April 20, 2020
COVID-19 Update for April 20, 2020
Dear Brothers and Sisters, 

For the past several weeks during the COVID-19 pandemic you have worked tirelessly and under enormous pressure to perform your responsibilities as peace officers and, for many of you, as first responders. Local 685 members are to be commended for:

  • Working under emergency conditions to protect and care for the juveniles in the Halls and Camps;
  • Monitoring adults, juveniles; and special populations assigned to Probation despite the risks;
  • Your diligence in continuing critical pre-trial investigations; and
  • Your commitment to protecting wayward children in DCFS. 

As of the time of this writing, the Probation Department has not reported a single positive test for any juvenile. Your concerted work efforts as a Union is nothing less than remarkable.

17 of our Brothers and Sisters have reported a positive test for the novel coronavirus and have been quarantined. As far as we know, no bargaining unit member that has tested positive is in the hospital or on a ventilator, although we know of at least one spouse who is on a ventilator. We also understand from the Probation Department that the number of staff assigned to the Halls and Camps will be reduced during the upcoming week.

The Current Stats*
  • 17 Probation staff have tested positive for COVID-19
  • 63 Probation employees have been quarantined (self-imposed or ordered as of April 17)
  • 911 Probation employees are on Telework (as of April 17)
  • 382 Detention Services Bureau population
  • 205 Residential Treatment Services Bureau population
  • 0 juveniles in a Hall or Probation Camp have tested positive

*We are awaiting information from the Department of Children & Family Services.

As a Union, we have worked collaboratively in partnership with Interim Probation Chief Raymond Leyva and his executive management team to ensure the protection of Local 685 members. Thermometers will be delivered starting today at all facilities, and staff will be receiving training on how to use and read the thermometers.

Procurement and supply orders are underway for more surgical masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer. We have also begun positive discussions with the Department of Children and Family Serivces management to ensure the safety of our members assigned to DCFS. 

In our joint-labor management conference calls with both departments, your Executive Board members continue to bring your concerns regarding overstaffing, reassignments, safety, personal protective equipment, and other operational changes.

At a time when others are calling for the release of high-risk juvenile offenders to the community, which is already under attack from COVID-19, we have enhanced our communication efforts and collaboration in working together to meet the challenges of maintaining Probation juvenile services in a safe environment. Clearly our efforts are working.

As reported in the news media, the Safe at Home orders, Public Health Department and CDC guidance, and the California Governor’s Safe at Home/Shelter in Place orders appear to slowing the spread of COVID-19 and flattening the curve so that we can be safe and return to some semblance of the new normal.

The “new normal” may not look the same for Probation – juvenile and adult – and DCFS operations. Much work lies ahead for each of us and for our Union. The safety and protection of each member of Local 685 remains our top priority. Our jobs are critical to the continued safety of juveniles in the institutions, adults and juveniles in the field, and children and families in DCFS, and I am proud to say that no one could do our jobs better than the dedicated and skilled members of AFSCME Local 685. 

In the days and weeks to come, I am encouraging each of you to continue to perform your duties and responsibilities as the professionals you all have demonstrated yourselves to be in these unprecedented times. 
In solidarity,

Hans Liang

AFSCME Local 685
The Mandatory Face Mask
By Cookie Lommel

We began to receive many calls from concerned members, uneasy about their safety and the safety of young people in the Halls and Camps since they had not yet received a mask to wear while working. Upon hearing this, the Local 685 Executive Board sent me on a mission to investigate what we could do to assist members with masks. What I discovered is that everyone was having a problem getting protective masks because suppliers were unable to fulfill orders in a timely manner or they just were not available. 

Facing the dilemma encountered by many first responders, I contacted some of our supporters such as Washington National Insurance Company, Bender Benefits, and Symetra to ask for donations of masks, and they were very receptive.

I then talked to doctors I knew personally whom I thought might be able to steer me towards sympathetic suppliers; however, they explained to me that suppliers were upping the prices on masks. Nevertheless, going to my doctors actually turned out to be a good idea because hearing my story concerning how great the Probation and DCFS staff, my doctors decided to share some of their masks with me, giving me so many that I ended up with several hundred. I guess I tell a good story!

We now have ample masks for members and will be distributing them very soon.

Masks are effective only when used in combination with frequent hand-cleaning with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water. Here are some helpful mask tips from the World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control:

N95 Masks – N95 masks are considered a limited reuse item, to be used continuously for five days then disposed. When not in use, hang used N95 masks in a designated storage area or keep them in a clean, breathable container such as a paper bag between uses. To minimize potential cross-contamination, store the N95 mask so that they do not touch each other and the person using the mask is clearly identified. Storage containers should be disposed of or cleaned regularly.

Cloth Masks – Cloth masks can limit the spread of germs from the mask wearer to others by helping block large droplets from coughs and sneezes. Do not touch the inside of the mask (the part over nose and mouth) as it may be contaminated from your breathing, coughing, or sneezing. The mask should be washed daily after use.

Surgical Masks – Loose-fitting, a disposable device may be effective in blocking particle droplets, splashes, and sprays that may contain germs keeping them from reaching mouth and nose, Surgical masks do not block small particles in the air that may be transmitted by nearby coughing or sneezing. Dispose after eight hours of use.
COVID-19 Resources

This page is a resource for Local 685 members to have access to official County/Department forms and memos from the County regarding COVID-19's impact on County operations and County employees. Please check here routinely for the latest update from the County and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Click here and visit daily!
General Membership & Stewards Meetings Canceled for April

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and orders from local, state, and federal officials, the Local 685 General Membership and Stewards Meetings are canceled for the month of April 2020.

Please stay safe and healthy in these difficult times!