See the Illinois Governor’s Executive Order here. “Non-essential” workplaces are closed. However, “essential” workplaces can remain open. Restaurants and bars are closed for the time being. However, some restaurants are providing food delivery and employers can require cooks and drivers to show up to work. Grocery stores and pharmacy workers are on site. If you are working your regular shifts, the minimum-wage and paid sick days accrual laws still apply. If you believe you are not employed at an “essential” workplace, but your boss remains open, and you do not feel safe going to work, you may file a complaint with the Illinois Attorney General. Contact Arise Chicago at firstname.lastname@example.org or 773-769-6000 for support in doing this. The federal Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) cannot enforce CDC guidelines such as 6-feet social distancing or use of hand sanitizers. However, in some instances, such as if your employer is not providing soap, paper towels, and/or hot/cold water for sanitation, you can file a complaint to OSHA to require your employer to comply with OSHA standards. For these or other OSHA standards, contact the regional office.
Find your OSHA Area Office contact info here: https://www.osha.gov/contactus/bystate/IL/areaoffice.
If your boss is not ensuring a sanitary environment, or if there are more serious health or safety hazards unrelated to COVID-19, take collective action with your co-workers by signing a petition, stopping work, or striking (https://cwa-union.org/covid19organizing).
If you take collective action with a petition, follow these steps:
- Make sure the letter is dated.
- Add in your own specific demands (not economic in nature)
- Deliver the letter to the company. One or more workers can do this.
- Fax or email the letter to the corporation, if there are more than one locations
- Take a picture of the letter with all the signatures.
- Take a picture of the letter being delivered with a time stamp on the photo (most cell phones have that feature)
Download sample petitions here:
- Petition for currently employed workers
- Call to action inviting co-workers to take action
- Group sample letter if laid off or about to lose work
- Call to action to co-workers if about to be laid off
- Sample strike notification letter to employers of "essential" workers in unsafe conditions
Contact Arise Chicago for support for collective actions such as these. See our Facebook video here for more information on essential and non essential workers. See this Facebook video for how to take action if you feel unsafe at work.