Date Posted

This was forwarded from the Building Trades on Friday regarding the School Construction Authority (SCA):

"In order to permit the SCA and its stakeholders to continue to perform business as usual and be in compliance with the directives in the attached Order of the Commissioner of Health and Mental Hygiene, the SCA is requesting that your member construction unions inform workers that are sent to SCA projects that each worker will be expected to show their employer/contractor proof that:

  • They have been fully vaccinated; or,
  • They have received the first dose of an approved two-dose vaccine and must additionally provide proof that they have received the second dose of that vaccine within 45 days of the first dose."

This is the first official customer request mandating vaccinated workers only on their projects, and this directive probably impacts most of the NYC PLA jobs as well. In addition, the developers on the private jobs have indicated that the customers are about to make the same request. This will absolutely affect unvaccinated members and their opportunity to remain employed on those jobs or to be referred out from the Employment Department. Also, many health insurers and some private employers are raising premiums for unvaccinated employees, and in some cases they are refusing to pay COVID-related medical expenses for those who choose not to get the vaccination. Our trustees will take a close look at the impact of the COVID-related expenses on our medical plan and weigh the decision whether to pay the medical costs for those who choose not to be vaccinated and get COVID.

I am also really concerned about the safety of our members and ultimately their families as well, who are exposed to COVID from co-workers on the job who choose not to be vaccinated. I don’t get it. Over 635,000 dead in our country and rising with the variants. You can avoid or at least minimize the horror of COVID with a vaccination. Being unemployed and unavailable, as well as the loss of medical insurance for you and your family, for what? You would need to pay COBRA to remain covered, and if there is a break in coverage you will need to work 26 weeks when you do go back to work for the medical to kick in. I take no pleasure in giving our members the bad news or wish any of that on anyone, but those are the facts.