COVID-19 English





Our Union Rights During
COVID-19 and Layoffs

The epidemic of COVID-19 (or coronavirus) is a crisis we have not experienced as a community in a long time. It impacts each family and each worksite differently, but as a union, we will face this crisis together:

1) What are my rights if my building cuts hours?

  • Your Union contract protects your seniority. If the client reduces services during the corona virus outbreak, the companies generally must do layoffs in order of seniority, depending on the details of each contract.
  • You will remain on the layoff list until staffing returns to the previous levels. Specific protocols of returning to work may be different based on each contract, but the union’s position is that you should be offered your previously held position at the same location as soon as it is available, because this is not a permanent layoff, but a temporary reduction due to the virus.
  • The union has sent letters to each company asking for information and to meet over any changes in staffing. We will pass on pertinent information to members as we receive it.
  • If you hear that your building may be closing or cutting hours, please contact the Union’s Member Resource Center, 855-265-6225.

2) How can I get help if I am laid off?

  • Apply for unemployment benefits If you are a worker affected by a layoff due to Covid-19, apply for Unemployment Insurance benefits immediately. Governor Walz suspended the typical wait period allowing workers to receive benefits faster.
  • If you are not laid off, but your hours are reduced, or if you cant go to work any longer because you have to stay home to take care of kids as a result of school closure, you may qualify for unemployment benefits, and should apply.
  • To start an online application visit the MN Unemployment webpage at or call 651-296-3644
  • There is a lot of other help/info for workers who need food, etc in this hard time:

3) What if I am asked to work in unsafe conditions?

  • If you are asked to perform a duty that puts your life in danger you can refuse that work and immediately contact the Member Resource Center, 855-265-6225.
  • You should only use chemicals that you have been trained to use safely, so if the company requires use of a new chemical during this period you have a right to insist on being trained to use it first.
  • Check out this Protecting Workers during a Pandemic website:

4) How can we use Union power to protect ourselves?

  • Local 26 members are joining with other unions and community groups to call on the building owners and the politicians to step up to the plate and make sure that workers alone don’t pay the price for this pandemic. We are calling for an expansion of unemployment benefits, a halt to any evictions or foreclosures during the outbreak, and other demands to help us make it through. For more details, see
  • We will have member action alerts about ways to help push for more protection and support in the upcoming weeks.

Don’t Panic. Stay safe.

We are Stronger Together.
contact the Member Resource Center:


10 STEPS coronavirus - ENG version

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