Aug. 14, 2020
SSMRC millwrights helped contractor Walbridge restore a tornado-damaged automotive plant in record time.
Southern States Millwrights were among the first workers to answer a contractor’s call for assistance in mid-April, after a tornado struck and severely damaged a Seneca, South Carolina, facility that is the sole manufacturer of transfer cases for some Ford, Toyota, and Fiat Chrysler trucks and SUVs.

“We got that job manned in a matter of hours,” said Logan Brown, director of the SSMRC’s Eastern Region. “Eleven millwrights and nine carpenters jumped on the opportunity and showed up the next day. When you call people at 5 p.m. and ask them to show up at 7 in the morning, and they do, it testifies to the professionalism of millwrights.”

While parts of the plant were still undergoing repairs, BorgWarner employees resumed work on May 4. Ongoing repairs at the plant are expected to employ five SSMRC millwrights through at least mid-November of 2020.

Read more about the project here.
After spending more than three decades as an ironworker, Gene Howard, now 51, became a union millwright two years ago.

Howard said he likes challenging himself, and the variety of work millwrights engage in appeals to him. “There are so many trades millwrights enter into, going from turbines and nuclear power plants to conveyor systems to automobile plants,” he said. “It’s an ongoing growing process of producing the best specialists in the world to hit all these different varieties of trades.”

Read a Q&A with Howard here.
Western Region
Local 216:
Oklahoma work is slow at the moment. Work at Amazon will be kicking off next week, and other work will not be starting until September. Arkansas has work coming up at Kimberly Clark in Maumelle, along with several other ongoing projects. The Nucor expansion will slow down until after Labor Day.
Local 729:
Work is slow in Louisiana, but there is a project coming up in late August at Graphic Packaging.
Local 1421:
There are several ongoing projects in North Texas, and it looks like there may be some work starting in Austin in the near future. There will be more work kicking off in September as well.
Local 2232:
Local 2232 is still referring millwrights to the Toyota project in San Antonio.
Central Region
We are going to be busy within the automotive and power-generation industries this fall. If you are available for work, please put yourself on the out-of-work list and reach out to your business agent.
–Jeff Smith, Central Region Director
Local 1192:
  • Toyota Mazda in Huntsville, Alabama, is getting underway and will continue to hire over the next couple of months. Please make sure to have your OSHA 10, forklift, and aerial-lift certifications. Riggers and welders will be in high demand as well.
  • The Washington County Cogen power plant will have an outage this coming fall.
  • Plant Daniels is preparing for an outage in September. 
  • Power generation is looking to be busy. Outages will begin on Sept. 1.

Local 1554:
  • TVA is still on track for fall outages. COVID-19 has changed processes and PPE requirements at most jobsites, and TVA is currently allowing only essential employees onsite.
  • At GM in Springhill, things are slow but expected to pick up.
  • Vi-Jon in Smyrna, Tennessee, has an outage scheduled for the end of July.
  • Nissan in Smyrna, Tennessee, has an outage scheduled for Aug. 15.
  • Bridgestone will not be doing its Labor Day outage for 2020, but continuing its daily maintenance.
Eastern Region
Local 1000:
  • SGS Turkey Point Nuclear Plant outage has started mobilizing.
  • SGS has several jobs coming up in September and October.
  • APM has some work coming up in October.
  • Western Industrial is working on a DHL project in Miami.
  • Preferred Maintenance has a small shutdown at SAPPA, and is working at Refresco.
  • There is airport work in Ft. Lauderdale, Tampa, Orlando, and Miami.
  • GCI and Central Maintenance have work at the Big Bend outage.
  • We're working shutdowns and down days as well as maintenance in the phosphate industry.
  • UPS - Phase one is finished and we're working on maintenance. Phase two has been pushed back until further notice.
  • Airco still has a few guys at Big Bend Powerhouse doing some maintenance.
  • Superior Rigging is working on a top-secret ride at Universal Studios.
Local 2411:
  • Future work that has not been awarded includes an Amazon project and an expansion at B. Braun Medical Manufacturing Plant.

Local 1263:
  • Vulcan fall outages are planned for Plant Jack McDonough and Plant Bowen. Dates are Aug. 10-Sept. 22, Sept. 28-Oct. 23, and Oct. 1-Nov. 25.
  • We will be rebuilding the cooling towers at plant Hatch.
  • There will be new equipment installation for an electric-cable manufacturer in Goose Creek.
  • SRS is going to begin a plutonium pit project sometime soon.
  • CR Meyer is working at First Quality in Anderson, South Carolina.
  • RCC and TurbinePROs are at Georgia Power’s Plant Vogtle Units 3 and 4 construction project. See the schedule information and graphics below.
Additional information for Vogtle workers:
Nuclear Division
As we move closer to the beginning of the fall outage season, customers (utility companies) are faced with the national rise in COVID-19 cases and the effect the virus could have on their outages. I am sure the safety of not only their workforces, but the workforces of outage contractors weighs heavily on decision makers’ shoulders. Some are considering whether it is possible to reduce work scopes to mitigate virus exposure and reduce its spread.

Waterford has decided to reduce the work scope for its outage. Along with the work-scope reduction, as mentioned in my last update, comes a manpower reduction. The decrease was just over 56%, from 62 to 27. With most of those 62 positions already assigned, we are reassigning as many as possible to other outages within the SSMRC jurisdiction. Although this relieves the overall manpower requirements for the season, it is never good to see any work being delayed or canceled because it means fewer work hours for our members. I hope we have seen the last of the reductions.

As a reminder, please review your training certifications for expiration. Understand our training centers are doing their best to provide as many classes as possible, and it might be more difficult at this time to find and register for the particular classes you need. A little patience and effort on your behalf in keeping your certifications updated will pay off in the future.

– David Bonds, nuclear representative
Georgia-Pacific prohibits Confederate flags at all GP facilities
Georgia-Pacific announced Aug. 3 that Confederate flags would be prohibited at all GP facilities, effective immediately.

The company stated it was clarifying its long-standing policy prohibiting discrimination, harassment, and retaliation to prohibit Confederate flags and any emblem that incorporates the Confederate flag on Georgia-Pacific properties.

"The safety, respect, and well-being of all employees is always at the forefront of any decision we make as an organization," a statement from the company reads. "We believe the flag’s display creates a divisive work environment and is inconsistent with our policy against unlawful discrimination and harassment."

Georgia-Pacific is asking employees to remove flag emblems, stickers, license plates, flags, etc. from vehicles and personal belongings. The company also asks anyone wearing a flag emblem to remove that article of clothing before entering a GP location.
Do your part to support safety and health programs
The SSMRC and UBC Millwrights are supporting Safe + Sound Week, a nationwide event held each August to recognize the successes of workplace health and safety programs and offer ideas for keeping America's workers safe.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the rate of worker deaths and reported injuries in the United States has decreased by more than 60 percent in the past four decades since the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act was passed. This is due in large part to employers implementing safety and health programs.

However, every year, more than 5,000 workers are killed on the job (a rate of 14 per day), and more than 3.6 million suffer serious job-related injuries or illnesses.

See the tips below for how you can help support safety and health programs at the jobsites where you work.

Understand that workers benefit from safety and health programs. Parts of your job, such as working with tools and machinery, from heights, and around electricity, are inherently dangerous, but an effective safety and health program can greatly minimize risks.

Read your employers' health and safety programs. Every employer you work for should provide you with a written copy of its program.

Know your responsibilities under safety and health programs. Your employer should train you to understand how the safety and health program works and how to carry out the responsibilities assigned to you under the program.

Don't be afraid to ask questions. If you don’t understand any portion of the safety and health program, ask your supervisor for clarification.

Help improve safety and health programs. Point out hazards and make suggestions whenever something comes to mind. Share any information and experiences that could be beneficial to management. OSHA states workers should be able to communicate openly with management and to report safety and health concerns or suggest improvements without fear of retaliation.

Learn more about Safe + Sound Week here.
Five rules to improve your financial health
All of your financial decisions and activities have an effect on your financial health and your ability to reach personal-finance goals. So where do you start when trying to improve your financial fitness?

This article from Investopedia breaks things down into five broad personal-finance rules that can help achieve your financial aims. The rules are:

Update on coronavirus-related federal aid: Trump signs executive orders, but start date of unemployment benefits remains unclear
After Congress failed to agree on a new coronavirus-relief package before extra unemployment payments under a previous plan expired July 31, President Donald Trump signed four executive actions on Aug. 8 that call for extending some enhanced unemployment benefits, taking steps to stop evictions, continuing the suspension of student loan repayments, and deferring payroll taxes.

Trump authorized an extra $400 in weekly unemployment insurance benefits, but payments could take weeks to reach people and could be less than the full amount. States, which are responsible for providing $100 of the $400 payments, likely will have to set up new systems for administering the aid because the federal portion will stem from funds allocated for natural-disaster relief. States are not allowed to use their current unemployment systems for benefits authorized outside of Congress. Funding for the executive action, which could face legal challenges, is projected to last four to five weeks.

Meanwhile, a stimulus bill from Congress is still possible.

To learn more about unemployment benefits under the executive action, see these articles from Fortune and CBS News.
See COVID-19-related restrictions in your state
To see state-by-state COVID-19-related restrictions in the South, click here.
Check out COVID-19 risks in your county
The Harvard Global Health Institute has released a tool that allows you to see a COVID-19 risk rating of green, yellow, orange, or red for the county where you live. Click the map above, then hover over a county for detailed information.
Verify, register, and vote!
All Americans have a constitutional right to vote. Below are steps to take now to make sure your voice is heard in November. If you are not comfortable voting in person this year, you likely can vote via absentee ballot. See details below.

Verify your voter registration.
Make sure you’re registered to vote at your current address. If you’ve moved, changed your name, or haven’t voted in a while, you might need to re-register to vote.
If you aren't registered to vote, register now.
You can register at by clicking the button below, or you can register in person at your state or local election office. You might also be able to register at a motor vehicle department or armed forces recruitment centers. Check with the specific location first. Learn more about voter registration at
If you aren't comfortable voting in person, apply for an absentee ballot.
Voting by absentee ballot is safe and secure. Each state has its own rules about who can vote absentee, but many states have expanded eligibility because of the coronavirus. Applying for an absentee ballot at takes only 2 minutes.
Sign up to receive legislative-action texts
The SSMRC has begun sending communications related to pro-union legislative action. The SSMRC forms partnerships to help pass labor-friendly laws and give council representatives access to the table to discuss how our members could be assets to major projects. Our council also supports pro-union candidates (from both political parties) running for state, county, and local offices.

Some labor issues we discuss with candidates and legislators include right-to-work laws, health and welfare benefits, unemployment-insurance programs, prevailing wages, workers’ compensation, workplace safety, tax fraud in relation to construction projects, and apprenticeship standards.

To stay informed regarding legislation and elections that could affect workers' rights and union job opportunities, please text CIVICS to 877-62-SSMRC (877-627-7672).
Get the SSMRC Member E-News and other information via text