COVID-19 Resources

Weekly Webinars
Worker Benefits

What is COVID-19?

The most recent coronavirus, COVID-19, is a new strain of virus that hasn’t been identified before in humans. The COVID-19 virus is a respiratory pathogen that is highly contagious, and it is far more lethal than the flu virus.

Some symptoms of coronavirus include – fever, cough, body aches and tiredness and they can worsen and cause pneumonia, fluid in the lungs that leads to shortness of breath. The COVID-19 illness is more severe than the flu, and the chance of dying from it is greater than the seasonal flu, estimates up to 30x greater risk of death. COVID-19 has been able to spread from person to person very easily and requires an immediate response to protect workers and the general public.

The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. Some recent studies have suggested that COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms. The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person, between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet), through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks because these droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Protect Yourself!

                                                                    Steps to Take to Protect Yourself

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention video on proper hand washing technique.

Source: Center for Disease Control and Prevention

Below are some steps you can take to protect yourself at work or in your daily life. This is not a comprehensive list. It is important to note, as more is learned about COVID-19, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to update their guidance on how to protect yourself. For the most recent updates, visit the CDC website.

  • Stay at home — except to get essentials like food and medicine.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Social Distance – if you have to go out, keep your distance — stay at least six feet away from others.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face covering when you are around others AND still social distance.
  • Make a plan, so you only visit the grocery store or pharmacy once a week during off-peak hours for the shortest amount of time possible.
  • Do not gather in person. Stay in touch with friends and family over the phone or online.
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • If you’re sick, stay at home! (Unless it’s to get medical care)
  • Only go to the hospital for urgent symptoms.
  • Self-isolate if you have mild symptoms.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces you touch often.

Employers should follow the MOST protective guidance and standards issued by state or federal agencies. If guidance contradicts each other, the MOST protective should be implemented.

Credit: National COSH. Click to image enlarge (PDF).

COVID-19 Weekly Updates: Saving Lives, Protecting Workers

In this weekly series, we will hear from and talk with public health experts, government officials, medical personnel, front-line workers and worker representatives about the latest developments in the fight against COVID-19. The series is sponsored by WEC, Rutgers Learn and Jersey Renews and airs on Tuesday @ 10am.  Want to receive weekly series emails, sign up here.

Next Webinar – March 9

Past Webinar Summaries

December 1: Tackling Covid-19 through Training and Health and Safety Committee

This week,, we were joined by representatives from the Communication Workers of America, including Fran Ehret, CWA NJ National Staff Representative, Bill Bradley, CWA NJ Senior Campaign Lead, Jim McAsey, CWA NJ National Staff Representative, Keith Felder, Executive Vice President of CWA Local 1087, Trina Scordo, Executive Director of New Jersey Communities United, and Jon Worley, President of CWA Local 1084.

The first two speakers discussed some of the educational and skills-building trainings the national health and safety committee has facilitated with over 350 rank-and-file H&S committee members from over 20 Locals in the public and private sectors in NJ. We also heard […]

December 3rd, 2020|

November 17: NJ Executive Order 192 – What are the New COVID-19 Protections for Workers?

This week’s webinar focused on Executive Order (EO) 192 which Governor Murphy signed on October 28 and went into effect on November 5. The EO, one of the strongest in the country, mandates a series of COVID-19 protections for workers in both public and private sector employment settings. There were more than 97 people who attended this webinar.

This week we were  joined by:

Lou Kimmel, Executive Director of New Labor who spoke to the success of  EO 192 after a six-month campaign by the Protect NJ Workers Coalition. The EO expands worker protections by requiring employers to establish […]

November 19th, 2020|

November 10: A COVID Health & Safety Conversation with Peg Seminario

This week, we were joined by Peg Seminario, Former Director of Occupational Safety and Health for the AFL-CIO from 1990 until her retirement in 2019.

Peg talked about the failure of federal OSHA to protect workers from not issuing an emergency infectious disease standard to not requiring employers to report workplace COVID cases and the general lack of inaction in the early days. She also noted  that neither the federal or state governments have established data collection systems to track COVID cases in the workplace.

Recommendations she made for OSHA included issuing an infectious disease emergency standard, using the Illness and Injury […]

November 12th, 2020|

October 27: The Importance of Reporting: Filing an Effective Complaint

Today Ellie Barbarash, Health and Safety Coordinator for Health Professionals and Allied Employees, drew upon her experience and long track record of filing successful OSHA complaints.

With changing CDC COVID guidance and no OSHA standard for infectious disease, Ellie identified five health and safety areas relevant to COVID exposure including respiratory protection, PPE, hazard communication, recordkeeping, and, depending on the circumstances, bloodborne pathogens. Ellie talked us through collecting worker exposure stories, collecting information, identifying witnesses, composing and submitting a complaint.

Ellie acknowledged that an effective complaint is labor-intensive. However, doing your homework and filing a detailed complaint does significantly increase the […]

October 28th, 2020|

October 20: How Prepared are We for a Second Wave? Lessons Learned and Challenges Still Ahead in Healthcare

This week we were joined by Debbie White, RN and President of HPAE, who recapped the horror, confusion, and trauma of the first wave of COVID for patients and healthcare workers, while outlining how we can best be prepared to avoid the same issues during a second wave of COVID.

She emphasized the importance of worker voices in pandemic preparedness and how labor unions can lead in fighting to improve health and safety protocols to protect workers and patients. She also elaborated on bills the New Jersey legislature has passed, because of strong organizing from workers, including:

  • Workers Compensation – […]
October 20th, 2020|

The COVID-19 webinar series is sponsored by

Benefits for Workers

Click image to enlarge.

NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development Resources

Federal Paid Sick Leave and CARES act expansions and stimulus


New Jersey 24-Hour Public Hotline -1-800-222-1222
Call 2-1-1
Text “NJCOVID” to 898-211; text your zip code to 898-211 for live text assistance

Go to Top