The Center for Workers’ Rights and the Sacramento Central Labor Council worked closely with Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg and members of the city council to draft and pass the Sacramento Worker Protection, Health and Safety ordinance (Sacramento City Code Chapter 5.160.010 et seq.), which was approved by the council this evening.
Through our conversations with workers who have called into our Coronavirus Job Protection Helpline it is abundantly clear that the safety protocols and paid sick day protections exclude too many workers and fail to protect workers from the spread of the virus. In our letter of support to the Sacramento City Council we related stories from some of the workers who have called us for support:
- Custodial workers at a state-level government agency who were given inadequate cleaning supplies and no protective equipment to sterilize the workplace. The cleaning supplies were too weak to rid the workplace of COVID-19; thus, endangering staff and the public.
- A childcare employer who endangered employees and children by failing to maintain the cleanliness of the workplace and by not complying with face-covering guidelines nor distancing guidelines.
- Call center representatives who were put at an elevated risk of contracting COVID-19 because the employer failed to implement distancing guidelines and allowed sick employees to enter the workplace. Hundreds of employees were placed in the same room within arm-length of one another.
- Staff at a medical facility who were given inadequate protective equipment; thus, putting them at an increased risk for contracting COVID-19 and spreading it to both the public and other patients.
- Sales associates were put at an elevated risk of contracting COVID-19 because the employer did not provide employees with cleaning nor protective equipment, did not implement and enforce mask-wearing policies among employees and customers, and failed to maintain the cleanliness of the workplace.
While current law allows these workers to ask their employer to create a most safe working environment, lack of adequate enforcement procedures and the inability to refuse unsafe without substantial risk of the loss of their job, allows employers to disregard these requests without consequence. This ordinance helps enforce the required health and safety protections and better protects workers in Sacramento.
To report unsafe conditions at your workplace, call our Coronavirus Job Protection Helpline at 916-905-1625 or dial 211 or 311 in the City or County of Sacramento and select 1.