The Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO is actively monitoring the situation. We are working closely with the AFL-CIO, our affiliated international unions, government agency partners, and employers to develop recommendations and guidelines.
Please check back frequently as this situation is rapidly developing.
NEW: Directives for Shelter in Place
- Washington State Governor Issues Directive
- Oregon Governor Orders Shelter in Place
- Department of Homeland Security Memo on Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During COVID-19 Response
- Memo from President Hart to Portland MTC President Pat Christenson regarding Oregon/ Washington State Shelter in Place order
FOR QUESTIONS REGARDING COVID-19 AND YOUR WORKPLACE CALL THE MTD HOTLINE
The Metal Trades Department Hotline
The MTD has set up a hotline to answer questions regarding the COVID-19 Virus and your workplace.
West Coast call: 202-508-3707
East Coast call: 202-508-3730
About the Coronavirus Outbreak
“COVID-19,” a new coronavirus, has been identified as the cause of a cluster of severe pneumonia cases that emerged in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China in December 2019.
Thousands of contacts are under observation and hundreds of cases have been confirmed in Wuhan. Additional cases have been identified in the United States and several other countries around the globe.
The virus is a coronavirus, which is a large family of viruses that can infect animals and/or humans. COVID-19 is similar to the viruses that cause SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome).
Symptoms include fever and/or symptoms of lower respiratory illness such as coughing or difficulty breathing.
With some viruses, the infectious period precedes symptoms and with other viruses it coincides with symptoms.
Human-to-human transmission is confirmed. However, whether the disease is transmitted via contact, droplet, or aerosol remains unknown. It is also unknown whether asymptomatic cases are infectious.
Employers Must Prepare to Keep Workers Safe
There is often debate about what actions to take and when they should be taken in situations where knowledge is lacking about a specific health threat. Employers often prioritize saving money over safe care and wait to act. Delay in action is unacceptable.
Please see the links below for the most up-to-date information on this rapidly evolving situation.
- World Health Organization (WHO) Situation Reports
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Coronavirus Situation Summary
- U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration COVID-19 Overview
- European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control’s Worldwide Situation Update
Ways to protect yourself and others from coronavirus:
There is currently no vaccine to prevent Corona virus infection, the best way to protect yourself from infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus.
The following advice from the UN lists everyday habits that can help prevent the spread of the virus:
- Frequently wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue when sneezing or coughing.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with anyone who has a fever or cough.
- Stay at home if you are sick.
- Seek early medical help if you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, and share your travel history with healthcare providers.
- Avoid direct, unprotected contact with live animals and surfaces in contact with animals when visiting live markets in affected areas.
- Avoid eating raw or undercooked animal products and exercise care when handling raw meat, milk or eggs to avoid cross-contamination.
Nurses Battling Coronavirus Beg for Protective Gear and Better Planning The New York Times (March 6, 2020)
Unions Helped Stop the Spread of Ebola. They’re Trying Again with Coronavirus In the Public Interest (March 4, 2020)
Coronavirus Reveal a Gaping Hole in U.S. Workplace Safety Law HuffPost (March 4, 2020)
Medicare Now Covers Coronavirus Testing Medicare.gov (March 1, 2020)
AFT President Randi Weingarten on COVID-19 and school preparedness CNN (March 1, 2020)
Unions Call on Trump Adminstration for More Robust Coronavirus Response CNN (Feb. 4, 2020)
Guidance and Resources
Government of Canada: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Disease
Latest News from the Department on COVID-19
The Department of Labor (DOL) has issued the attached poster that covered employers have to post in their workplaces. The poster advises employees of their rights under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) to paid leave and expanded benefits under the...
In a letter to all Senators on March 16, MTD President James Hart urged them to act swiftly to pass the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201). Hart wrote, "While this package is not a complete response to the crisis, it is an urgent measure that will get...
Washington, DC—The Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO is urging the House, Senate and White House to pull together in developing policies that will help ensure that America’s hourly and salaried workers will not have to choose between their health and making ends meet....
A new coronavirus, COVID-19, originating in Wuhan, China, has spread rapidly across the globe. While there is currently no evidence of widespread transmission in the United States, federal health officials have said that spread of the virus within the country is...