April ’20 Labor-Citizen

Brothers and Sisters:

Everyone reading this article is well aware of the extent of the COVID-19 epidemic and the effect the restrictions placed by the federal and state authorities on free movement and gatherings of any size or purpose.

On March 13, IUEC Local 17 cancelled the regular members meeting in compliance with CDC guidelines on gathering sizes and social distance. The officers met upstairs in the Local’s office to hold a meeting to discuss business and pay the bills. Most of the meeting was taken up by Business Manager John Driscoll, Jr. reviewing the most recent information available on the work situation, the IUEC and NEBA response and protective measures being disseminated by the CDC. This information is available on the IUEC Local 17 website, iueclocal17.org.

As of this writing, these are the most relevant points:

President Trump extended the CDC guidelines on social distancing and gathering sizes until April 30. This currently means gatherings of more than ten people are prohibited and those venturing out in public are to keep a six foot distance from each other.

Governor Mike Dewine ordered a series of business closures with specific exemptions for those deemed as essential businesses. The building and construction trades fall under that exemption.

Schools, colleges and universities are closed and only those employees and contractors deemed essential to operations are allowed access.

At least two downtown buildings are being talked about as emergency health care facilities.

The IUEC and NEBA, the bargaining unit for large signatory companies, agreed on two important terms for represented members. First, members have a right to refuse calls or service to facilities where COVID-19 is present and employers must supply additional PPE as required for entrance to those facilities. Second, employers may furlough employees. These furloughed employees will be placed on a list to be called back by the furloughing company before the company may pick up a laid-off member.

Those who lose their jobs because of COVID-19 are eligible for relief from the $2 trillion bill passed by Congress and signed by the president. Those affected by a quarantine are entitled to additional benefits for the term of the quarantine.

Companies are distributing hand wipes, sanitizer, face shields and other PPE as they receive the supplies. There are also additional communications regarding the most recent ways to protect yourself and those you come in contact with from spreading coronavirus.

By the time this sees print, there will undoubtably be additions and changes to this list. All those reading this need to be present in their jobs to keep focused on their own safety as well as the safety of the public we may come in contact with. There are members working in building that are virtually empty and they need to take special care to work as safe as possible.

In any case,

Work smart, work safe and slow down for safety.
Don.
DKnapik@windstream.net