MPFE is Montana’s largest union representing tens of thousands of frontline workers including educators, law enforcement, healthcare workers, and state and local government employees. MFPE members have continued to report for duty every single day to ensure Montanans continue to receive vital services throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, if Montanans expect MFPE members to continue to provide education, corrections, law enforcement, and government services in-person, Montanans must take responsibility to reduce or eliminate community spread. Montanans must wear masks in all public areas, and state and local government must hold all of us accountable for noncompliance. Additionally, educators, school boards and administrators must continue to follow all state and county public health guidelines, including mask-wearing, contact tracing and quarantining. All Montanans can help protect their neighbors who serve on the frontlines by doing the same.
To date, MFPE governance has asked the Governor’s office for:
- Stricter reporting guidelines, separating school case reporting into two categories: classroom spread and school activity spread
- Remote learning in communities that cannot keep their infection rate below a rate set by county health departments
- Telework for government employees
- Increased protection and hazard pay for corrections, health care, human service, and law enforcement workers where telework is impossible as a matter of public safety
Meanwhile, MFPE has negotiated and advocated at the federal, state and local level for:
- Flexible leave provisions to deal with Covid related illness and absences to help stop spread and allow families to support and assist one another
- Workplace safety measures including cleaning, access to protective equipment, and reporting that help workers stay safe on the job
- Increased funding to public schools and agencies to assure that adequate personnel and resources are available to continue services
With Covid-19 cases growing rapidly in Montana, MFPE governance, staff, and members will continue to advocate for increased safety measures for all essential workers and community compliance with state and local health directives and recommendations. We ask all Montanans to join us in doing so.