We are living in unprecedented times. COVID-19 has created an alarming situation for all working people, and that includes Unifor members in Canada. Over the past few days, we have been listening and responding to many of you who have expressed concerns and questions about the economic fallout of the pandemic.
In hospitality and gaming, education, retail, airlines, auto and more, we are facing mass layoffs. Health care workers, already pushed to the breaking point, are preparing to bravely treat patients of this pandemic, and prevent further spread in long-term care homes. In many sectors, including transportation, telecommunications, retail and pharmacies, vital work continues, and workers need protection.
Unifor is treating this situation very seriously and has created a task force, led by National Secretary Treasurer Lana Payne to provide you the latest information. This includes our list of demands from government to keep you healthy, and to mitigate financial hardship.
Unifor’s position is that federal and provincial governments are not acting fast enough to properly stop the spread of the coronavirus before our health care system is completely overrun, and before more Canadians get sick.
Jerry wrote to the federal government on March 12 to make key demands that would protect workers. Without the adequate response measures in place, too many workers will face a difficult choice between going to work while sick and making ends meet. Jerry has been in constant contact with politicians and policy makers, pushing for measures to assist workers.
The webpage www.unifor.org/covid19 is your one-stop hub for union information about the pandemic response. You will find resources and new, printable, sector specific information sheets along with regular updates from the task force. Unifor has adopted an all hands-on deck approach to supporting members during these challenging and uncertain times. We have worked every day to answer questions, communicate with employers, and call on governments to flatten the curve and respect working people in this time of crisis.
If you have questions, we have answers, about EI sickness benefits, work absences, in-person meetings, and refusing work, read our Frequently Asked Questions on COVID-19 .
For the latest public health information, contact your local health agency, listed here on our resources page.
We have also compiled a COVID-19 Checklist for income replacement that sets out the possible measures that may be available for income replacement events including; sickness due to COVID-19, isolation or quarantine, family care obligations, and layoff or business closures.
We do not know how this crisis will evolve. What is certain is your union will continue to monitor the situation and keep you posted on what you need to know.
Now, more than ever, we have to work together to strengthen our connection, our communities, and our vision for working people in Canada.