Covid-19 Changes Everything

As COVID-19 puts the residents of California into shelter-in-place mode for anywhere from two weeks to a much longer time, it’s hard to know what the future will bring. Information about the virus seems to change exponentially on a daily basis.

The District 190 delegates meeting was canceled for March. “We’ll take each month as we go,” Directing Business Representative Jim Beno told The Sparkplug. In mid-March, the federal guidelines canceled meetings of 50 or more people for two months and that’s since been revised to 10 or more. Local unions have jurisdiction over their meetings, so contact your local directly. If you were planning to go to the District 190 Lobster Feed at the end of April, that event has been postponed as well. A new date will be set when everybody is back to work.

The HS&BA staff who manage claims for the AI Health and Welfare Trust Fund will be working from home, processing claims as they come in. They have a contingency plan in place, and all records are privacy-protected. The pension plan will ensure that distribution of pension checks continues automatically on the first of each month. “We’re working with employers whose clerical staff are working from home to ensure that they are not late in sending in their health and welfare payments, because if they’re late, members could encounter eligibility problems,” says Beno.

Most contract negotiations are on hold, for now. Many employer reps are on travel restriction and can’t participate in face-to-face meetings. “We’re using electronic conferencing tools to work out contract proposals and extensions. However, union voting procedures currently require all members to be together for a ratification vote. The International is investigating mail balloting or electronic voting procedures that can be used for ratification votes during this crisis,” Beno adds. As the economy has screeched to a near halt, it’s hard to know what will happen—not only during the shelter-in-place period, but also after. All members should be aware that they can still contact their union representative by phone, text or email. All representatives are working remotely and are staying on top of the many problems created by this situation. Numerous members are impacted by school closures—not only because they work with schools, but also because their children are now home—possibly through the summer. “It’s too soon to tell exactly how the quarantines and work stoppages will impact the economy, our jobs and our union,” said Beno.

Virus aside, the 2020 census is more important than ever!

Every 10 years, everyone living in the U.S. gets counted. It’s called the census. The 2020 Census will provide a snapshot of our nation—our population, where we live, and so much more. More than $700 billion in federal funding is distributed to states and communities each year. These funds support vital community programs such as schools, hospitals, housing, and food assistance. The California labor movement is committed to educating and engaging our members and their families on the Census to ensure a fair and accurate count.

CENSUS 101: Why you need to fill out the 2020 census

Funding for our Communities
» School lunches. Hospitals. Housing. Infrastructure. Support for families in need.
Federal funding shapes our communities’ everyday needs.
A Voice for California Workers
» Residents can use the census to support community initiatives involving
legislation, quality-of-life and worker-focused advocacy.
Funding for Union Jobs
» The federal funds based on the Census results support hundreds of thousands
of jobs in the public and private sector, most of which are union.
No Citizenship Question
» The Supreme Court ruled that the citizenship question cannot be added to the
2020 Census.
Safe and Confidential
» The government will not release personally identifiable information about an
individual to any other individual or agency until 72 years after the census is taken.
Super Accessible
» Fill out the census ONLINE! By Phone or Mail



March 26-April 3
Reminder postcard mailed. Don’t
delay, be sure to fill out your census
form before April 30.
April 1
April 8-16
Reminder and hard copy
questionnaire will be mailed
April 20-27
Final postcards mailed before an in-person
follow-up (which will likely be

Labor & Workforce Development Agency Resources

In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Labor & Workforce Development Agency (LWDA) wants to keep workers, employers, co-workers, and families safe.

What employees are entitled to may be confusing.

The LWDA has centralized all the information regarding Unemployment, Disability, Paid Sick Leave, FMLA and much, much more.



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IAM Presidential Endorsement

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Supreme Court: Employees must be paid exit search time

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Due to COVID pandemic, before heading to any event give the Local a call to see if it’s been cancelled.

Buy Union

Union-made Spring Cleaning Products

You can call it Spring cleaning, or coronavirus cleaning, but it’s a good idea to keep your hands washed and all the surfaces in your home clean and these are the union-made products to help you do just that.

Fast Facts

  • 139,000 The number of new union members in California as a result of union organizing drives in 2019. (The total number of California union members is 2.72 million – or 16.5% of the state‘s labor force.)

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