April 17, 2020
Thank you for participating in our telephone town hall meeting
More than 1,300 members tuned in to our telephone town hall meeting Thursday evening. Thank you to all those attended and those who asked questions. If you were not able to take the call, you can listen to a recording of it that will be posted on our website by Monday. If we did not have time to answer your question, we will respond to you directly in the next week. EST Jennings also answers some additional questions in the video message below.
Please watch this video update from EST Wayne Jennings:
EST Wayne Jennings has begun recording regular video updates to keep members informed about how COVID-19 is affecting SSMRC, our members, and their work opportunities.

In this first message, he discusses the telephone town hall meeting held April 16, answers questions from members, and provides general updates.

If you have a question related to COVID-19 and our council and would like EST Jennings to answer it in an upcoming video message, please send it to info@southernstatesmillwrights.org or leave a message at 855-57-SSMRC (855-577-7672). EST Jennings will answer as many questions as possible during the recordings, and we will respond directly to additional questions as well.
Our members working in the nuclear industry are making a busy outage season successful
Despite COVID-19, our members working in the nuclear industry this spring have been part of one of the largest scheduled-outage seasons since we opened SSMRC's nuclear-industry office in 2016. Only one outage has been postponed.

Many of our members left their families for weeks during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic to support scheduled outages across our 11-state region. At the same time, our contractor and facility-owner partners have been taking many precautions to protect our members from the coronavirus. We still have three outages to go before the spring season is complete. David Bonds, SSMRC nuclear representative, thanks our members and partners in the letter here.
Job sites updates
Western Region:
Local 216
  • CR Meyer has ongoing work at Kimberly Clark in Conway, Arkansas.
  • APCom has work in progress in Redfield and Newark, Arkansas.
Local 729
  • Siemens has work at LA Station that began last week.
  • UPS has Projects at Chenier LNG Sabine Pass.
Local 2232
  • Siemens has projects at Calpine Deer Park in Texas.
  • UPS has ongoing projects at Hydrotex Bridge City and BP Texas City as well as work starting in the Freeport, Texas, area.
  • APM has ongoing work at Calpine Guadalupe Power in West Texas.
  • Siemens has ongoing work at NRG Cedar Bayou in Baytown, Texas.
Local 1421
  • GM is still adding millwrights for Central Conveyor in Arlington, Texas.
  • Siemens has projects that started in Mesquite, Texas, and Poolville, Texas.
  • Wise County Power for Siemens will be starting April 21.
  • Siemens has an ongoing project at Luminant in Sunnyvale, Texas.
Central Region:
  • The uranium processing facility at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, has been temporarily shut down due to COVID-19.
  • Tennessee Valley Authority nuclear outages for the Watts Bar Nuclear Plant near Spring City and the Sequoyah Nuclear Plant near Soddy-Daisy have been postponed until fall.
  • The Plant Sequoyah MOV Project is still underway, with an estimated completion date of May 1.
  • Some auto manufacturing plants, which are a significant producer of man-hours within the SSMRC Central Region, have temporarily shut down production, allowing some of our partnering contractors to perform maintenance work with skeletal crews.
  • The Toyota/Mazda construction project in Huntsville, Alabama, is continuing.
  • Toyota, GM, Honda, and Volkswagon are closed to production with re-open dates to be determined.
  • Nissan is tentatively scheduled to return workers on May 11.
  • Bridgestone in Smyrna and Lavergne, Tennessee, has resumed production as of April 13 and allowed contractors to start work as well.
  • Southern Company and Tennessee Valley Authority have implemented contingency plans and are allowing only essential workers on site.

Click here to read a note by SSMRC Central Region Director Jeff Smith about the history and importance of the automotive industry in the central district.
Eastern Region:
  • The UPS St. Croix job site in the U.S. Virgin Islands has postponed any new hires traveling to the island until further notice.
  • Georgia Power’s Plant Vogtle Units 3 and 4 construction project is continuing with the modifications noted below.

-Because some employees on the Plant Vogtle Units 3&4 construction site have tested positive for COVID-19 and others are in quarantine, management has decided to implement a reduction in force to allow for better social distancing and increased efforts to control the environment on site. Management reached an agreement with the union to start by laying off those who agree to be laid off. Employees who are part of this reduction in force will be eligible for rehire ahead of others on the referral list. Click here to read more about the reduction in force.

-Individuals have the option of staying home if they feel unsafe coming to work. If a member chooses to stay home or is given a quarantine order from an offsite doctor, there is no compensation package. If an onsite doctor tells a member to quarantine, that member is given a compensation package equal to pay for 40 hours and per diem if they received it before.
Check the status of your Recovery Act payment
The U.S. Internal Revenue Service has created an online tool that allows users to check the status of their economic-impact payments.

This application will give you information about:

  • Your payment status
  • Your payment type
  • Whether the IRS needs more information from you, including bank account information
Local meeting updates
Due to COVID-19, all SSMRC local meetings in the Central region (Birmingham, Memphis, Nashville, Chattanooga, and Oakridge) have been canceled for April. Local 2411 and Local 1000 also have cancelled their union meetings this month.

Members of other locals should contact their business agents (see contact information below) to inquire about April meetings.
Here's how new federal programs can assist with unemployment benefits, child care, mortgage relief, and more
Two new federal laws the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the CARES Act) and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) offer financial relief for workers who have been affected by COVID-19 through job loss, reduced hours, illness, loss of child care, and more. Click here to read frequently asked questions and answers and to access resources.
Will you get an auto-insurance rebate?
Because people are driving less due to COVID-19, fewer accidents are occurring, and auto insurers are paying fewer claims. As a result, many insurance companies are giving customers rebates. Click here to find out whether your insurer will refund a portion of your premiums.
Extension of expiration for TWIC Cards
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has announced that as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency is extending by 180 days the expiration date of any Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) with an expiration date between March 1, 2020 and July 31, 2020. TSA indicates that because many states and localities have imposed “stay at home” and “social distancing” measures, it has made untenable the requirement that current TWIC holders seeking to renew their credential must do so in person and only at approved enrollment sites. Click here to read more.
Health and welfare fund contact information
If you need to get in touch with your local health and welfare fund, you can find contact information below.

Local 216:
Southern Benefits: 1-800-831-4914

Local 1421:
Austin Area
Texas Carpenters & Millwrights Fringe
Benefit Fund c/o Zenith Administrators
1300 S. Meridian, Suite 300
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73108
Phone: 1-800-422-6207
Fax: 405-682-2651

Arlington Area
Texas Carpenters & Millwrights Fringe Benefit Fund
c/o Zenith Administrators
1300 South Meridian, Suite #125
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73108
Phone: 1-800-422-6207

Local 729:
Louisiana Carpenters Regional Council Health Benefit Trust Fund
8875 Greenwell Springs Road
Baton Rouge, LA 70814
Phone: 225-927-6068 ext. 101
Phone: 225-927-6068 ext. 102 (To Check on Hours)
Toll Free: 1-888-922-3002
Fax: 225-927-9704

Local 1192:
AFL-AGC Health & Welfare Fund
P. O. Box 1492
Mobile, AL 36633
Phone: 251-438-4765
Fax: 251-432-0590

Local 1554:
Mid-South Carpenters Regional Council Health & Welfare
C/O Southern Benefit Administrators
P.O. Box 1449
Goodlettsville, TN 37070-1449
Phone: 615-859-0131
Toll Free: 1-800-831-4914

Local 1263:
Southern Benefit Administrators, Inc.
PO Box 1449
Goodlettsville, TN 37070-1449
Phone: 1-800-831-4914
Fax: 1-615-859-0818

Local 1000:
Southern Benefit Administrators, Inc.
PO Box 1449
Goodlettsville, TN 37070-1449
Phone: 1-800-831-4914
Fax: 1-615-859-0818
Let us know how COVID-19 is affecting your job, daily life, and family
Please tell us about essential work you are performing as a millwright and let us know how you and your family are doing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Click here to learn how to share your story.
COVID-19 Preparedness course available online
We encourage eligible members to take the 15-minute COVID-19 Preparedness course to learn how to protect themselves and co-workers at job sites. Click here to find out how to access the course.
SSMRC offices closed through April 30;
Contact business agents via phone or email
SSMRC local offices will remain closed through April 30. Please continue to stay in touch with your business agent through the contact information below, and let him know of any COVID-19-related job changes you experience. As always, we will provide all forms of service and support to our members. For locals that do not have an online dues payment system in place, a staff member will go into the office one or two days a week to process dues payments. Local leaders will inform members of scheduled operation days.
SSMRC business agent contact info
Eastern Region
Cliff Tucker, Local # 1000 (Florida): 813.990.9857; ctucker@ssmrc4070.org
Paul L. French, Local #2411 (Florida-Jacksonville): 904-534-925; pfrench@ssmrc4070.org
Michael Hamilton, Local # 1263 (Georgia & Carolinas): 770-883-7525; mhamilton@ssmrc4070.org
Charles Smith, Local # 1263 (Georgia & Carolinas): 704-303-2932; clsmith@ssmrc4070.org
Central Region
Clint Smith, Local #1192 (Alabama): 205-789-9299; csmith@ssmrc4070.org
Lessie Roberts, Local #1192 (Alabama): 251-454-5771; lroberts@ssmrc4070.org
William W Condon III (Tennessee-Chattanooga): 423-320-2306; wcondon@ssmrc4070.org
Steven C. Williams, Local #1554 (Tennessee-Nashville): 615-474-9696; swilliams@ssmrc4070.org
Western Region
Matthew Nowlin, Local #216 (Arkansas): 479-747-6279; mnowlin@ssmrc4070.org
Donnie Newton, Local #216 (Oklahoma): 405-365-1909; dnewton@ssmrc4070.org
Mike Hines (Mike), Local #729 (Louisiana): 713-305-5477; khines@ssmrc4070.org
Keith Branham, Local #1421 (Texas-Arlington): 682-251-6066; kbranham@ssmrc4070.org
Dwight G Murrah, Local #2232 (Texas-Houston): 281-468-1035; dmurrah@ssmrc4070.org
Victor G Sanchez, Local #2232 (Texas-Houston): 832.835.8090; vsanchez@ssmrc4070.org
How to help your community
Be aware of state and local health orders
Many parts of our 11-state region are under shelter-in-place or safer-at-home orders. Click here to see which states, counties, and cities are affected. In addition, Arkansas banned public and private gatherings of 10 or more people effective March 27.
SSMRC partner Mississippi Power helping prepare military post to serve as temporary hospital
Mississippi Power is helping prepare Camp Shelby, a military post near Hattiesburg, to house hundreds of hospital beds as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Mississippi.

The military installation is being outfitted to house 200 hospital beds as Mississippi nears what what its governor has called “peak resource use” in the fight against coronavirus.

Mississippi Power is providing Camp Shelby with a rented 400-ton, air-cooled chiller and a permanent chiller to keep the facility at a proper temperature and humidity level. Click here to read more.
How to recognize coronavirus scams
Scammers are taking advantage of COVID-19-related fear and misinformation. Here are some particular scams to avoid:
  • The Office of Inspector General has issued an unemployment-insurance fraud alert regarding numerous schemes related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The alert warns of scams offering to help individuals file claims for unemployment benefits through various methods including unsolicited calls, social media platforms, and door-to-door visits.
  • The IRS has issued a new “Tax Tip” warning that taxpayers should be on the lookout for IRS impersonation calls, texts, and email phishing attempts about COVID-19 and the related Economic Impact Payments, which can lead to tax-related fraud and identity theft.