Coronavirus “COVID-19” and Your Workplace

March 19, 2020

As you may have heard, tonight Governor Newsom issued a stay-at-home order covering all of California. (

For those of you who live and/or work in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, Sacramento, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, San Francisco, San Mateo and Solano Counties: this statewide stay-at-home order still exempts the same “essential services” and permits them to continue despite the mandate. This means that if you live/work in these counties and continued to work after the county stay-at-home order was issued because your job was deemed essential, your employer will likely continue to operate. In other words, this order doesn’t change whether your job is considered to be “essential.”

For those of you who do not live and/or work in a county that previously issued a county-wide stay-at-home order: while the order will mean many people will be required to stay-at-home, there are a number of exemptions. There are 16 critical infrastructure sectors/industries that are exempt and whose services will continue (see the full list here: Some examples of services that are allowed to continue to operate include:

  • hospitals/pharmacies 
  • healthcare industry (including healthcare trust fund administrators and dental plan administrators)
  • transportation (airlines, car rental, hotels)/public transit
  • food and agriculture, including food processing/manufacturing, and all food-supply chain work like warehousing, distribution, and grocery, as well as restaurants offering take-out/delivery
  • delivery companies
  • financial sector (including banks, pensions/trust fund administrators)
  • emergency services (fire/police/dispatch and other critical public sector jobs)
  • wastewater and water systems
  • utilities
  • gas stations
  • construction 

Your Teamsters 856 business representative is working with your employer to address any impacts this order may have on our members and will be in touch. If you are unsure about what to do or need assistance please contact your Teamsters 856 business rep.

March 17, 2020

Teamsters 856 Members,

As you have likely heard, residents have been ordered to ‘shelter in place’ in multiple counties across Northern California and we expect the order to expand to other places where Local 856 members live and work.

Your Local 856 representatives continue to work diligently to mitigate workplace impacts and are available by phone or email if you have any questions or concerns. Our office staff are working remotely to keep up the day-to-day operations of our union. (Visit to contact your rep and call 1-800-758-TEAM (8326) or (650) 635-0111 to reach our office.)  

It may feel like there’s a lot of uncertainty right now as we all deal with COVID-19, but we want all Teamsters 856 members to know your union remains here for you.  

In Solidarity,
Peter Finn
Principal Officer

March 12, 2020

Today, Governor Newsom issued an executive order in response to COVID-19 (coronavirus). Among the directives, the order removes the waiting period for unemployment and disability insurance for those who lose work as a result of the outbreak. It also limits non-essential gatherings to no more than 250 people and says social distancing of 6 feet per person should be implemented at smaller events. Click here to read the full executive order.

It is important to be aware of your rights at this time:

  • California Division of Occupational Safety and Health regulations mandate employers to furnish and use safety devices and safeguards and to generally “furnish employment and a place of employment that is safe and healthful…” These regulations should be cited wherever an employer refuses to provide the basic tools (hand sanitizer, reasonable access to wash hands, disposable gloves, and possibly masks) to reduce exposure to COVID-19. Contact your Teamsters 856 shop steward or representative if you need assistance.
  • Workers in many industries have experienced a reduction in hours. If this applies to you, you should apply for unemployment insurance, and as mentioned above, the one-week waiting period has been waived.
  • Workers who are sick, quarantined or providing care for a family member with COVID-19 or who has been quarantined also have options for disability pay or paid family leave through the California Employment Development Department. Click here to read more.
  • In the event your child’s school or child care is closed due to COVID-19, the California Labor Code (230.8) gives workers 40 hours of unpaid protected leave to address a child care provider or school emergency. Emergencies include closure or unexpected unavailability of the school or child care. You can also coordinate the protected leave with your paid time off.

Please continue to take steps to protect yourself from COVID-19 (coronavirus):

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

In the coming weeks, there will likely be various forms of state and federal legislation to address workplace issues related to COVID-19. We will update you as those occur. If you have additional questions, please reach out to your shop steward(s) or Teamsters 856 representative. 

February 28, 2020

While we continue to learn more about COVID-19, there is still a lot we don’t know, and we are looking to reputable health organizations and first-responder members for up-to-date information.

Generally, take care of your health and protect others by thoroughly cleaning your hands, avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth and follow good respiratory hygiene (covering your mouth and nose with a bent elbow or tissue when you cough/sneeze). 

Your employer has an obligation to keep you safe. This includes what supplies are available, what responses to possible infection will look like and also includes how attendance will be managed should you or a coworker need to be away from work due to symptoms or infection.

Report any changes to working conditions to your shop steward and stay informed with the following resources: