington State UFCW and Teamster Local Unions reach understanding with Fred Meyer/QFC to better support and protect Grocery Store Workers and Community

Yesterday, UFCW
21, 367, 1439 and Teamsters 38 reached an understanding with Fred Meyer/QFC to
better support and protect grocery store workers and shoppers in this time of
need due to the Coronavirus.

This understanding includes:


  • - More flexibility for schedules to accommodate childcare.

  • - Joint hiring hall to allow for more workers to get work in the
    stores.

  • - Up to two-weeks of pay for workers diagnosed with COVID-19 or
    workers required to self-quarantine, before needing to access sick leave and
    other contractual paid leave.

  • - Agreed to jointly work with State and Federal government to
    treat Grocery Store Workers as first responders and set up a childcare fund for
    Grocery Store Workers.

  • - Expanded use of paid sick leave to cover childcare needs.

  • - Ensure workers do not lose eligibility for medical coverage or
    lose vacation accrual while out on sick leave.

  • - Temporarily allow the employer to bring in extra outside help
    to make sure we are able to serve our communities during this crisis—provided
    bargaining unit employees are offered hours first, including overtime.

  • - As always, any work done in the meat cutter classification
    will only be performed by individuals qualified and licensed (where necessary)
    to perform such work.

In addition to the terms of this understanding, Kroger has expanded its Helping Hands benefit to include hardships caused to employees by the Coronavirus pandemic.




Page Last Updated: Mar 20, 2020 (19:21:55)
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