In a news release NAPE President Jerry Earle says the union has been in contact with the provincial government and regional health authorities – but concerns are not being responded to adequately.
“Our members are on the front lines in many roles and capacities,” said Earle. “Ensuring their safety is a key part of our province’s efforts to win this battle.”
“Our union has been in constant contact with the provincial government, regional health authorities, and various employers over the course of the past week to ensure everyone is taking the steps necessary to protect, inform, train, equip, and educate workers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Earle. “We have been patient and want to ensure people remain calm, but we have reached a point where our concerns are not being responded to adequately, which necessitates speaking publicly. We do this not only to protect our members, but in the interest of public health.”
“While we have been pleased with the response by the government and officials in some regards, such as with the sick note and leave policy, we are falling short in other key areas,” said Earle. “Too many workers lack the proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), supplies, information, training, and protocols. This, combined with mixed messages on the communication front, has caused confusion, tension, and anxiety amongst many of our members.”
“All the science and evidence has shown that we need to act early and err on the side of being overly cautious in order to flatten the epidemic curve,” said Earle. “We only have one presumptive positive case at this point so our window is very small to get this right before it is too late.”