EDITED FEB. 9 2021
According to the YG Public Service Commission, the initial numbers provided to both the PSC and YEU stating roughly 60% of Continuing Care staff were off sick Friday February 5th were inaccurate, or overstated. The employer has since informed us that the 60% was in fact limited to a single facility, and that the extent of side effect impacts were more limited than first believed; in fact YG advised the media that only 3 of 5 workers in Thomson Centre were off sick, and only 10% of Continuing Care staff were affected.
That said since the initial publication of this article, YEU has been contacted by about three dozen members who have been either been sent home or have stayed home while they manage the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine. Almost all have been told to use sick leave, and the extent of confusion over what workers are expected to do is staggering. Some were advised to call 811 for instruction, others were instructed categorically NOT to call 811. Some are awaiting contact by YCDC and others are recovered from side effects but told to isolate for 14 days. Yet others are "isolating while at work", following a guideline issued by the employer.
A great number of the workers who have reached out to us do not work at Thomson Centre, so it's clear that the numbers are significant.
Group-vaccinated essential workers are dealing en masse with the side effects of their second shot of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. While the physical outcomes are largely predictable and manageable, the employer's lack of planning or consideration of the likelihood of side effects has created a domino effect of confusion and stress for workers and their families.
Published Feb. 6 2021
I learned Friday afternoon that a memo went out to YEU Continuing Care workers; if they were feeling unwell after their second shot, they were told to phone their scheduler, stay home and wait. Since the side-effects mimic COVID symptoms, someone from YCDC would phone them to discuss their symptoms and talk about next steps. These workers don't know if they are off work for a day or a few days, and must isolate while they await instruction and testing.
I did receive calls from people who were at work and told to go home, and were instructed to use sick leave. That's total BS. I met with the Public Service Commission yesterday and told them there is no way people should have to use their sick leave, many are already using next year's sick leave after the employer's bad COVID leave practices. AOC Employees have no sick leave to begin with, and Continuing Care operates on the backs of AOCs!
After our meeting, the employer suggested that people will probably NOT need to use sick leave after all, but that hasn’t been confirmed. And if the use of sick leave/no sick leave is applied in a discriminatory way, YEU wants to know - we'll act swiftly to correct that.
Share this information far and wide! If you are told to stay or go home and use sick leave while you deal with vaccination side effects, call YEU 667 2331 or fill out an Intake form at yeu.ca/intake.
This is important, and we can only advocate for you if we know what's going on.
Steve Geick, President
Yukon Employees' Union