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COVID-19 Update: March 25, 2020

March 25, 2020

As the situation with COVID-19 continues to evolve and the Governor and each County Mayor put into practice measures to address the conditions, HGEA is working hard to resolve hundreds of workplace issues and concerns that you have. We know that the lack of consistent policies across departments and jurisdictions is causing upset and confusion. Your health and safety and the health and safety of our communities is our priority. Today, HGEA Executive Director Randy Perreira participated in a conference call with the Human Resources Directors of all jurisdictions seeking answers to the issues that members are bringing forward. Director Perreira has and continues to meet with top leaders such as the governor and mayors to express our concerns and to get issues resolved. Our staff is continuously gathering information from Union stewards and members about what is happening at each job site so that we can work to resolve these problems with the employers. Our priority is resolution however we will file grievances where needed. HGEA field managers are meeting by phone or teleconference with their counterparts at every jurisdiction. HGEA wants you to know that we are working together and working for you.

Many common concerns include inadequate enforcement of social distancing, lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) and difficulties with telework approval just to name a few. On the issue of social distancing, we know from seeing it ourselves and from members sending us photos that there are still problems. HGEA is taking those photos and information straight to the leaders of the jurisdictions so that they can take swift action and make changes. On the issue of PPE, this is a global problem. Here in Hawaii, hospitals are already putting out public pleas for PPE. We are asking everyone to step up and do what you can. Make sure to social distance, practice good hygiene (wash your hands for at least 20 seconds), clean high touch surfaces at home and at work (soap and water is recommended if you don’t have Clorox wipes), stay home when you are sick. Follow the protocols from our members at the Hawaii Department of Health. Another issue that continues to come up is that of fairness. In this time of a worldwide pandemic everyone needs to realize that there will be situations that are not fair. Again, we all have to do our part to keep our communities safe and healthy but we continue to listen to you and work with the employers for resolution.

In times of crisis, the best and worst comes out in people. HGEA thanks you, our dedicated government workers who are leading as shining examples of the good all of you do. Whether your role is on the front lines at the Department of Health, at our airports, the Department of Human Services, serving the public in countless ways such as public safety, behind the scenes making sure people get paid or keeping government IT systems running -- just to name a few, HGEA members make government run. Those who are teleworking or sheltering-in-place at home are also a vitally important piece of this puzzle to stop or slow the spread of COVID-19. Staying at home is critically important if you are ordered to do so. Mahalo for all that you do and thank you for standing strong with HGEA. We are all in this together and we will get through it together.

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