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 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.
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. 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. Please stay in touch with your Stewards and Local leaders to bring those issues to our attention. Thank you.