Page 15 - Work Force July-August 2020
P. 15

Members outfit DSS
building with COVID-19
safety protections
 MEXICO — As many Oswego County Department of Social Services employees worked remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic, county building and grounds crew members were preparing for the workers’
and the public’s return by outfitting workstations to help protect against exposure to COVID-19.
CSEA members Rick Doten, Rob Godfrey, Mike Fortier, and Rich Coon built Plexiglas shields for workstations at which employees might come into contact with the public.
“For any workstation that had the public coming [into contact with], we built these so they could slide papers under and just put the panels up so that we could protect the people on either side,” Doten said.
And as staff slowly began to come
back, members were ecstatic with the changes.
“The employees liked them obviously and they thought they should be permanent because any time you’re interacting with the public, like during flu season, there’s a risk to the workers,” Godfrey said.
But it wasn’t just putting up the Plexiglas shields around the building, the crew’s workshop actually got transformed into a distribution center for personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks, gowns, gloves and hand sanitizer.
Fortier said the employees would work on building and installing the Plexiglas structures in the morning and would spend the rest of their day delivering PPE to various worksites across the county ensuring that other essential employees could
Rob Godfrey, left, and Rick Doten sit across from the Plexiglas shields they installed at the Oswego DSS building. Now members will have a layer of protection when interacting with the public.
be safe, too.
Oswego County Local President
Helen Chetney said that some members were apprehensive about returning to the office, but hopefully
with some of the safety precautions our union family helped put in place, they’ll feel more comfortable in their workplace.
— Nicholas Newcomb
 Helping people in need
State Department of Taxation and Finance (Albany) Local 1st Vice President Lori Jubic, right, and a young volunteer, back to camera, hand milk to State Department of Transportation (Albany) Local President Jennifer Murdza to load into a waiting car during a recent drive-thru food pantry in Albany. The event had a tremendous showing of labor solidarity and community support as CSEA members joined other union volunteers sorting, packing and loading groceries for Capital District residents in need. The event was hosted by the Capital District Area Labor Federation and the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York provided the food.
  Rich Coon, left, and Mike Fortier stand near one of the structures they helped build that will help protect Oswego County Department of Social Services workers and the public from potential exposure to COVID-19. The workers have also been vigilant in cleaning and sanitizing the building.
 July-August 2020
The Work Force 15

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