Our country and Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters is currently navigating through the unprecedented health situation involving COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus). This has been and very well may continue to be hard times for our union. Be assured, that Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters is working diligently to provide the best possible outcome for the brothers and sisters of the union. As we continue to work on behalf of our members, it is important that I provide updates for our members. Our members and I are well aware that these updates will not always be what we want to hear, but they are necessary so that we can all better understand how together we can recover and become an even stronger union.
The Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters’ office locations across the region are still open. In many cases, these locations will not accept individuals to enter the building and a smaller staff is being utilized to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus). We are still taking our members’ calls and assisting them in the best way that we can. Training Centers have been closed at this time and will be reviewed for possible reopening on a weekly basis.
Many in our members have been fortunate and are still able to work at this time. Approximately 90% of our workforce is still working at their current job sites. It is a source of pride that our members are not only able to work professionally, but also safely. The training and preparation for job site standards and safety are always necessary, but especially when national issues like this one arrive. The brothers and sisters of Local 491, unfortunately, have no work hours at this time due to the complete shutdown of the tradeshow industry, not only in our region but within the entire country. It is members like those in Local 491 that are some of the most affected in our country, as they are out of work out of no fault of their own because an entire industry has halted.
Our teams are reaching out to contractors, local elected leaders, and federal representatives to find ways to help lessen the burden on our union families and prepare for work that will be needed during this crisis. Ongoing conversations also include partners in the medical field and the signatory contractors that understand the needs of medical institutions. Meetings with local hospital administrations are also ongoing to determine ways we can help them deal with this healthcare crisis by retrofitting spaces to accommodate growing patient populations and building temporary emergency facilities. Working with the health care system will not only fill a serious need in our communities but also allow our members to continue to work.
We hope that positive steps can be taken within this crisis through partnerships like this. Our involvement in protecting and assisting communities we live in on both paid and volunteer basis can make a big difference. As we all know, our members are the best trained and most skilled workforce in the country. We can and will make a positive impact during this health crisis and once again prove to the world why union carpenters are second to none.
As the Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters, I have the role of serving as a member of each of our council’s benefit funds. The Co-Chairs, Executive Directors, Trustees, attorneys, and financial professionals are meeting regularly to identify what steps we as a union will need to take to best navigate the effects of the current climate, mitigate the loss of work hours, and keep our council on a strong fiscal ground. The more we can ease the burden our members will face during this uncertain time, the faster our union and the union families we serve will come out of this stronger.
We will continue to provide you with updates on any decisions our council and Executive Board make as well as what steps our union is taking to assist the community with COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) issue. With this situation ever-evolving, you can use our “COVID-19 Updates” resource page on eascarpenters.org. I applaud the resilience of our members and wish all our union families safety and health.
William C. Sproule