April 2, 2020
How the $2 trillion economic-stimulus package could benefit union millwrights
Last week, Congress and the president approved the largest economic-stimulus bill in history. The $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the CARES Act) includes provisions aimed at helping workers weather the COVID-19 emergency, and several of those provisions could benefit our members and their families.

From direct payments to unemployment benefits and mortgage relief, click here to read a summary examining aspects of the stimulus package that might apply to union members. For additional information about the three new unemployment-insurance programs the CARES Act creates, see this fact sheet .

Another federal law, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act that was instituted March 18, also gives new benefits to many workers whose families have been affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

Click here to read a memo from the general president of our parent organization, the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, about the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

The links below from North America's Building Trades Unions provide important, targeted information based on the CARES Act and FFCRA.

Please follow coronavirus-related safe work practices
To protect yourself, your family, and your co-workers, and to reduce the risk that job sites where you work will be shut down, follow the guidelines here. Also see the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration's guidance for workers.
SSMRC local meetings in April
Due to COVID-19, all SSMRC local meetings in the Central region (Birmingham, Memphis, Nashville, Chattanooga, and Oakridge) have been canceled for April. Local 2232 in Texas has suspended its April meeting as well. Members of other locals should contact their business agents (see contact information below) to inquire about April meetings.
Income-tax deadlines extended
Federal and many state deadlines for filing and paying income taxes have been extended. The federal deadline is now July 15. Click here to learn more about federal coronavirus tax relief, including economic-impact payments that are part of the CARES Act. State income-tax changes are listed here.
Reminder: SSMRC offices closed till April 6; Contact business agents via phone or email
See the business agent contact information below, and remember to inform your agent of COVID-19-related job changes. We will continue to 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
What to do if you are laid off + State unemployment benefits updates
If your job has ended or you have been laid off because of COVID-19, immediately contact your business representative. If there are no additional opportunities for employment through your union, then file for unemployment benefits as soon as possible.

Several states in our region are changing their unemployment rules regarding waiting periods, job searches, etc. Click here to see updates from every state, and start here to begin the application process:

Tennessee: https://www.tn.gov/workforce/unemployment/apply-for-benefits.html. This video explains how to use an app to file your weekly certification.

Training centers and certification credentials update
The Carpenters International Training Center and all training centers in our area are temporarily closed. Training center directors are observing CDC and state infection-control guidelines and are reassessing the situation on a regular basis. Please contact your  local training center for detailed policies and procedures.

The Carpenters International Training Fund is extending qualification and certification credentials run through CITF for up to 90 days for members whose credentials are set to expire during the closures. This will allow affected members to remain on job sites. The extension includes rigging and building envelope certifications. CITF will monitor the situation and reevaluate every 30 days. If you have questions or concerns regarding the extensions, contact your business agent or training department.
How to help your community
If you would like to help your community respond to COVID-19, there are many volunteer opportunities. Meals on Wheels, which delivers meals to senior citizens, needs help in all communities it serves. Delivering meals to retired union members and gathering N-95 masks to take to hospitals are also options. Additional volunteer opportunities are available through the sites below. Please keep your business agent and our communications director, Olivia McMurrey ( omcmurrey@ssmrc4070.org), updated on your volunteer activities.

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.

Please consult the specific order(s) in place in your area, but, in general, shelter-in-place and safer-at-home orders mean you should:

  • Stay home (stay unexposed and do not expose others) except to report to your essential job (you can report to our partners’ job sites unless otherwise notified), buy food, and seek medical care.

  • Stay at least 6 feet away from others.

  • Don’t gather in groups.
Tips for coping with stress and anxiety
Fear and anxiety related to COVID-19 can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Here are some tips to help you and your family cope.
How to recognize coronavirus scams
Scammers are taking advantage of COVID-19-related fear and misinformation. Here are some tips to help keep malicious actors at bay:

  • If you get an email from anyone (including people you know) that seems off and includes an attachment or link, don’t open the attachment or follow the link. Call the sender to verify the email is legitimate. Do not call the number in the email signature; an impersonator could have changed it. If the information in the email sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If the CDC or another health organization had a free vaccine, you would hear about it on the news, not in an email attachment. Learn more here.

  • Ignore online offers for vaccinations and home-test kits. There currently are no vaccines, pills, potions, lotions, lozenges, prescriptions, or over-the-counter products available to treat or cure COVID-19 — online or in stores. At this time, there also are no FDA-authorized home test kits for the Coronavirus. Visit the FDA to learn more.

  • Know who you’re buying from. Online sellers may claim to have in-demand products, like cleaning, household, and health and medical supplies when, in fact, they don’t.