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COVID Safety Guidelines

Union Advocacy

Since the beginning of the pandemic, ALE has continually pressed the Speaker’s Office regarding COVID health and safety issues at Council headquarters and in the 51 Council district offices. We successfully delayed the return of Central Staff to 250 Broadway, blocked the Council's attempt to end hybrid flexibility for Central Staff, advocated for paid hours for staff who receive vaccination boosters, and demanded better communication from the Council to employees regarding safety measures.

 

This is a reflection of our determined health and safety campaign so far, but there are still important changes we need to see. Council Member Aides have no hybrid flexibility, unless it is provided by their individual Council Member. Insufficient communication and support for staff in district offices remains a pressing issue. ALE wants the City Council to be a safe place for all staff and the public. As of Dec 2022 we are pressing for:

 

  • Hybrid flexibility for all Member Aides – with the option of working remotely at least 2 days per week.

  • Clearly designated Site Safety Monitor in every Member office — to facilitate Council oversight of COVID safety compliance, especially in district offices. 

  • Contingent on rising COVID-19 case numbers, resumption of mask requirement for all Council offices and public spaces, including the Chambers and hearing rooms. Requirement to be consistently and clearly communicated.

  • For healthy workplaces --

    • Regular provision of test kits to Council staff to facilitate testing before reporting to work in-person.

    • Time off so staff can obtain their COVID boosters. 

    • Funding from the Speaker’s Office for regular district office cleanings.

  • Direct communication from the Council -- not individual Council Members -- to Member Aides regarding safety measures for both the District Offices and 250 Broadway.

  • A clear system to report COVID cases and receive urgent updates. 

  • Consistent and clearly communicated protocols for non-staff/members of the public in all Council offices, including district offices.

 

Share Your Concerns With ALE: If any staff have concerns about reporting to 250 Broadway or a district office, or any other location for work reasons, please contact ALE immediately by emailing nyccouncilunion@gmail.com.

Please read on for more information about the Council's current guidelines.

COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement: All City Council employees (whether they work at City Hall, 250 Broadway, or in a district office) must provide proof of vaccination -- unless they have received an accommodation via the EEO Office. 

 

At ALE's urging -- four hours of paid leave are available for staff to take a bivalent COVID-19 booster shot.

COVID-19 Leave: If for a COVID-related reason you cannot report to work, email your supervisors and Camille Francis, Director of Personnel Services, at cfrancis@council.nyc.gov as soon as possible. Staff are supposed to be given a separate timesheet charge code called “Excused Absence - Medical,” which does not count against your sick leave balance. 

Fall, 2022 update: Staff members with ongoing complications related to COVID-19, or who are caring for family members with COVID, or who accompany their child for a COVID vaccination, are also eligible for paid leave. Read the updated leave guidelines for Member Aides here, and for Central Staff here.

City Council Safety Guidelines for District Offices (updated 11/1/22)

  • Pre-Arrival Health Screening: Prior to entering a district office & on a daily basis, all individuals must be screened for COVID-19 infection, exposure, and symptoms. Staff, as well any visitors from an outside entity (e.g. a non-profit organization or a government office), should complete such screening.

    • Click here for the screening Link for Members and Staff.

    • Click here for the screening Link for Visitors (Non-Constituents).

    • NOTE: Constituents are to only complete such screening verbally using a separate document and instructions that were sent to each Council Member.

  • Face Coverings: All individuals entering a district office are strongly encouraged to wear a higher quality face covering (e.g. a KN95, KF94, N95, or a cloth mask on top of a surgical mask) at all times in any common area of the office, when interacting with others, and/or when moving from one space to another.

  • Office Cleaning: Offices are to be cleaned regularly. In particular, high-touch surfaces in bathrooms and other common areas should be cleaned in between shifts.

  • Reporting COVID-19 Cases: Council offices (the Council Member, Site Safety Monitor, etc.) must contact Camille Francis immediately if they learn of any individual who came into a D.O. (including staff) and tested positive for COVID-19 or was exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19. Similarly, individual staff must contact Camille Francis if they learn that they tested positive or were in close contact with someone with COVID-19, regardless of whether they were in the office. 

 

City Council Safety Guidelines for 250 Broadway (updated 12/16/22):

  • Pre-Arrival Health Screening: All individuals must complete screening for COVID-19 infection, exposure, and symptoms prior to coming into the offices on any given day.

  • Click here for the screening Link for Members and Staff.

  • Click here for the screening Link for Visitors (Non-Constituents).

  • Sign-In: After arriving at 250 Broadway, individuals must sign in at the front desk and confirm that they have completed the screening, prior to swiping their ID cards at the turnstiles.   

  • Face Coverings in Office: All individuals entering a Council office are strongly encouraged to wear a higher quality face covering (e.g. a KN95, KF94, N95, or a cloth mask on top of a surgical mask) at all times in any common areas of offices, when interacting with others, and/or when moving from one space to another.  

  • Air Quality at 250 Broadway & City Hall: The Speaker’s Office reports they have been assured by building management at 250 Broadway, and DCAS for City Hall, that appropriate steps are being taken to address air quality in light of COVID-19. MERV-13 filters have been installed at 250 Broadway, and the building’s dampers are being opened more frequently to bring in additional fresh air.

  • Office Cleaning: Offices are to be cleaned regularly, including high-touch surfaces and areas, on a daily basis.

  • COVID-19 Reporting:  Any Member or staffer who learns that they have tested positive for COVID-19, or who has been in close contact with someone with COVID-19, must immediately inform Camille Francis at: cfrancis@council.nyc.gov. She will ensure that the Council’s COVID-19 protocols are followed.

  • Staff with concerns or questions that cannot be answered by the Site Safety Monitor at 250 Broadway should contact nyccreopen@council.nyc.gov.

 

Dec 2021 Testimony before Council on COVID Workplace Safety: ALE President, Dan Kroop, delivered testimony at the Civil Service & Labor Committee hearing on workplace safety on December 13th, 2021. Many staffers put their livelihoods at risk to serve New Yorkers and ALE’s testimony emphasized the importance of strong and consistent safety guidelines for all Council workers. ALE called on the Speaker to develop, communicate, and monitor safety rules in partnership with the union, support staff with full staffing and fair compensation, and formalize flexible remote work policies. Watch and read the testimony on ALE’s Instagram and Twitter, and watch the full hearing on the Council’s website.

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