✅COVID-19 UPDATE: 105 on the Frontlines

As we continue to grapple with unprecedented public health and economic crisis unlike anything seen in our lifetimes, it’s our healthcare, janitorial, mental health, security, airport, and members across Colorado who are on the frontlines of this pandemic, protecting us all. 

On behalf of our union, I want to express how proud we are to support and represent you, the heroes our communities depend on every day, especially during this great time of need. Your courage and dedication are unwavering and inspiring. Thank you.

As a union, we are engaging at all levels to protect our members from the coronavirus and demanding action to protect the wages and income of our members, and all working people. Despite this, we know our members are facing many challenges on both of these fronts. We are outreaching to member leaders and using as many communication tools as possible to keep our members informed. 

In healthcare, while we are engaged with all of our employers and fighting for our members—there are still significant issues with members having the supplies, protective equipment, and training they need to protect themselves and our patients. In addition, members are facing disruption to their normal work hours & locations. We are continuing to demand what is needed from employers—and the government—to get what is needed to protect healthcare workers and protect pay if quarantined. We are sending out regular updates to our members about what is happening by specific employer. We also encourage all members to raise issues with your Steward, your Organizer, or by calling this dedicated hotline:

Healthcare Member Line 303-727-8018

In property services and at the Airport, members are facing similar challenges in having the necessary supplies, equipment, and training to protect themselves and the people we serve while at work. In addition, layoffs of our members have already started within property services. We are demanding that employers provide the necessary items and training for protection and for employees who are laid off to receive extended pay and healthcare benefits from their employers; as well as being paid if quarantined. We will keep members updated as employers respond to these demands. We also encourage all members to raise issues with your Steward, your Organizer or by calling these dedicated hotlines:

Airport Member Line 303-727-8074

Property Service Member Line 303-727-8066

We have also been active on the public advocacy front. The goals are twofold 1) Demanding that all employees be protected as much as possible from contracting the coronavirus who are still working and 2) Demanding that all workers who lose hours or their jobs are protected from economic harm as much as possible. 

In fact, on Tuesday this week, we helped organize a remote video press conference of members and workers that called for a “People’s Bailout” that included both of these areas of demands. Click here to view the coverage of our worker-led press conference on Fox 31.

At a national level, SEIU has launched a “Protect All Workers” campaign that calls for the following:

  • Fully-funded and accessible healthcare for every worker in America, including 12 weeks’ paid leave and 100%-paid testing and treatment for COVID-19.
  • Job, wage, and economic security for every worker through industry funds for lost wages, child care costs, debt relief, and housing assistance.
  • Immediate investment in the health and safety of every worker, including continuing access to personal protective equipment and training, now and in the future.
  • Working families at the center of every emergency relief package, with healthcare and financial support for working families, prioritized over executive pay, shareholders, and profits.

These broad calls for action to protect all workers are needed because 90% of all American workers have no union to assist them. Despite the many challenges our members are facing, the stories emerging from non-union environments are even worse. 

Workers have been fired for contracting the coronavirus, workers are being laid-off with no recourse to any process at all, many workers lack access to any paid sick time, and workers are facing extremely dangerous conditions at work without a collective way to address it with their employers. Also, some issues–like the critical lack of supplies and protective equipment need government intervention to fully solve them.

Throughout this crisis, our union is still doing everything we can to assist and fight for our members. Please visit our website at seiu105.org for all COVID-19 resources and updates. Please call the dedicated support lines if you have questions or need assistance. We will continue to advocate for and represent our members to the best of our abilities, despite the unprecedented nature of this crisis.

I’ll close with this: the fundamental value of solidarity in the labor movement is needed now more than ever. A crisis such as this makes it clear that, as a nation, we are all in this together…and we will get through this together. This crisis has exposed the deep flaws in a low-wage and mostly non-union economy. 

When workers lack the basics of paid sick time and healthcare they can afford—it endangers all of us. When workers lack the ability to raise their voice at work for what is needed—it makes us all more vulnerable. That’s why it is important that we keep fighting for our members—and all working people. And, that is what we will continue to do no matter the challenges we all face right now.

In Solidarity,

Ron Ruggiero
SEIU Local 105