Union faults SSA H1N1 prevention efforts


The Social Security Administration isn’t taking swine flu precautions seriously and risks exposing employees and their families to the virus, the American Federation of Government Employees says.

In a Nov. 4 letter to SSA Commissioner Michael Astrue, AFGE Council 220 President Witold Skwierczynski said an SSA negotiator told Council 220 members in October that swine flu “is not a serious communicable disease.”

Skwierczynski also said the negotiator and other SSA managers have threatened employees with disciplinary action should they decline to do face-to-face interviews with people who appear to be ill.

The negotiator said anyone who appears to be sick could be taken to to a private room and an SSA employee could telephone the room to interview the client regarding benefits, Skwierczynski said. The union leader called on SSA to change its policies to meet Health and Human Services Department guidelines for swine flu prevention.

“We regret that Mr. Skwierczynski continues to fabricate reports for media attention on this important public health issue,” said SSA spokesman Mark Hinkle. “Our policies meet or exceed everything Health and Human Services is recommending.”


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