Dog days of summer. I know it’s hot but we have to keep the masks on. Traveling to work, on the job, and after work. Too many young people think they are invincible. Covid kills. Just ask the families of our 12 active members and 35 retirees who lost their lives to this coronavirus.
Our work opportunity is gradually improving. Furlough replacements have brought the number of unemployed down to 814 as of July 17 and the number of AJs on temporary layoff is 1,154. The numbers in the other construction classifications are all much lower. The peak unemployment in all Construction divisions reached 6,807 on May 4.
There are a number of large jobs that we have allocated Target Fund money to and are awaiting the results of the bids. 363 and non-union contractors are in the mix on all of them, and we need to be competitive because our benefits are not cheap. I want to remind all of our members that we need the owners, developers, GCs and construction managers to value the productivity and quality of a Local 3 job and that remains in your hands only. Productivity has and always will be the key to our success. They have a number of non-affiliated contractors capable of doing their jobs and they are much cheaper. Not safer or faster, but cheaper. The pressure to take the lowest bid is what we are up against and we can win if we all do the right thing all the time.
The staffing at the hall and the JIB is almost back to full, but we continue to practice social distancing and to limit face-to-face contact where we can. We are still subject to restrictions and limits for all meetings and the clubs and division meetings remain suspended. I am proud to say that throughout this ordeal not one retiree missed a pension or annuity check and also the JIB Medical Department is starting to open up. We still have the September deadline for all members to have their Safety cards and you need to have them to be on the job and to be referred out from the Employment Department. The revenue and the funds are holding their own but we did take a significant hit.
Despite all of the challenges we continue to move forward. It’s not all bad news. Keep your chins up. We have a great organization and much to be proud of. Black, white, brown, male, female, gay, straight, trans, we are all in this together. One Union, stronger together, brothers and sisters all.