I-Team: Husband and wife fighting COVID-19, worried about losing benefits

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(WJW) — The FOX 8 I TEAM has found a husband and wife usually work two jobs together, but they’re  now sitting at home quarantined together battling the coronavirus.

And they’re among many Cleveland city workers concerned about losing some benefits outlined in an internal memo obtained by the I TEAM.

George and Toni Faison work for the city helping make sure your trash gets picked up. And, they work together cleaning RTA buses.

But George tells us he tested positive for COVID-19. Toni says she’s battling symptoms and just got tested.

Now a city hall memo obtained by the ITEAM raises even more concerns. It appears to indicate many city workers may not get two weeks paid leave for the coronavirus. They, instead, would have to immediately rely on their own sick time and other benefits.

George Faison said, “It’s very stressful.” He added, “By me and my wife being home an extended period of time, we need to know what kind of coverage we’re going to receive.”

Recently, city hall put out work rules promising two-weeks paid leave tied to the coronavirus. But, that new memo has created confusion among union leaders. We even found some city officials confused, wondering if this might even take away benefits for police officers, firefighters, and paramedics.

The mayor’s office says city hall won’t comment until all workers are notified of any changes.

We also reached out to the U.S. Dept. of Labor with a series of questions.

All of this is more weighing on the minds of a husband and wife who are co-workers and now patients together.

George Faison said, “My cough was real bad. I just wasn’t feeling well. My body was aching. I had some chills.” And, he said, “It’s really been hard on the family — having to be in quarantine.”

Toni Faison said, “I’ve been having really bad headaches. I’m having a real bad cough. I’m having chest pains.”

She added, “I never imagined this. I mean, something like this, I never seen this coming.”
Suddenly, working two jobs seems much easier than getting healthy.

The Department of Labor didn’t directly answer our questions, but the agency did send us a link to a list of “frequently asked questions” including a hotline workers can call.

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