COVID-19 update: Information sharing
Twice weekly conference calls have been scheduled between the Adult Custody Division (ACD) component VP Dean Purdy. Conference calls with Sheriff Services and Youth Custody are also being scheduled.
Component 1 executive has scheduled weekly conference calls. The frequency of the calls will be increased if necessary. A conference call for OH&S co-chairs working in jails is scheduled for today. We anticipate these will also continue weekly or when requested.
Dean will continue to update the component 1 executive (local chairs) who will send the information to their respective local executives, shop stewards and OHS committee's.
All important information will be shared with members as soon as possible.
Occupational Health and Safety
It is important that OHS committees at all worksites meet regularly and, if they have not done so already, initiate worksite specific exposure control plans which should include:
- Putting in place separate living units in all jails and sheriff cells for both new intakes and symptomatic inmates and prisoners. This requires two separate living units or cells.
Local 104 chair Brandon Cox, local 105 chair Krissie Hayes and BCGEU OH&S staff rep Brian Campbell are working with the ACD conducting a province-wide risk assessment of isolation living units for inmates who are symptomatic or test positive for COVID-19.
- Limiting the capacity of all living units to 40, including officers, and single bunking inmates.
ACD says it is trying to single bunk all inmates, but the ability to do so is impacted by numbers and the size of the facility.
- Social distancing inmates and officers.
This item should be amongst the local OH&S committees' highest priorities. Clear guidelines should be in place regarding social distancing between inmates, and between inmates and officers, including: markings on floors and plexiglas separation barriers on officers' desks.
- Prohibiting large congregations of inmates or prisoners.
- Implementing, to the extent possible, social distancing guidelines in musters. Consider a staggered process or changes over with two officers reading the muster report together on the living unit.
- Postponing use of force training that violates the social distancing guidelines.
- Developing protocols for applying cuffs, belly chains and leg irons.
- Taking steps to ensure that there is a sufficient supply and proper usage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Given the close conditions you are often required to work in, it is critical that there be an adequate supply of PPE. We will continue to pursue this issue in calls with your employers.
What if you can't work?
Currently public service employees who are unable to work due to COVID-19, whether sick or otherwise required to self-isolate, are entitled to receive STIIP benefits of 75% pay. Our union is advocating on your behalf to be able to receive full pay when told to self-isolate or when you become infected with COVID-19.
Members who are actually infected with COVID-19 through workplace exposure, should file a STIIP claim immediately, and also file a WorkSafeBC claim.
Please check the BCGEU and Government of BC websites for further COVID-19 pay related information.
Unfortunately, a comprehensive childcare plan for component 1 members who provide essential services is not yet in place. If you are facing difficult childcare issues please contact your supervisor as a first step. If you require further assistance, contact the BCGEU.
Our union advocating forcefully on this issue on your behalf.
The BCGEU and your component 1 executive is continuing to advocate for all steps required to keep you safe and secure at work, and will keep you updated on any COVID-19 related information important to you as it arises.
Raise any COVID-19 concerns or suggestions with your employer and your local union representative, or contact the BCGEU at any time at [email protected] .
Component 1 Chair & BCGEU Vice President
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