General President Eric Dean, General Secretary Ron Piksa and General Treasurer Bill Dean issued the following statement to Iron Workers' members regarding the Iron Workers' response and ongoing actions during the COVID-19 pandemic:
Read the full letter here.
March 26, 2020
Dear Brothers and Sisters:
We felt it important to reach out and share our Intemational's response and ongoing actions during this COVID-19 pandemic.
This disease is dangerous. Our International has reports of our members being diagnosed with the virus as well as members from the other Building Trades unions. We encourage all of you at home or still at work to take precautions laid out by authorities and employers to stay safe. Remember that even if you don't think COVID-19 can kill you, you may spread the disease to your crew and your family. Ironworker safety is always our primary concern. Please follow any guidance you receive from NABTU or your local Building Trades as those are collective responses from our union and other trades.
You are not alone. Our union is hard at work to defend ironworkers' wellbeing with local, state, provincial and federal governments in the United States and Canada.
For those who are still at work, we have demanded safety measures and funding to implement them. For those who have been laid off, we are fighting to raise and extend unemployment.
The security of our health and pension funds has never been so important, so we are pushing Congress to provide support to the multiemployer plans our members rely on.
Even after the virus is contained, our economy will need help to recover. We will advocate for a robust transportation and infrastructure bill and other construction stimulus that will provide long term jobs for our members.
You are not helpless. By speaking with a unified voice, we can defend our safety, income, healthcare, and jobs. Our union is organizing members to call elected officials and insist they recognize our industry and prioritize Main Street relief for workers versus Wall Street and Bay Street bailouts.
Our International is working during this time. Our staff is teleworking and answering phones as if they were at their desks. Do not hesitate to call with concerns or questions.
Many locals, training centers and jobs are shut down or not open to the public. We have created a LMS (Learning Management System) for our apprenticeship courses and we are providing procedures to our locals for conducting those courses online. We are also offering alternative contract ratification, election and nominations procedures to locals, and ask members to bear with these disruptions in an unprecedented time.
We must all live up to the spirit of our great union where we stick together and look out for the members who are laid off, sick or in need of a helping hand. Ironworkers stick together. And remember tough times don't last but tough people do - and there is no one tougher than an ironworker.
With best wishes and kind personal regards, we are
Eric M. Dean, General President
Ronald J. Piksa, General Secretary
Kenneth "Bill" Dean, General Treasurer