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04.23.20

Coronavirus/COVID-19 Information and Guidance for the Workplace

This page lists COVID-19 information and appropriate precautions for workplaces where IFPTE members work, including guidance for U.S. federal government agencies, healthcare and frontline workers, and links to provincial and state government information.

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NOTE: IFPTE's legislative advocacy and economic policy response to Coronavirus/COVID-19 can be found here


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National and local government health agencies in the U.S. and Canada as well as the World Health Organization are coordinating a response to mitigate and limit the outbreak of an upper-respiratory illness with flu-like symptoms called "2019 Novel Coronavirus" or COVID-19. In the midst of this global pandemic, health authorities across the globe are urging communities, workplaces, working people and the public to prepare, cooperate, and help mitigate the impact in their communities and minimize the harm to the most vulnerable. While older adults and people with underlying medical conditions are at higher risk of infection, the U.S. CDC has warned that "COVID-19 can result in severe disease among persons of all age."

Personal hygienic practices for minimizing the risk of COVID-19 transmission and infection are vitally important:
  • thorough hand washing
  • covering the mouth and nose when coughing
  • avoiding hand contact with your face
  • self-quarantining at home when sick
  • cleaning and disinfecting objects and surfaces in shared and communal spaces
  • maintaining at least 6 feet of distance other people when in public
  • wear a non-medical facemark or cover over your mouth and nose when in public and especially when intreating with other people

Because COVID-19 is highly contagious, health experts are urging the public to practice aggressive "social distancing" to slow the spread of the disease and "flatten the curve". Aggressive social distancing includes wide-scale implementation of telework and temporary office and business closings, canceling public events and meetings, suspending school and college classes, and limiting contact in public settings. See this factsheet on social distancing [PDF] from the Santa Clara County Public Health Department.

The CDC and the Public Health Agency of Canada are asking individuals to wear non-medical facemarks in settings where physical distancing is not possible and in instances where there is a higher risk COVID-transmission.

NOTE:We encourage IFPTE members and locals to review the AFL-CIO's document that explains appropriate use and limitations of respirators, masks, and face shields [PDF]

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On this page:


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AFL-CIO and Canadian Labour Congress Resources on COVID-19




IFPTE Local Union Resources and Statements on COVID-19




Workers Rights to a Safe Workplace, Sick Leave, and Family Leave


Under Canadian and U.S. law all employers have a "general duty" to provide a safe workplace for their employees. This includes existing standards for workers rights and employer responsibility that protect workers from retaliation for raising concerns about workplace health and safety.



Unemployment, Health Care, Sick Leave, Family Leave, and Student Debt




For U.S. Federal Employees - Guidance on COVID-19




For Essential and Critical Service Employees, and Defense Industrial Base Employees - Guidance on CONVID-19




General Workplace Settings - Health and Safety Information




Healthcare and Frontline Settings - Health and Safety Information




Factsheets, Posters, and General Information




State and Provincial Public Health Resources and Response to COVID-19


In the U.S. and Canada, state and provincial governments have been at the forefront of the response to COVID-19 outbreaks and containment in local settings. For a comprehensive list of U.S. state government responses to COVID-19 can be found on the National Governors Association website.



Combating Xenophobic and Racist Responses to COVID-19


IFPTE joins with unions, public health agencies, and working people throughout Canada, the U.S., and the rest of the world in urging the public to reject any stigmatization, scapegoating, racism, or xenophobia towards any Asian populations and communities in the midst of the pandemic.

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NOTE: IFPTE's legislative advocacy and economic policy response to Coronavirus/COVID-19 can be found here


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