Iron Workers' response and ongoing actions during COVID-19 pandemic

Mar 26, 2020

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

State Building & Construction Trades Council of California, AFL-CIO
Robbie Hunter, President
Contact: Brooke Patton Executive Assistant
916- 996-6972(O)• 916- 443-8204(F)

March 20, 2020

Read the full bulletin from the State Building & Construction Trades Council of California, AFL-CIO here.

COVID-19 Safety Measures on Construction Sites

The following communication is merely a guideline absent a state or federal mandate to close construction sites until the COVID-19 outbreak has subsided.

We are sending out this memo to help clarify the current situation affecting building trades affiliates, their members and the construction sites they work on. After speaking to many business managers and contractors, the building trades suggests the following guidelines when it comes to construction sites where members of building trades affiliated unions are working.

This scenario may change because of circumstances beyond our control, but, at this moment, as the coronavirus outbreak continues to spread, building trades leaders are working closely with local affiliated unions, project owners, contractors and public agencies to keep construction sites open and safe. The safety of workers is always of paramount importance, particularly in situations like this.

Contractors and jobsite safety personnel should take specific steps to increase hygiene on the jobsite, such as:

1.            Adding sanitary facilities (toilet and hand-washing stations with soap and hand sanitizer provided).  Workers should both wash their hands with soap for 20 seconds and use hand sanitizer often.

2.            Performing deep cleaning on jobsites including disinfecting handrails, doorknobs, equipment handles and tools on an accelerated basis.

3.            Instead of having group safety meetings, and to keep the suggested social distance, they should have smaller individual safety meetings at the jobsite maintaining social distancing guidelines.

4.            Keep separation of at least 6 feet as feasible while on the job and always during rest and break periods and lunches; there should be no group gatherings.

5.            Workers should consider bringing a lunch made at home and stay away from congested lunch trucks and coffee shops. Go directly from work to home and vice versa with as little contact with the general public as possible.

6.            Workers should wear and utilize all safety equipment available on the jobsite.  Contractors should provide all protective equipment as available.

It is up to us to make the conditions as conducive toward the safety of our members as possible. In addition to the above guidelines, here are the NABTU (North America’s Building Trades Unions) and the CPWR (Center for Construction Research and Training) guidelines:

1.            If you are sick, stay home and don’t show up to work.

2.            Don’t shake hands when greeting others.

3.            Try to stay 3 to 6 feet away from others.

4.            Avoid sick people.

5.            Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.

6.            Clean your hands often by washing them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using a hand sanitizer that contains 60-95% alcohol; soap and water should be used if hands are visibly dirty.

Construction workers often work with gloves outside and typically can work with some distance between each other. And they get paid only when working.

If these guidelines cannot be met and a project is in tight quarters, or in contact with the general public, consideration should be given to shutting the construction project down until safer conditions exist.

We will keep you up to date with the latest information as we get it.

Stay safe, protecting yourself, protects the family members you come home to.


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