Corona Virus Response

GENERAL INFORMATION (updated 4/1/20)

For comprehensive, state-specific information, use links below.

http://nasrcc.org/coronasp (Spanish version)

Members and contractors on active sites should follow CDC guidelines for preventing the spread of the virus. Members who have concerns about their health and safety should talk to the carpenter steward on the job and/or their local union.

The North Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters joined other members of the Massachusetts Building Trades Council in voting yesterday to call on Governor Charles Baker to suspend all non-emergency construction in the state.

The state of Vermont's Department of Labor has updated information related to unemployment benefits and the impact of the recently passed CARES Act from the federal government.

Maine Governor Janet Mills has tightened the stay-at-home order issued for that state, but still lists construction as an essential industry.

The United Brotherhood of Carpenters has prepared a summary and guide to provisions in the CARES Act, passed in Washington, D.C. last week.

If you're in New York and filing for unemployment benefits, you might find these guides prepared by the New York Department of Labor to be helpful

Updated information

Feds pass extensive package to help workers/businesses as more work closures hit industry

The Bills

Legislation has been passed in Washington that among other things:

--Provides up to $1,200 for singles making up to $75,000 or $2,400 to married couples making up to $149,000 with additional money for children.

--Sends funding to states to increase weekly unemployment benefits by $600 a week through the end of July.

--Allows states to expand eligibility for unemployment to include more workers with limited work histories or who work as independent contractors.

Current and previously passed legislation will help workers who suffer work loss more directly tied to the impact of COVID-19 on themselves and their families and businesses trying to retain employees or who need financing to help them through.

The bill is the latest response from Washington to provide financial assistance to Americans and businesses. For more on the federal efforts, visit nasrcc.org/coronafed

The Work

Help from Washington is increasingly necessary as the construction industry continues to reel and sink deeper into inactivity rather than retaining work or pivoting toward recovery. "Stay at home" orders have been issued throughout the region. Though most initially classified construction as essential and therefore exempt, sites have continued to close.

Vermont never did widely exempt construction when it issued its "Stay at home" order this week, allowing only projects that were deemed emergencies or directly related to efforts to battle COVID-19 to continue. After mounting evidence that many sites in New York were not able to sustain safe conditions, they modified their policy to restrict limit essential construction to a similar definition, with the support of the New York City District Council of Carpenters and other building trades unions.

Contractors in Massachusetts were also facing increasing pressure from unions and the general public at the end of the week as it became clear that many were unwilling or unable to maintain consistently safe conditions on their sites.New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu has issued a stay at home order for the state, effective at midnight on Friday, March 27. Though certain essential industries will be exempt from the order, his office has not yet indicated whether construction will be one of them.

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker this week repeated his classification of construction as an essential industry, exempt from work stoppage orders and emphasized that municipalities do not have the authority to over-ride his decision.

Boston, Brookline Cambridge, Somerville and Watertown had issued moratoriums on construction that was at odds with his order. Brookline has allowed projects to re-open.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh responded by declaring that work not on state property in the city would remain closed and that his order stopping construction in the city would remain in place "until further notice." Cambridge, Somerville and Watertown have also kept sites closed.

The Governors of New York and Connecticut have issued similar executive orders, listing construction as essential and one of the industries exempted from the order, meaning sites will be open.

Our benefit funds have been exempted from the orders in New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts, allowing them to provide support and answer questions from members.

Please remember that things are changing rapidly and there is a lot of information being circulated on a number of topics right now. Be wary of rumors, honest mistakes or misinformation. Seek reliable and multiple sources to confirm what you are hearing. Understand that while we are able to share general information, your situation may include unique circumstances which change how something applies to you.

The Carpenters Assistance Program continues to be available for members at this time. Members can call Paul Greeley or Jeff Smith at (617) 782-0100 or visit KGA online, 24/7.

All offices of the North Atlantic States Regional Council, affiliated local unions and benefit fund offices will be closed to walk-in service. Staff will be working remotely and available by phone, email, social media or other channels. Members are asked to pay dues online or by mail.

ALL training and events at training centers are closed.
ALL monthly union meetings have been cancelled until further notice.
The regional council delegate meeting in March has been cancelled.


Responses by state governments

State-by-state information is being gathered by the union and can be accessed at the links below. Most states are expanding eligibility and waiving waiting times for unemployment. Members are encouraged to file for unemployment as soon as they can after a layoff. Members who have not collected should note that benefits will not equal your regular take-home pay and benefits are taxable at the end of the year as income.

In most states, members can access general information about health and community services by dialing 2-1-1.

To access information from your state, click on the link below
Connecticut
Rhode Island
Massachusetts (EspaƱol: http://nasrcc.org/coronamasp)
Maine
New Hampshire
Vermont
New York (Espaol: http://nasrcc.org/coronanysp)