FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS: NEW YORK COMMERCIAL

I live in NJ but work in NY. Can I still travel in for work?
  • Public transportation will continue between states for those who need to travel in for work.
  • Any curfew that has been put into place does not apply to people going to or from work.
  • You may request a letter from your employer in the event you are concerned about having “proof” that you are “essential” and traveling for work purposes.
  I am afraid I am going to get sick due to my work responsibilities. What can I do?
  • The union and employers have been in close contact since the beginning of the crisis in order to understand the enhanced cleaning protocols that need to be in place to keep our members safe.
  • The protocols are fully in line with the guidance being sent from the CDC. In the event that you believe the proper protocols are not being applied, please immediately contact your steward or union representative.
  • In the event that there is a confirmed case in your building and you do not feel comfortable cleaning a particular floor, you may ask your supervisor to switch floors. Please know that they may not be able to accommodate this request, however.
  • In the event you do not feel comfortable cleaning a floor that has been contaminated, you may put in for a sick day.
  I have been told to self-quarantine due to a work related exposure.  Will I be paid?
  • Typical symptoms of COVID 19 include: fever, coughing, shortness of breath and pneumonia. You may have some or all of these symptoms.
  • Immediately contact your health care provider if you believe you have symptoms. Do not go directly to the ER or medical provider. Call first.
  • Stay home if you are sick, even if it with symptoms not commonly associated with COVID 19.
  • If a member must quarantine due to an exposure at work, that member will get paid for any lost time during the 14 day quarantine period (without any time coming out of paid leave).
  I have been in direct contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 and I need to self-quarantine. Will I be paid?
  • Monitor yourself for symptoms- fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Contact your health provider if you begin to exhibit symptoms.
  • You may utilize your PTO or statutory paid leave, if available.
  I heard about Governor Cuomo’s order for businesses to reduce 100% of the workforce unless they qualify as “essential”. Should I report to work?
  • Under the executive order, building cleaners are considered essential employees in order to maintain the continuity and safety of each building. If your employer is telling you to report, please do so.
  • You may request a letter from your employer in the event you are concerned about having “proof” that you are considered “essential” and traveling for work purposes.
There are reports of contamination in my building and I do not feel comfortable with this work assignment. Can I call out?
  • You may request your paid time off for this purpose
  • Alert your field rep to the issue right away. In the event of contamination in your building, we may be able to demand that cleaners are given enhanced personal protective equipment to protect themselves and tenants.
  According to CDC materials, I am “vulnerable” to the illness. I am over the age of 65 or I have an underlying health condition. Can I call out?
  • You may request your paid time off for this purpose
  • You may be eligible for FMLA. Contact your HR department for guidance on how to do this/I can show you how to do this. (It is important to note that all underlying conditions may NOT be FMLA eligible)
  My child’s school has been closed/my dependent parent is no longer able to attend their program and I am unable to work at this time. What can I do?
  • You may request your paid time off for this purpose
  • You may be eligible for FMLA. Contact your HR department for guidance on how to do this/I can show you how to do this.
  • If your child has special needs, you may be eligible for paid family leave. Contact your HR department for guidance on how to do this/I can show you how to do this.
  • When your PTO runs out, you will be eligible for unemployment. New York State has waived the 7-day waiting period, making it easier than ever to apply for unemployment. Contact your HR department for guidance on how to do this/I can show you how to do this.
  I am afraid of being laid off. What can I do?
  • We are in close contact with employers every day to ensure that in the event of a temporary reduction, member’s rights are protected under the contract.
  • The union and the RAB have reached an agreement that in the event of a lay off related to COVID-19, health benefits will extend for 60 days from the date you were laid off.
  • In the event of a temporary reduction, bumping has been suspended for 30 days in order to minimize disruption in RAB buildings.
  Will I lose my health insurance?
  • The union and the RAB have reached an agreement that in the event of a lay off related to COVID-19, health benefits will extend for 60 days from the date you were laid off.
  I have been laid off and am in need of support. Where can I go?
  • In coming days and weeks, if additional work becomes available in other commercial office or residential buildings, the union, the RAB and employers will cooperate to offer temporary employment.
  • New York State has waived the 7 day waiting period, making it easier than ever to apply for unemployment and to ensure more rapid compensation. Contact your HR department for guidance on how to do this/I can show you how to do this.
  • At the state level, 32BJ is advocating for the expansion of other social safety net programs such as back pay and wage replacements in the case of staff reductions and increased federal funding for programs like SNAP and Medicaid.
  What protection do I need to clean a building where there has been NO suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases?
  • Clean and disinfect, using cleaners that are known to kill viruses.
  • Follow the directions for the chemicals you are using.
  • Make sure the disinfectant stays on the surfaces long enough, according to the directions on the chemical, to kill viruses.
  • Focus on high touch areas.
  • Use the protection necessary to protect yourself from the chemical; this may include gloves and goggles.
  • Masks are not necessary unless required by the cleaner you are using.
  What protection do I need if there is a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case before 24 hours?
  • If possible, wait at least 24 hours before entering the areas where the person worked and travelled, including common areas like hallways and elevators.
  • The areas should be closed off and ventilated during the 24 hours, if possible
  • Wear the protective equipment provided to you by your employer.
  • Follow the directions for the chemicals you are using.
  • Make sure the disinfectant stays on the surfaces long enough, according to the directions on the chemical, to kill viruses.
  • Focus on high touch areas.
  • You should be trained on how to safely put on and take off any protective gear.
  • Notify your supervisor if there has been any tear or other breach in your protective gear.
  • After you have left an infected zone, place all disposable articles in a lined trashcan. Wash your hands immediately after removing the gear.
  • Use gloves to take out the trash, then remove gloves, and immediately wash hands afterwards.
  • A respirator and goggles are not necessary unless you are going in before 24 hours.
  I am interested in retiring. Who can I reach out to for help?
  • If you are interested in retiring and believe that you are eligible to do so, your first step is to talk with a representative from the benefit funds. Even while the office is closed, a representative from the fund will be available to speak with you about your options over the phone. Call main benefits line, 212-388-3500 to begin the process.