Dear Brothers and Sisters,
On Wednesday April 15, the County will issue a Department-wide order for employees to wear a face covering – it is not yet known whether the order will be mandatory or best practice. This will update the current requirement for masks in the Halls and Camps. The County will be providing two non-surgical, washable masks to all employees.
Juvenile Hall and Camp staff will receive surgical masks for supervision of symptomatic minors given close proximity and social distancing requirements in working with these juveniles. The County-wide mask order is intended to prevent and slow the spread of COVID-19 in the work environment.
The Probation Department has not confirmed a single positive test for any juvenile in a Probation Camp or Juvenile Hall.
Out of 3,400 bargaining unit members, 9 of our Brothers and Sisters have tested positive for COVID-19 and have been quarantined for 14 days. Through contact tracing, the Probation Department continues to follow DPH protocol. Employees that came into contact – for more than 10 minutes and within 6 feet – two days before the staff that received confirmation of a positive test for COVID-19 were sent home.
Total Department numbers regarding employees on quarantine are forthcoming. Each work location/office in which staff tested positive was deep cleaned and disinfected.
Executive Board Collaboration with Probation Management
We continue to make progress in addressing concerns raised by Local 685 in the COVID-19 conference calls. The Probation Department has ramped up its available supply of gloves, hand sanitizers, and wipes, and has ordered thousands of masks that will be available to members starting as early as Monday of next week.
Department representatives have reported that there are less holdovers, more employees are available for deployment to the Juvenile Halls and Camps from the field, and employees generally are beginning to feel safer in spite of the Department’s reassignment of non-case carrying field officers and other staff in Central Adult Investigation and ASCOT Deputies.
As of March 16, Probation Camp juvenile numbers are down to 311. In the Juvenile Halls, there is a total population of 384 juveniles. As the numbers in the Halls and Camps is reduced, the required redeployment of Field staff to the Halls and Camps may decrease. At the same time, the Department will need to continue managing staffing in order to protect the youth in custody and to prepare for a potential COVID-19 surge requiring a rapid shift in operational needs.
We are seeing more collaboration in real time as specific problems are being addressed on a case-by-case basis. For the safety of Local 685 members, Union leadership will continue the joint-labor management partnership approach to addressing the challenges of this health pandemic.
With more than 2-3 weeks ahead in planning for a potential surge, your Executive Board has established a mechanism to notify management of pending issues affecting members (reassignments, medical slips, deployment, overtime, supplies, etc.) and for management to respond in real time to address the need. We will continue to work the joint-labor management approach to protect your health and safety.
President, AFSCME Local 685