COVID-19: Workforce Transition Plan at HVC
As you are all aware, HVC recently implemented temporary workforce reduction measures with the goal to reduce COVID-19 exposure risks and put in place critical controls at site. Over the past two weeks, we have addressed many supply chain challenges in order to maintain adequate volumes of critical safety supplies across the site, including disinfectants and personal protective equipment. Additionally, we were able to partner with a local distiller for hand sanitizer and have received our first of several shipments.
During this initial slowdown, the HVC team and the USW have continued to work closely to review all possible opportunities to preserve employment beyond the two-week period while treating employees as fair and equitable as possible. Due to the dynamic nature of our situation, we appreciate everyone being flexible and patient as we worked to define our path forward.
Thank you for the tremendous efforts that have gone into the COVID-19 response to date. Working together with a focus on health and safety has allowed us to implement the following controls at HVC:
Staggered shift start / stop times and staggered lunch and break times, as well as temporarily allowing employees to bring PPE home
Physical distancing and reduction of vehicle occupancy
Temporarily providing flexibility with attendance management
Eliminating all large group gatherings, and implementation of remote work where feasible
Enhanced disinfection protocols and additional capacity in providing disinfecting services
Distribution and tracking of critical supplies, including hand sanitizer and disinfectant
Gate screening of contractors (limited to critical work only) and external visitors
Requiring employees with symptoms not to come to work and self-isolate
Protocols for responding to symptomatic individuals, including transport, decontamination, and the setup of an interim COVID First Aid room
Daily Critical Control Verifications to ensure effectiveness of COVID-19 controls
With the goal of keeping people safe, healthy and gainfully employed we have agreed on a 32-day transition plan that will be implemented starting Saturday, April 11 through to Wednesday, May 13. During this period, HVC will use the above controls in place and continue to embed our current COVID-19 protocols into the operations.
Transition Period (April 11 – May 13)
Over this period, we will continue to operate with reduced workforce on site.
All hourly employees available to work will be granted one week (48 hours for 12 hour shift employees, or 40 hours for 10 hours shift employees) of additional paid time off so that they will not experience financial hardship during this period.
For most employees, they will end up working three sets and receiving one set off as paid time off.
Due to skills requirements, some employees may be scheduled to work all four sets. In these cases, those employees will be able to carry forward this additional week of paid time off.
In rare cases, it may be necessary for employees to utilize some of their paid time off entitlements.
Affected employees will be contacted by their supervisor with further details.
It is important to reiterate that we have also introduced additional safety protocols to adapt to the increase in the number of people who will be on site during the transition period. These protocols are:
Enhanced safety measures
The Safety department is performing Critical Control Verifications (CCVs) to ensure that safety protocols are being adhered too and are effective.
Enhanced communication measures
We are working to ensure the right messages are getting down to the floor level.
Increased BSW capacity
We have temporarily increased staffing in the BSW group to ensure increased cleaning, and are sanitizing with increased frequency.
HVC and the USW are working closely to ensure we continue to treat employees fairly and according to our collective agreement.
We will continue to monitor this evolving situation closely and may need to further adapt our approach if circumstances change. The ongoing challenge of COVID-19 calls on all of us to stay diligent in following preventative measures and supporting each other and our teams. We know that preserving employment and economic activity to the extent possible will be essential to helping our communities recover from COVID-19; however, our ability to maintain those will be determined by how well we work together to meet this challenge.
Please remember that it is up to each and every one of us to be a leader not just at work, but at home and in our communities. We thank all of you for your cooperation and your ongoing commitment to the health and safety of your colleagues, families and communities.
President USW 7619