Beginning with the Omicron surge, SEIU Local 73 members at two Jewish Community Center (JCC) preschool sites, JCC Beth Emet and JCC Florence Heller, organized to push upper-management for better COVID protections at their schools, including paid COVID leave. Many members reported having to use up all their sick and/or vacation time, or go unpaid, because they happened to contract COVID, a situation out of their control. A committee of members met with upper management to voice concerns, but management kept telling the union that there was no money in the budget for COVID leave and that it wasn’t a priority. Beth Emet and Heller members continued to take action collectively: they signed petitions, coordinated a day when they wore SEIU “Pay Us, Protect Us, Respect Us” face masks at work, spoke up at an EC COVID town hall, and more.
SEIU Local 73 is excited to share that upper management finally agreed to a new policy for all union staff that allows for two paid days of COVID leave going forward, which is retroactive to April 1, 2021. While we believe JCC should cover more than just two days, this new paid leave JCC members now have access to is a step in the right direction to provide some relief to staff. We will continue to push in the future for full COVID leave.
This was the result of organizing at just two sites. When members come together and get involved, there is much that the union can accomplish. We congratulate all the members who helped make this happen.
Our power in numbers is our power as a union to create change in the workplace.