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Unit 5 Covid-19 Update April 4th

Posted in Unit 5


This past week has been challenging on a number of fronts as we are facing more changes to how the University is responding to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.  Each of our groups has faced varying changes to the work environment as interim measures were put in place.  We have been in continued conversation with the University about other measures that may be implemented or were rolled out to the membership during the course of this week.  Further to that yesterday afternoon Doug Ford announced further changes to the list of businesses and services required to close.  The University is taking a look at the new closures and we anticipate that there will be further changes to operations.

We are not yet sure about how the provisions rolled out during the course of last week, notably the use of vacation time, will factor into any changes in plans the University makes whether now or over the course of any new announcements.

Some key points we would like to highlight-

  • Members who are reporting to work MUST practice safe social distancing. Do not gather in groups in lunchrooms and maintain a minimum distance of 6 feet.  If a particular job you are assigned would require you are closer than 6 feet to another person/member, please reach out to your supervisor to discuss alternative options.
  • If you are feeling unsafe at work, we suggest you read the information we have posted on Union Bulletin boards that clarifies how the existence of an infectious disease is not inherently an unsafe work environment. If you have concerns not answered by that information, you are encouraged to reach out to Jim McAndrew, Health and Safety Coordinator at
  • Essential services designations are not a consideration at this time. The government’s use of this terminology is causing some confusion.  McMaster University is open and as such your attendance at work has nothing to do with whether or not you are designated ‘essential’ services.

Information and resources relating to Leaves, EI Benefits and CERB (Canada Emergency Response Benefit) can be found on the Unifor National COVID-19 website.  Many of those resources will also be posted or linked to on the Local 5555 COVID-19 Updates page.

You are encouraged to monitor your McMaster email or the Local website for updates from us.  If you have concerns or questions, you are encouraged to reach out to your Unit Chair, Chantelle Hankins ( or Vice-President Emily Heikoop (