Date Posted

As of Friday, Governor Cuomo has ordered all non-essential construction to be shut down statewide. In a continuing effort to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus, this has become necessary. This will primarily impact all commercial and most residential construction. We are looking at at a minimum of 3 weeks until April 21st, and it could be extended. Essential construction including hospitals, transportation, utilities, and affordable housing will continue. Employers must provide a safe work site and are subject to $10,000 fines. Be vigilant and protect yourself if you continue to work. Notify the construction desk of unsafe conditions on any jobsite.

This shutdown could affect 60% of our membership or more. The impact on the funds will be considerable, but there is nothing more important than your personal safety and that of your families. We have a number of members currently in the hospital diagnosed with COVID-19 or because of other issues made worse due to COVID-19. Some are in serious conditions and others have been sent home. Unfortunately, at this point we have had at least one member pass and we keep him and all others affected by this in our prayers.

I participated in the weekly conference call of the NYC Central Labor Council's Executive Board this morning. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called in and highlighted some of the important details of the recently passed stimulus package. He, along with Senator Gillibrand and the Senate Democrats, worked hard to ensure that the immediate needs of America's workers and America's healthcare system were addressed as quickly as possible. While McConnell and Senate Republicans were only interested in helping corporations and businesses, Senator Schumer and the Democrats fought for expanding unemployment insurance, aid to small businesses including incentives for companies to hire back as many workers as possible, aid to state and local governments, and oversight on corporate aid. He stressed, and I agree, that it is a good package but only a start. I implored him to focus on pension reform and to ensure the solvency of all pension plans that will be hurt by this crisis due to less contributions and man-hours over the next several months. He assured us on the call that pension reform will be a priority in the next COVID-19 package that will be coming together in the next few weeks.

Our industry will be impacted by this long-term, as revenues to the MTA and the Port Authority dry up, which will delay anticipated projects that were in the works. There is nothing more important than our medical benefits and there are reserves, however, we may have to shuffle the deck with contributions from other plans or possibly make modifications to the benefits. These are the facts that we will have to face during this unprecedented pandemic.

I want to acknowledge those who will answer the call to do the emergency work that has already begun. Like so many first responders that ran toward the World Trade Center on 9/11 and the days after, fearless Local 3 members were on the front lines in harm's way and many paid a steep price, some even with their lives. We will be called on again to build the temporary hospitals that are needed for the tens of thousands of New Yorkers who are sick and dying.

We have never faced anything like what we are about to face. There will be hardship, suffering, and sacrifices. God willing, we come out of this stronger as a union that has always provided for and improved the lives of our members and our families. We are in this together.