2020 Legislative Update Week 9: The End Is Here!

This is it! After weeks of all out terror and attacks on the working people of Florida, the Florida Legislature entered it’s final week of Legislative Session.

The week saw last minute pushes by nefarious forces to strip Floridians of their democratic rights, serve giant tax cuts to their corporate masters and further shroud our government from we, the people!

Brave Floridians fought back, stopping the legislature from enacting their campaign of horror and standing up for the working families of the Sunshine State.

Find out more about the ins and outs of this week’s legislative session in Week 9: The End Is Here!

CORONAVIRUS: Be Vigilant, Be Prepared. Don’t Panic.

Across Florida and the nation, working people are taking the necessary precautions to stay safe in the face of COVID-19.

Below you’ll find resources from the National AFL-CIO on how to help prevent it’s spread and the actions Organized Labor is taking to stand up for working people.

CORONAVIRUS: COVID-19
BE VIGILANT. BE PREPARED.

DON’T PANIC.

The COVID-19 outbreak is caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. It has spread rapidly around the globe and now throughout the United States. The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified the outbreak as a pandemic. Federal health officials have said we should prepare for severe disruptions to group gatherings and public settings, such as schools and other workplaces, and everyday life, raising a number of concerns for working people.

WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS?

The COVID-19 virus is spreading from person to person, and there has been community transmission in the United States. Workplace exposure is a serious concern. Health care workers and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents have become infected with the virus. The virus can spread through the air and survive on surfaces. It can be transmitted even when people do not have symptoms; and symptoms may be mild and may not present for up to two weeks. Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, dry cough, shortness of breath, muscle ache and fatigue, whereas a runny or stuffy nose and a sore throat are more common with the seasonal flu and common cold. The disease is more deadly than the seasonal flu, with a higher risk of severe disease or death among older people, individuals with an underlying illness, and current and former smokers. Those left unprotected at work are at a greater risk of becoming infected and spreading the virus.

Information on the outbreak and virus is constantly evolving. See the links at the end for the most up-to-date information.

WORKERS AT INCREASED RISK

Working people are at increased risk if they frequently interact with potentially infected or infected individuals. Workers, listed below, are on the front lines and have an increased risk of exposure; however, as the outbreak evolves, all workers may be affected in some way.

  • Health care workers;
  • Emergency responders (e.g., law enforcement, firefighters, EMTs);
  • Airline operations (e.g., pilots, flight attendants, other airport workers);
  • Other transportation operations;
  • Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and TSA workers;
  • Correctional workers;
  • Educators;
  • Cleaning workers;
  • Workers who have been identified as “essential personnel” by their employers during an outbreak or quarantine; and
  • Other workers with broad exposure to the public.

PRIORITIES FOR WORKERS AND UNIONS

  • Comprehensive workplace plans to identify potential exposure routes, controls to mitigate risk, such as isolation, social distancing and personal protective equipment, and training procedures.
  • Emphasis on personal hygiene practices, hand-washing and respiratory etiquette.
  • Protocols to clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Adherence to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations when hosting and attending events or large gatherings. These recommendations may change as the situation evolves.
  • Strong standards and guidance from agencies in charge of protecting different groups of workers that recognize the necessity for airborne protections for front-line workers.
  • Adequate supplies of personal protective equipment, especially N95 respirators and those offering a greater level of protection, and respirator fit testing.
  • Plans for supply shortages, including triage and prioritization.
  • Protocols in case of a workplace or community outbreak, including possible self-quarantine or workplace quarantine.
  • Resources and preparation for a surge in demand for health services, including hospital beds and caregivers.
  • Much greater capacity for coronavirus testing, with a priority for testing health care workers who take care of patients.
  • Policies to make it possible for sick workers, quarantined workers, parents of children whose schools have closed and workers caring for loved ones in these situations to stay at home without the loss of pay, seniority or benefits.
  • Policies to ensure that workers are not discouraged by cost considerations from seeking preventive treatment, testing, ongoing treatment or, eventually, voluntary vaccination.
  • Policies to address the pandemic’s impact on the U.S. economy and on specific sectors, with a guarantee that any sectoral assistance actually benefits workers.

WHAT WE’VE DONE

  • Launched immediate and ongoing response and coordination of information and expertise to address affiliate needs.
  • Petitioned the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to issue an emergency temporary standard for infectious diseases to protect all at-risk workers from COVID-19 and future infectious diseases.
  • Procured supplemental funding that included worker health and safety training in emergency response preparedness and workplace procedures.
  • Requested Congress to pass COVID-19 legislation and economic stimulus legislation that includes priorities of working people.

WHAT WE’RE DOING

  • Working with Congress, federal agencies, and state and local governments to ensure workers are at the forefront of the U.S. strategy to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Ensuring working people have the health and safety resources, training, and tools needed to be protected at work during this crisis.
  • Demanding strong enforceable standards to ensure that employers provide workers the necessary protections to keep them safe from all injuries and illnesses on the job.
  • Strengthening and rebuilding our systems of health care, other worker protections, and economic stabilizers whose weaknesses have been exposed by the crisis.
  • Staying tuned to the AFL-CIO webpage below for the latest developments.

MORE INFORMATION

SPECIAL REPORT: HB 1 ATTACKS!

We interrupt your regularly scheduled programming with this special report!

Last week, Union Members across the state stood up to House Bill 1. As always, there’s nothing more disgusting than union busting!

2020 Legislative Update Week 7: The Sinister Session!

The Sinister Session continues it’s all out assault on Florida’s Democracy! Big Money looks for another hand out and the Florida Legislature is happy to oblige! Our right to direct democracy may soon be rendered to ashes!

All this and more in this week’s Legislative Update, The Sinister Session, your guide to the horror coming out of our State Capitol!

2020 Legislative Update Week 6: The Destruction of Democracy!

FLORIDA’S DEMOCRACY IS UNDER SIEGE! DARKNESS CONTINUES TO SPREAD OVER FLORIDA’S GOVERNMENT! OUR LOCAL GOVERNMENTS SILENCED IN THE NAME OF CORPORATE GREED!

The terror continues in this week’s Legislative Update: The Destruction of Democracy. Tune in to find out the whole story on what’s happening in the State Capitol and how working Floridians are fighting back!

2020 Legislative Update Week 5: Razing Our Rights!

Floridians’ right to organize: under siege! Our say in local governments: consumed by big money! Citizens’ voice in our democracy: stifled by the terror of Tallahassee.

Week five of the 2020 Legislative Session saw the thrills, chills and terror continue from the State Capitol here in Tallahassee. Get the full picture with the newest episode of the Florida AFL-CIO’s Legislative Update: Razing Our Rights!

HB 1: BAD FOR WORKERS, BAD FOR FLORIDA

HB 1 will be heard on the House Floor, Tuesday, March 2nd. This Bill is a Blatant Attack on Florida’s Workers.

Click here to find your Representative and tell them to Vote No on HB1

An out-of-state billionaire funded think tank has cooked up a new scheme to attack the unions representing our teachers, state and municipal workers, law enforcement officers, firefighters and other public sector workers. The bill is similar to policies that have been enacted in Alaska (although currently being blocked by a court order) to change the ways in which union members can keep their membership. 

HB 1 will make it far more difficult for all public sector workers to exercise their constitutional right to stay in their union!  

THE DETAILS

· HB 1 would require dues authorizations to be renewed every three years or upon authorization of a new contract, meaning the union would have to chase down re-authorization forms from members who have no intention of leaving the union.

· After the employer receives a signed dues authorization, deductions would not start until the employer goes on to “confirm with the employee, electronically or by other means, that he or she authorized the deduction of dues and uniform assessments.” This puts the employer in charge of the dues authorization process for the first time in history. Our public sector workers will have an indeterminate period of confusion and fear as they wait for their employer to verify their membership. There is no time frame or penalty for employers in the bill.

Public sector workers understand their Right to Work. This language is intended to tip the scales against membership.

· HB 1 is unnecessary. Florida’s workers NEVER have to join their union. It is their choice and they can cancel their membership at any time.

· HB 1 places a burden on workers who want to be a member in their union. It forces them to reauthorize every three years or upon authorization of a new contract, even though they can already quit at any time.

· HB 1 will create chaos. There are no time limits or other requirements for the employer to confirm the membership authorizations. They can simply ignore the requests for long periods of time.

HB 1 is the product of wealthy out-of-state special interests. The bill does not address any problems in Florida and does nothing to improve the situation for our public sector employees.

TAKE ACTION

Call your Representative and let them know that you stand against this legislation.

Click here to find your Representative and call, tweet and email them against HB 1.

2020 Legislative Update Week 4: The Legislative Leviathan!

New legislation coming out of Tallahassee is seeking to destroy the rights and way of life that all Floridians hold dear!

On the agenda of terror: cloaking our government’s sinister actions from the people, wreaking havoc on our public education system and stealing our voice from direct democracy.

Get the details and find out how working people are fighting back in this week’s Florida AFL-CIO Legislative Update!

2020 Legislative Update Week 3: Horrors in the Halls of Power!

The lethal leviathan that is the Florida Legislature continues it’s campaign of destruction throughout the Sunshine State!

Efforts to further hide the machinations of our State government from the people! The colossus of Tallahassee continued to consume any and all power our local governments have! Direct democracy inches closer to death as big money continues it’s all out assault on the people of Florida!

All this and more in this newest episode of the Florida AFL-CIO’s Legislative Update: Horrors in the Halls of Power!