Brothers and sisters – These are unsure and trying times for us all. So, let me first begin by thanking you for remaining composed while taking the necessary precautions. I don’t need to reiterate them here, you all have been getting emails, listening to the news or otherwise receiving information regarding personal care and hygiene.

This communication conveys to you the ongoing representation and support that I am doing on your behalf and with your continued feedback. From the start and throughout the developing issues regarding the coronavirus disease and its impact on this nation and NYS, I have been in communications by email, phone and in-person with DASNY management. I want to personally thank Paul Koopman for understanding my role as your President and providing open communication and collaboration regarding your increased concerns and the impact this health crisis has on you and DASNY. During this past week, I’ve received increased communications from members regarding client response (school / facility closings), community response (closing of community services and schools) and personal concerns. I have communicated and discussed with Paul every bit of information provided to me, your Local 698 officers, and Shop Stewards.

Management has increased communication to staff addressing just about every issue that Local 698 has brought to their attention. Outstanding questions will be addressed in the coming days. Among those questions are leave and/or telecommuting options for employees who have school-aged children where schools have been closed, and telecommuting options in the event that DASNY offices or field sites close. Management will issue notifications as the situation changes and pursuant to Governor Cuomo’s directive.

ACTION:  Monitor your work email and be watchful of NYS Alerts. If major decisions are made this weekend, that is how you will find out. If you are not already signed up for NYS Alert, do it today.

Local 698 cannot force these communications, nor can we force the decision regarding telecommuting. What the Local can do is:

  • Advocate on your behalf should a situation occur that has not been already addressed
  • Advocate for a change where you may be negatively impacted by a management decision
  • Collaborate with management on identifying solutions to issues as they present themselves
  • Continue to work with management to ensure that you have a safe and healthy workplace

This health crisis has forced local and state governments to make policy changes to issues that the labor community has been advocating for a very long time: paid sick leave, alternative work schedules, telecommuting, vacation leave threshold, and other safety and health issues. Local 698 will utilize all that has been learned from this circumstance to continue internal conversations with management where these issues impact our members.

Last, I want to encourage all of you to continue to communicate directly to your Local 698 Officers. We need to know if closings happen at your site, communities where you live or work are quarantined, or any other issue brought on by the coronavirus disease crisis that affects you as a DASNY employee.

Please continue to practice safe and healthy habits, make good decisions regarding community or social activities, and exercise good judgment when making travel decisions.

In Solidarity & Unionism

Liz Moran, President Local 698 (518-728-3974 or presidentlocal698@outlook.com)