It is our hope that everyone in MSA's and our membership's families are healthy and safe.
As we are all aware, the circumstances regarding Covid-19 are still developing. What does MSA's management have planned to keep the handlers and EDC's safe?
Also, as the various work sites close due to the health emergency, will our handlers be entitled to apply for unemployment? To many of our new handlers and former military members, MSA is their only source of income and a reduction in hours could be detrimental to their families.
We would appreciate a timely response to these very important questions.
United Federation of K-9 Handlers
Today, we received the following response:
Joe, as you mention in your note, the circumstances around Covid-19 are changing quickly, almost by the hour. We continue to monitor the situation throughout the day and night, and adjust our plans as necessary. I’ll highlight a few specific actions we have taken or plan to take:
- We are continuing to reach out to clients and trying to reassure them of our ability to meet their needs, and to continue to reinforce the importance of maintaining a risk management strategy, which includes EDCH, at their sites, during these unsettled times.
- We have instructed our schedulers to distribute hours among EDCH. While some clients are reducing posts due to the closing of venues or canceling of events, we are fortunate that we have a diversity of businesses which allow us to still maintain posts.
- We are exploring the possibility of availing “Shared Work” Benefits to our Handlers. Similar to unemployment benefits, many large states, like CA, NY, and IL offer some form of benefits when employers have to reduce hours but do not want to lose well skilled employees. We are trying to learn more and identify what qualifies and disqualifies someone from these benefits, but we are hopeful this may be an option.
As we know more, we will continue to share. Please let me know if you have additional questions or concerns. Thanks.
You can find information about the Shared Work Program in your state at the following links:
New York State
We'll continue to be in contact with MSA regarding solutions and safety measures regarding Covid-19. In regards to the "Shared Work" program mentioned, New York State law requires that the Shared Work Plan must be approved by a collective bargaining agent (the Union). When the plan is received from MSA, we will post the pertinent details here and solicit feedback from the membership.
If you have any suggestions or comments you'd like us to pass on to MSA anonymously, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.