For Immediate Release:
November 19, 2020
Contacts: Christopher Hundley, firstname.lastname@example.org
and Al Smith, email@example.com
Beaver County Continues to Put Workers, Community At Risk
Once again, workers and the general public have been put at-risk after an unnecessary COVID-19 exposure in Beaver County. After testing positive, a county employee came into the office, refused to wear a mask while in the Beaver County Courthouse, and knowingly exposed a number of county workers in meetings throughout the day. Because the Courthouse remains open to the general public, members of the community have been exposed to this highly contagious virus as well. As of today, November 19th, there are already nearly two dozen county workers who have contracted coronavirus in the last two weeks, and we expect that number to rise with this latest exposure.
These new COVID-19 cases are a direct result of the Beaver County Commissioners continual failure to provide swift, consistent, and clear workplace safety policies for county workers to keep them and the public safe during the pandemic. Because Commissioners Jack Manning, Daniel Camp, and Tony Amadio refuse to provide proper guidance to department heads, there is no clear policy for Human Resources to follow when a worker or someone from the public enters a county building and exposes others to COVID. Instead, each department head gets to decide how to handle this ongoing pandemic themselves. Unfortunately, this means that different workers in the same building are being told contradictory things as managers handle exposure and quarantine situations in radically different ways.
“The commissioners don’t care at all about county workers,” says SEIU Local 668 member and Beaver County chief shop steward Joe Mann. “They refuse to do anything at all in their power to help protect workers, our families, and our community. It’s dangerous they’re not taking their elected positions seriously to protect the health and wellbeing of so many Beaver County residents.”
SEIU Local 668 continues to demand that Manning, Camp, and Amadio release and enforce a comprehensive and clear COVID-19 workplace safety plan – one that is consistent with federal and state public health standards on COVID-19 and that is applicable to all county workers. These guidelines must include, at a minimum:
- One standard set of rules for county workers to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 infections to the greatest extent possible;
Clear protocols for rapid notifications of possible exposure to all county employees;
Implementation guidelines for the enforcement of the Secretary of Health’s mitigation measures, effective November 20th.
We also call on the Beaver County Commissioners to close down all county-run buildings to the public and institute sweeping telework for workers wherever possible. It’s shameful that these county leaders, who are willingly attending large gatherings like bachelor parties, recklessly extend their risky behavior to the hard-working public servants under their authority.
With infection and mortality rates across the Commonwealth and the nation surging, we must demand our leaders adhere to their oath of office and protect those they’ve sworn to serve. Beaver’s County Commissioners must do everything in their power to stop the spread now – not when hospitals and healthcare facilities are overrun with their own county workers and residents.
About SEIU Local 668
SEIU Local 668 represents nearly 20,000 health and human services workers, including those
who work as employment and youth counselors, social workers, corrections and probation
officers, ChildLine and 911 operators, drug and alcohol counselors, and court employees, among others. Approximately half of our members are employed by the Commonwealth, and another 9,000 work for the municipal, county, and private employers across the state. Our members are a diverse group of individuals, of varying ethnicities, political affiliations, and beliefs, but they are united by their dedication to serving our constituents – the people of Pennsylvania.