Protecting Health and Safety in the Workplace
April 30, 2020
Days after HGEA filed a health and safety grievance at the Hawaii Paroling Authority in downtown Honolulu, actions were taken by the administration to implement social distancing procedures and make disinfecting solutions available to employees and members of the public who enter the Alakea Street location.
The grievance was filed on April 15, 2020 after several requests to comply with health and safety guidelines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) were ignored. Rather than allowing employees to telework, parole officers and office assistants were ordered to report to work where officers and parolees met in crowded spaces, common areas were often overly crowded and office workers had less than the CDC-recommended six feet of space between them.
Eight days later, during the Step 1 meeting on April 23, union agents were met outside the facility and required to follow the newly implemented health and safety procedures including disinfecting and wiping the soles of their shoes and using hand sanitizer which is now available at the entrance of the building. Signs reminding employees to comply with social distancing guidelines are prominently posted around the workplace, common areas limit access to one or two employees at a time and meetings with parolees are staggered to comply with social distancing guidelines. Additionally, the administration has been meeting with us to discuss implementing staggered schedules that may include voluntary weekend shifts.
HGEA is currently satisfied with the remedy provided by the department and will not pursue the grievance further at this time. However, we will continue to monitor the situation and reserve the right to revisit this complaint should there be additional violations of the contract.