City extends union-backed worker protections
By Sheri Williams
As the pandemic continues to take its toll on frontline workers, the City of Sacramento has extended protections that the Sacramento Central Labor Council helped to craft.
Last June, the Sacramento City Council passed a new safety measure in partnership with the Sacramento Central Labor Council to help protect essential workers by ensuring they have access to protective gear, time off and safe working conditions.
Though the rules were set to expire, the city has extended them through March.
“We are gratified that the city of Sacramento and our Councilmembers understand that it is vital to protect our most vulnerable workers as we ask them to help our community slowly bounce back from this devastating time,” said SCLC executive director Fabrizio Sasso. “Too many of our friends, colleagues and families have lost someone to Covid-19, and these protections are essential to keeping us all safe.”
As Sacramento has moved through multiple phases of re-opening, those protections have been key in allowing workers in industries including retail, food and healthcare to keep themselves and their families safe.
Under the ordinance, any local business that received federal funding through the CARES Act is subject to strict new safety measures, and can face enforcement if they fail to comply.
When the ordinance was passed, Sasso called it a “critical safeguard for Sacramento workers.”
The local law mandates that employers follow strict social distancing measures both for staff and customers, as well as cleaning and disinfecting protocols as established by federal standards. Those requirements include ensuring access to cleaning and sanitizing supplies for all staff. Employers must also regularly clean break rooms, locker rooms, dining facilities and other places where workers may congregate and supply masks for workers in close proximity to each other or customers. Workers must be informed of these protections in writing.
The measure also ensures workers are protected if they do face exposure or illness by mandating that employers must provide 80 hours of paid sick leave for full-time employees in most circumstances for those exposed and in need of quarantine, or for those caring for an exposed family member.
The paid leave also covers employees who are over 65 and may be vulnerable, and those who have lost childcare due to closures of schools and other facilities.