Published: March 18, 2020

SEIU 503 is working quickly to make sure that workers’ voices are not ignored as employers, government agencies and policy makers roll out COVID-19 plans. Things are changing rapidly and we are doing our best to keep everyone up-to-date. 

It’s times like these that we’re thankful we have a strong union that can respond and make sure our voices are heard.

We will be adding information and resources to this page as it becomes available.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: I’m at home because I was sent home by my employer, self-quarantined or medically mandated quarantine. Will I get paid? A: Yes. You will be able to use the 80 hours of emergency paid leave in the letter of agreement we signed with the universities. See details below.

Q: If I run out of leave, can I file for unemployment? A: Yes. If you’ve exhausted the 80 hours of emergency leave and your own leave, you should file for unemployment. You do not need to be looking for work to qualify. See the unemployment section below for more information on how to apply.

Q: I’m considered essential staff but I am in an “at risk” group (age, immunocompromised, etc) and would like to use leave to avoid exposure. Can I use leave even if I’m essential staff? A: Yes. Your supervisor should allow you to take leave. If your supervisor isn’t working with you to allow you to take the time off please contact your union steward or call us at 1-844-503-SEIU (7348).

Q: “My supervisor is telling my position is critical. How can I verify this? Contact your steward or call us at 1-844-503-SEIU (7348).

Q: Will essential employees who cannot telework receive hazard pay? A: Not at this time, neither our contract or the LOA address hazard pay.  We continue to work on addressing the difficult working conditions for essential staff, and will keep you informed of any updates.

Have a question you don’t see answered? Submit it here. 

University Letter of Agreement on COVID-19

Our Union has signed a Letter of Agreement (LOA) with Oregon’s seven public universities to make sure your perspective is taken into account during this period of uncertainty.

Click here to read the full Letter of Agreement.


Child Care

If you are continuing to work during this public health emergency and need child care, please call 211info to get connected with a provider as soon as possible. We’ve put together a guide for SEIU members who are trying to apply.


Unemployment Benefits

Governor Brown has issued an executive order loosening the rules around unemployment to help people who are quarantined or temporarily out of work due to COVID-19 – this includes people who need to stay at home to care for a child. Claims can be filed at Oregon.gov/employ or by calling 1-877-FILE-4-UI (1-877-345-3484).


Family First Coronavirus Response Act: Paid Leave

On April 1, 2020 a new federal law will go into effect that millions of workers the right to take paid sick leave and paid family medical leave to deal with the Coronavirus. However, due to pressure from corporate interests, and some politicians, the law leaves out many workers. Click here to see if you can benefit.


Community Resource Guide

With information on state and county resources, food assistance, low cost healthcare, childcare and more, our resource guide is an attempt to pull together all the resources in the state that are available to people impacted by COVID-19.


Additional Resources

  • Each university has put up websites with campus-specific information.
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): There is a critical shortage of PPE in Oregon and around the county. Governor Kate Brown directed all Oregon hospitals, outpatient clinics, and health care providers, including veterinarians and dentists, to cease all non-emergency procedures, in order to preserve personal protective equipment (PPE), such as surgical masks, gowns, and gloves, for health care workers treating COVID-19 patients. We are doing everything we can to fight for access. Please contact your organizer if you don’t have access to PPE. Every story helps us advocate.
  • 211 is the go-to public phone number to get information about Novel Coronavirus and referrals to programs for food, shelter, health care and more. CALL 211 or 1-866-698-6155; TEXT your zip code to 898211 (TXT211); EMAIL help@211info.org.
  • Visit the Oregon Health Authority’s COVID-19 website for weekly public updates about how many people are being monitored in Oregon, as well as updates on how Oregon families can help prevent the spread of coronavirus.
  • Governor Kate Brown is posting updated news and resources, including the latest information on school and business closures, on her official website.
  • Ten Steps for preventing Coronavirus: in English and Spanish
  • Regarding the Coronavirus and xenophobia — read this article in TIME magazine, and this one from the Los Angeles Times.