In response to the signing of the new COVID supplemental paid sick leave legislation, IBEW 1245 Business Manager Bob Dean issued the following statement:
“Reinstituting paid COVID sick leave is the right thing to do for our workers, our families and our communities. It’s also a common-sense public health strategy, which is why IBEW Local 1245 joined the California Labor movement to make it a top priority when the Omicron surge emerged. We are proud to have played a part in this extraordinary, labor-driven victory, and we thank the Legislature and the Governor for their quick and decisive action on this critical issue.
“A broad coalition of labor unions, including IBEW 1245, was at the table every step of the way as the bill moved through the Legislature. We voiced our concerns over early proposals that would have limited availability of paid sick leave, or potentially allowed employers to require workers to report to work without testing when symptoms may be present. We raised issues around the possibility of COVID getting into the workplaces of emergency responders, including utility workers, and noted that had the Omicron surge occurred just a few weeks earlier, before the severe winter storms in December, it could have severely hindered our members’ ability to respond to power outages, and customers could have been out of power much longer, putting life and property at greater risk.
“In order for all essential workers to continue to perform their essential duties, they need access to paid sick leave to use when they or their family members are sick with COVID. As the Omicron surge thankfully subsides, workers across the state appreciate the fact that they will still have access to up to 80 hours of leave, should another surge or variant present itself in the coming months.”