COVID-19 Updates

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Join fellow AFSCME members across the country to ensure that all AFSCME members have the tools we need to do our essential jobs. TELL THE WHITE HOUSE TO ACTIVE THE DEFENSE PRODUCTION ACT! 

Saturday, March 28, 2020 

Governor Evers signed an Executive Order to increase the supply of nurses in Wisconsin to address the COVID-19 crisis. Read the Executive Order, here! 

Friday, March 27, 2020

On March 27, 2020 Congress adopted the Coronavrius Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The bill provides an additional $150 billion to state and local governments responding to COVID-19. This bill is essential to provide services and support to front line workers, however there are still significant needs yet to me met. Click here, to read the AFSCME bill summary! 

Thursday, March 26, 2020 

Governor Evers launched a Wisconsin COVID-19 PPE (Personal Protective Equipment Program) to ensure medical professionals and front line crisis workers have the resources they need to fight COVID-19. The State Emergency Operations Center and the DHS are continuing to ensure medical facilities receive supplies requested from the Strategic National Stockpile. To date, Wisconsin received about 104,680 N95 respirators, 260,840 face/surgical masks, 48,168 face shields, 40,512 surgical gowns, 192 coveralls, and 70,373 pairs of gloves from SNS. The Wisconsin state goernment also requested assistance from FEMA to purchase supplies for first responders. 

Visit the Wisconsin Department of Health Services website to see what qualifies as PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), guidelines and optimizing and contingency measures for addressing supply shortage. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2020  

Please note the following health and safety updates:

  • On Tuesday, March 24, 2020 Governor Evers’ signed a “safe at home” order effective beginning 8:00 AM Wednesday, March 25, 2020 and remaining until effect until 8:00 AM on Friday, April 24, 2020. The ‘safe at home” order directs citizens to stay at home, maintain social distancing of six feet and leave home only for: essential activities, essential governmental function, to operate essential businesses and operations, to perform non-essential minimum basic operations, for essential travel, and special situations. To read the full Executive Order, please click here.
  • SAFETY TIPS:  avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth, cough into your elbow or cover your cough with a tissue, clean and disinfect frequently touched objects with household cleaning spray, wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or with alcohol-based hand sanitizer (must be 60%+ alcohol-based)
  • As of Tuesday, March 24, 2020, DHS has confirmed 8237 negative tests, 457 positive cases, and 5 COVID-19 related deaths.
  • At the direction of Governor Evers, Wisconsin Emergency Management asked FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) to assist in procuring protective medical supplies, necessary for healthcare professionals and many AFSCME members

Please note the following administrative changes:

  • In accordance with Governor Evers’ “safe at home” order, effective tomorrow, ALL AFSCME OFFICES ARE PHYSICALLY CLOSED until deemed safe to reopen to the public. You can still contact Council 32 at our Madison office (608) 826-1932, Milwaukee office (414) 344-6868 or send an email Council at [email protected]
  • The AFSCME Wisconsin Executive Board has voted to SUBSTITUTE THE IN-PERSON AFSCME WISCONSIN 2020 STATE CONVENTION FOR A VIRTUAL CONVENTION, SCHEDULED FOR SATURDAY, MAY 16, 2020. The virtual convention will be conducted using teleconferencing and will be a one-day, business-related meeting focusing on addressing properly submitted resolutions and amendments. The Executive Board also voted to waive delegate fees. The new deadline to send credentials is Monday, April 27, 2020. For questions related to convention or to send credentials, please contact Michelle Byrne at [email protected]
  • Council 32 staff will continue reaching out to all Local Presidents to for COVID-19 updates, administrative changes, and to create a rapid response network for members to identify and report potential safety risks and concerns. If you have concerns or questions you may contact Council at [email protected]
  • Council 32 staff continues to be in contact with the Evers’ administration, local municipalities, and local leadership and will continue monitoring and coordinating with various agencies to ensure members are properly compensated and protected, and that safety guidelines are being followed
  • As greater safety measures are taken, more early, in-person voting locations will be closed. Please VOTE EARLY AT HOME for the Spring Election on April 7, 2020. Visit myvote.wi.gov to register, request a mail-in ballot, and find municipal-specific voting requirements
  • Watch for safety and administrative updates on our social media (Facebook and Twitter), website, emails, and Council 32 staff updates

Please note the following coronavirus resources:

AFSCME Wisconsin is deeply concerned for our members’ health and safety. We will continue working diligently to ensure that all members receive the resources and protection necessary to work on the front lines. We will continue sending members and retirees updates from the Wisconsin state government, CDC, local municipalities and AFSCME International as responses to COVID-19 continue.  

Please contact [email protected] immediately if you are concerned for the health and safety of your workplace.

AFSCME Wisconsin 2020 Convention Update: 

Due to safety concerns of COVID-19, the AFSCME Wisconsin Executive Board has voted to convert the in-person convention to a virtual convention. The virtual convention will be a one-day, business-related meeting on Saturday, May 16, 2020. The focus of the virtual convention will be addressing properly submitted resolutions and amendments. The virtual convention will be hosted through phone and/or teleconferencing or video capabilities. The Executive Board has made the following convention decisions:

  • The Executive Board Rules Committee will meet to determine teleconferencing specifics and other details. Those details will be communicated to members as soon as possible.
  • The Executive Board voted to waive registration fees, so all delegates to the virtual convention can attend free of charge
  • Locals can send their delegate credentials in via email or mail. To email credentials, please email Michelle Byrne at [email protected] or mail your credentials into AFSCME Council 32, c/o May 16 Virtual Convention, 33 Nob Hill Road, Madison, WI 53713. 
  • The new deadline to send in credentials is Monday, April 27, 2020.
  • Members seeking to send additional amendments must email proposed amendments to Michelle by April 27, 2020 and will need a 2/3rdsdelegate majority vote to be approved. Amendments received after this date will need 2/3rds delegate majority vote to be brought on the convention floor and 2/3rds delegate majority vote to be approved
  • For conventions specific questions, please contact Michelle Byrne ([email protected]) or Kelly Becker ([email protected]).

Monday, March 23, 2020

In accordance with Governor Evers' "safer at home" order, the AFSCME Wisconsin offices in Madison and Milwaukee will henceforth be closed until reopened by the Governor. AFSCME Wisconsin is still reachable by email and phone at (414) 344-6868 and [email protected] 

On Monday, March 23rd, Governor Evers' announced his plans to issue a statewide "safer at home" order. The order essentially closes all nonessential businesses. The Governor is slated to sign the order on Tuesday, March 24, 2020 and provide greater detail as to what constitutes an "essential business." Typically, health care facilities, grocery stores, and law enforcement entities are examples of essential services. We are waiting for more information about how the are order will impact AFSCME members across the state. 

As of Sunday, March 22nd, 2020 the Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported 381 cases of COVID-19 across 30 counties, including 61 reported cases in Dane County. Four deaths have been reported in Fond du Lac, Ozaukee and Milwaukee counties.

Sunday, March 22, 2020 

TELL CONGRESS TO FUND THE FRONT LINES! 

From AFSCME President Lee Saunders: 

The coronavirus outbreak is already causing huge economic disruption and is a grave threat to the stability of state and local government finances.

Funding for public services has taken a huge hit in recent years. Staffing in public health and other agencies never rebounded after the Great Recession.

Now, our health care workers, corrections officers, school employees and others are dealing with overwhelming demand as they try to protect their neighbors. It’s time for our elected leaders to come through – to make sure we have the supplies, equipment and testing needed on the ground immediately.

Congress is working on a stimulus bill right now. We have to make our voices heard, or it will end up as a bailout for businesses instead of a lifeline for working people.

Tell Congress: Fund the Front Lines! Call your Representatives, here! 

Thursday, March 19, 2020

PLEASE NOTE: The AFSCME Madison Office will be closed TODAY. Members may still call our Milwaukee office for immediate assistance (414) 344-6868 or email Council at [email protected] 

For immediate release: March 18, 2020 

Gov. Evers Waives Work Search and Modifies Availability Requirements for Unemployment Benefits

MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers today issued Emergency Order #7 waiving work search requirements and modifying the availability requirements for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits for workers impacted by COVID-19.  The order is available here

Emergency Order #7 waives the requirement that UI claimants conduct at least four weekly work search actions during the COVID-19 emergency. This section of the order is retroactively effective to March 12, 2020. This order also ensures that claimants who are otherwise eligible but out of work due to COVID-19 are considered available for work and therefore eligible for benefits.

The order goes into effect immediately and will remain in effect for the duration of the COVID-19 public health emergency.

On Thurs., March 12, 2020, the governor signed Executive Order #72 that directs DHS to take all necessary and appropriate measures to prevent and respond to incidences of COVID-19. It allows DHS to purchase, store, or distribute appropriate medications, regardless of insurance or other health coverage, as needed to respond to the emergency. It also authorizes state funds to support local health departments with costs related to isolation and quarantine, as well as the use of the Wisconsin National Guard.

Decisions about the implementation of other community measures will be made by state and local officials based on CDC and DHS guidance, as well as the scope of the outbreak.

People should follow simple steps to prevent illness and avoid exposure to this virus including:

  • Frequent and thorough hand washing with soap and water;
  • Covering coughs and sneezes;
  • Avoiding touching your face;
  • Staying home when sick.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020 

Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201) The Families First Coronavirus Response Act was signed into law on March 18. This law is urgently needed to help communities respond to and weather the disruption from COVID-19 but it is not a complete response to help working families.

Below are highlights of key provisions in the law and some of its limits.

New Federal Medicaid Funds: The law increases federal contributions to support state and territorial Medicaid programs by another 6.2 percentage points. This $36 billion in new federal funds will help states respond to rapidly changing public health needs and maintain Medicaid for vulnerable populations during the pandemic. But as the virus spreads straining hospitals and state budgets, more federal funds will be needed quickly.

COVID-19 Testing: Whether people rely on their job, Medicaid, Medicare or the Affordable Care Act for their health care coverage, the bill requires COVID-19 testing to be covered at no cost. It also creates a new Medicaid option for states to cover uninsured individuals (but not undocumented immigrants) for testing, with federal funds picking up the cost.

Enhanced Unemployment Insurance (UI): UI helps workers and their families get through hard times with cash benefits. When people spend their UI benefits, they help the economy, which is stalled by business and factory closures to limit and slow the spread of the virus. Under the law, $1 billion is available to states to staff up to meet increased demand for UI benefits from people impacted by COVID-19 and to make it easier for unemployed workers to get the benefits they need quickly.

Increase Access to Food Assistance:  As workers lose work hours or their jobs because of temporary work closures due to COVID-19, more families with children will need help to not go hungry. The bill provides emergency SNAP assistance to families with children who attend a school that’s closed and who would otherwise receive free or reduced-price meals, it expands federal support for senior meals, food banks and additional food program flexibility to help children who depend on school meals.

Limited Emergency Paid Leave: This law mandates that all public employers and private employers with fewer than 500 employees provide two weeks of emergency guaranteed paid sick leave and up to 10 more weeks of emergency family medical leave if impacted by COVID-19. The law also creates a loophole for health care employers to opt out of these new emergency requirements and for the Secretary of Labor to exempt small businesses. AFSCME will fight to improve these inadequate provisions. All families need the income support to stay home when they or a family member is sick, and it is good for public health. For more details see AFSCME’s COVID-19 factsheet on paid leave.

Next Steps: As Congress works on a third emergency spending bill AFSCME is fighting for the health and safety protections workers on the front lines need to respond to the virus, robust funding to states and localities, and the economic help families and communities need to weather this pandemic and to allow AFSCME members to continue providing public services we all depend upon.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020 

AFSCME Wisconsin is consistently monitoring rapidly changing responses to cornonavirus (COVID-19). Coronavirus poses serious concerns to the health and safety of AFSCME members, our families, and the communities we serve. Across the state, AFSCME members are the front line of defense, care, and preparation for the coronavirus and other health and safety crises. AFSCME Wisconsin is gravely concerned with threats to our members’ safety.

At this time of global crisis, our primary concern is ensuring that all members and their families are safe. We are working around the clock to ensure that all members have the tools and protection necessary to do their essential work.

As an organization we are taking proactive administrative steps to guarantee that AFSCME is accessible to all members while also ensuring member and staff safety.

Please note the following administrative changes:

  • The AFSCME Milwaukee office will be CLOSED for meetings until deemed safe to reopen to the public. Members may visit the office for business but groups larger than ten are prohibited in accordance with CDC safety guidelines. You may call the Milwaukee office at (414) 344-6868 and email Council at [email protected]
  • The AFSCME Madison office will remain open, however, staff members will be cut back to reduce potential exposure. The office will be inaccessible to walk-ins, any members who need to access the Madison office should call the office to be let in by a staff member. Groups larger than ten are prohibited in accordance with CDC safety guidelines. You may call the Madison office at (608) 826-1932
  • Council 32 staff will be reaching out to all Local Presidents to inform members of coronavirus updates, administrative changes, and to create a rapid response network for members to identify and report potential safety risks and concerns. If you have concerns or questions you may contact Council at [email protected]
  • Council 32 staff has been in contact with the Evers’ administration, various local municipalities, and local leaders and will continue monitoring and coordinating with various agencies to ensure members are properly compensated and protected, and that safety guidelines are being followed
  • Due to the spread of coronavirus, we encourage all members to VOTE EARLY AT HOME for the Spring Election on April 7, 2020. Please visit myvote.wi.gov to register, request a mail-in ballot, and find municipal-specific voting requirements
  • Please watch for safety and administrative updates on our social media (Facebook and Twitter), website, emails, and Council 32 staff updates

Please note the following health and safety updates:

  • Across the state, municipalities are closing or have closed schools, restaurants, shopping malls, libraries, and public spaces. AFSCME Wisconsin is working to ensure members have access to the resources they need as more civic spaces are closed to prevent exposure to coronavirus
  • Governor Evers & DHS has put out a moratorium on all gatherings exceeding 10 people in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus
  • Governor Evers is asking the state legislature to lift rules of the one-week waiting period before applying for unemployment assistance & insurance
  • All restaurants and bars will be closed except drive-throughs and curbside service beginning at 5:00 PM on Tuesday, March 17, 2020
  • All school closure orders will be expanded “until further notice”
  • DHS is at a capacity of 400 tests per day, testing 7 days a week. So far 1078 test have come back negative, 72 positive as of 2:00 PM on Tuesday, March 17, 2020
  • SAFETY TIPS:  avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth, cough into your elbow or cover your cough with a tissue, clean and disinfect frequently touched objects with household cleaning spray, wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or with alcohol-based hand sanitizer (must be 60%+ alcohol-based)

Please note the following coronavirus resources:

AFSCME Wisconsin is deeply dedicated to ensuring all members and our communities stay safe. As we receive updates from the CDC, Wisconsin state government, local municipalities, and AFSCME International, we will update members and retirees via email and social media.

If you are concerned about the health and safety of your workplace or other issues related to coronavirus, please contact [email protected], immediately.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

As you know, spread of the Coronavirus requires heightened precautions. The Spring Election is right around the corner on April 7, 2020. To stay safe and still help elect our awesome worker champions, we’re encouraging all AFSCME members to vote absentee by mail or vote early in person. For more information about our PEOPLE-endorsed worker champions, visit our website.

How do you vote in person before Election Day?

Contact your municipal clerk. Voting dates, times, and locations vary by municipality. Contact your clerk by going to myvote.wi.gov.  

How do you vote absentee by mail?

Contact your municipal clerk. For more information about voting absentee, please visit myvote.wi.gov.

Please note: All AFSCME, WI AFL-CIO, and MALC phonebanks and canvasses have been cancelled until further notice. Still want to help elect worker champions? Contact John Smallwood for virtual phonebank access at [email protected].

Thank you for taking extra precautions to keep yourselves and our community stay safe. We will update you about early voting options and Coronavirus precautions as more information becomes available.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020 

The spread of Cornonavirus (COVID-19) throughout the United States warrants concern and preparation from our AFSCME community. The Coronavirus is a respiratory infection is rapidly spreading, globally.

Coronavirus poses a serious threat to the health and safety of our communities and the vulnerable populations we serve. Every day, AFSCME members are on the front lines caring for and serving individuals with compromised immune systems, including the elderly and children.

Please see the folowing prevention tips:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick and large events in close proximity to others
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Cover your mouth with a tissue when you sneeze or cough and throw it out, immediately
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects with household cleaning spray
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or with alcohol-based hand sanitizer (must be 60+% alcohol-based)
  • Get a flu vaccine
  • Stay home if you are sick
  • **CDC does not recommend that people who are sick wear face masks. Only if individuals show symptoms of Coronavirus should they wear a mask to avoid spreading the virus**

We assure you that AFSCME Wisconsin staff and AFSCME International are working to take the necessary steps to prepare members and the community. The attached documents provide additional background about the virus, precautions, and workplace guidelines. As we receive updates from the CDC, Wisconsin state government, local municipalities, and AFSCME International, we will relay that information to members and retirees.

For more information about Coronavirus, please visit the AFSCME International page or visit the CDC FAQ page. Thank you for your dedicated service to Wisconsin, especially in this time of heightened concern. Please be safe.