SEIU Local 668 is outraged that our Children and Youth members in Blair County continue to be at-risk because of the County’s lack of forethought and planning. While most other counties have instituted improved protocols to protect the safety of workers and the public, Blair County has refused to take the type of actions needed that are necessary during this pandemic to save lives.
In other counties across the Commonwealth, like Erie, Berks, York, and Lehigh, social workers have been given the opportunity to work from home to reduce the spread of COVID-19. But, after multiple conversations with union representatives, the Blair County Commissioners are refusing to enact basic telework measures to mitigate harm to the community, and insist workers continue to see the general public and hold face-to-face interviews inside the Blair County Courthouse.
“If the Commissioners in Blair mandate that workers must come into the courthouse every day, then they should also make the same effort to implement even the most basic of safety procedures,” SEIU Local 668 president Steve Catanese said Friday. “We continue to see employers across the Commonwealth who will not enact good, protective policies to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. By refusing to enact telework and not cleaning surfaces inside and outside of the courthouse to CDC-recommended standards, Blair County is one of those employers.”
“Thus far, they’ve refused to work with us to protect their staff and these are the results. They need to do better now, before workers get sick and spread the virus to the residents they serve in Blair,” Catanese continued.
Our Children and Youth members in Blair County can do what their counterparts at other counties are doing by moving all meetings and interviews to online or phone platforms. Unfortunately, the general public is still coming into their building without any medical screening and door knobs, countertops and phones are sanitized by shift but the public still entering puts a strain on custodial staff to keep up. “The lack of sanitation is paramount,” one SEIU Local 668 member in Blair County stressed. “We want to be working; to ensure Blair County kids are safe. We’re just asking to be protected to the greatest degree possible.” SEIU Local 668 is calling on Blair County to immediately implement telework for all possible County employees to help prevent employees, as well as the general public, from contracting COVID-19.