Paid Pandemic Leave for Saint Paul City Workers

This petition made change with 4,450 supporters!

In his first speech as mayor, Melvin Carter said this about city employees: “See, at City Hall, we don’t have time for prolonged debate or partisan gridlock, because the moment always demands action: When our families are snowed in, city workers plow us out. When our children get out of school, city workers help them with their homework. And in our most horrific moments, when everyone else runs away, city workers race to help.”

Mayor Carter is not wrong that city workers are often at the forefront of addressing their community’s most dire needs. The Library is more than a building full of books- it is a hub for the community, a place to find help, access to the internet, after-school programs for youth, employment assistance and more. Recreation Centers are the nexus points where our communities are strengthened through the work of dedicated staff. Our inspectors in DSI keep St. Paul developed and keep buildings and residents safe. Our OTC technicians keep our computer programs up and running, water technicians keep our drinking water safe, and our horticulturalists keep St. Paul beautiful. We have tech workers in Public Works, Police and Fire, Video and IT. There are too many to name, but know that AFSCME makes St. Paul happen.

Now, in this frightening and unpredictable time, with the  COVID19 pandemic halting our community’s daily life, suspended city workers are left with a lot of uncertainty about their futures and need their leaders to help them. Dedicated city workers deserve to maintain a sense of stability, safety, and security for both themselves and their families in this emergency. This unprecedented crisis demands unprecedented strength and action to protect frontline workers and the people who manage them. 

Currently, Saint Paul City Workers are: 

  • Suspended from work, with the option to work from home being denied
  • Asked to use PTO (sick, vacation, and Earned Sick and Safe Time, or ESST)
  • Given the option to use up to 80 hours of Paid Emergency Pandemic Leave (prorated for part-time employees)
  • Given the option to accrue up to 80 hours of negative ESST
    After limits have been reached, they are subject to lay offs

We find this unacceptable and not a viable solution during this pandemic. With no idea when we will be able to return to work, we need a more sustainable solution that ensures economic security and personal safety to carry us through the COVID19 pandemic. 

In the best interests of our colleagues and our community, our demands are the following: 

To protect the health and well-being of city workers and the St. Paul residents we serve, we call upon the City to provide:

  1. Paid Emergency Pandemic Leave for employees who are ill, taking care of loved ones due to illness or school/daycare closures, or Government mandated closures.  Employees should not be forced to drain existing sick or vacation accruals and employees have the right to save them for when they do fall ill or need to take time off in the future. Employees should not be forced to accrue negative sick and vacation hours as this is not a responsible and viable solution during this pandemic, and in fact further jeopardize employees’ well-being and future job stability and pay. We request the City of St. Paul provide an Emergency Leave Fund for the pandemic throughout the duration of the leave.
  2. An extension of all benefits, including medical, throughout the Emergency Pandemic Leave to ensure no gap in coverage.
  3. An opportunity for employees who can work remotely to do so. Managers and supervisors require a daily list of who is working from home and/or if anyone is out ill.
  4. Closure of all services that are not essential and payment of employees from the Emergency Pandemic Leave Fund.
  5. Distribution of cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer to work sites that are open to aid in the containment of the virus and include personal protective equipment as needed.  This includes all public buildings being cleaned and sanitized including all common areas.
  6. We request to be included in planning meetings that impact our members.

Here’s what you can do to help your local leadership fight for better solutions:

  1. First, review and sign our petition that includes our solution and demands. We will deliver this petition to the Mayor on Monday morning.
  2. Take this action - Email Mayor Carter and Council Members 
  3. Take this action - Call Mayor Carter and Council Members
  4. Take this action - share the petition via your social media network.

In Solidarity,

Activists and Members of AFSCME 1842

**Please note, after signing the petition you may be prompted to donate. This money does not go to us, but to to fund promotion. This is not necessary and we are only asking our networks to share manually, not donate.

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