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May 29, 2020
COVID-19
Updated On: Apr 07, 2020

A Message for CWA-Represented AT&T Technicians from your Union

From the onset of the coronavirus  pandemic,  CWA  and  AT&T  have  been working together to ensure new, pro-active health and safety policies are issued and properly implemented to protect employees against the virus. The collaborative approach to try and stay ahead of the pandemic  has  become  a model for other companies. It has been understood that  these  policies  would have to be adjusted in response to changing conditions, as the ground would invariably shift beneath us with COVID-19 infections spreading  across  the country. We are once again being proactive and  adjusting  as  the  situation evolves.

In the early days of the U.S. outbreak, AT&T  developed  an  alternate  dispatch plan, whereby technicians ask customers a series of questions to determine the possibility of infection before entering the home. Those questions included whether anyone in the  home is  sick or whether  anyone in  the  home traveled  to a Level 3 country. If the customer answered yes to any of these questions, the alternate dispatch plan directed that the work be  performed  outside  of  the home, with the technician virtually walking the customer  through  any  inside work or otherwise scheduling the inside work for a later date.

In recent days, the ground has shifted. Conditions have worsened in many areas of the country.  As a result, the alternate dispatch questions have  been broadened to ask customers if they have had any exposure to COVID-19, regardless of where they may have traveled, international or domestic. We understand from the CDC that asymptomatic carriers may spread the disease and an infected person may be contagious days before she shows symptoms.

For this reason, AT&T’s customer contact questions have been revised to establish social distancing expectations with the customer upfront. As always, technicians should continue to keep their hands clean throughout the day. Copies of these processes are attached.

Most importantly, due to the community spread of the virus, especially in certain areas, we continue to recommend that, if a technician has reason to believe a home is not safe regardless of the answers to the alternate dispatch questions, they should not enter the home. During the current outbreak levels, the technician should treat each home as if it has the contagion. Follow the customer contact guidelines to determine whether conditions are high risk or not. But remember, the decision to enter or not enter a home ultimately resides with the technician. Based upon observed concerns, technicians who believe that it is not safe to enter a home should contact their supervisor and do all they can to ensure the job is completed, but do so outside the home, using the alternate dispatch process that AT&T has already developed for when the customer answers yes to any of the COVID-19 exposure questions. If you encounter issues with your

 

supervisor upon exercising this decision, contact your shop steward for assistance.

We will continue working with AT&T to ensure additional safety measures as conditions change. We recognize that the best-intended policies may not always be implemented properly on the ground. Stay in touch with your stewards and local leaders to bring those issues to our attention.


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