May 15, 2020
Message from EST Wayne Jennings:
In this week's video, EST Jennings answers members' questions about how COVID-19 is affecting their work and benefits.

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 reply to this email, send it to, or leave a message at 855-57-SSMRC (855-577-7672).
South Carolina members could lose unemployment benefits if they refuse work
The South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce is requiring our council to notify the department if an individual refuses to return to work or refuses an offer of work.

The department stated that individuals receiving unemployment insurance benefits could lose those benefits if they refuse to return to work or accept an offer of new employment without good cause.

Please contact your business agent or our council if you have questions.
Know your health plan’s mental-health and substance-abuse-treatment benefits
COVID-19 is compounding mental-health issues such as stress, anxiety, and depression. Substance abuse is also increasing with COVID-19, and those in recovery are at a greater risk of relapsing.
These trends are especially concerning for our industry since construction workers, and millwrights in particular, are statistically at higher risk for mental health issues than workers in virtually any other industry.
In addition to the resources listed here , your health plan likely offers support for mental-health and substance-abuse treatment as well. If you know what benefits your health plan provides, you can reach out to professional resources quickly if you or a family member needs assistance. You often receive mental-health and substance-abuse-treatment services at low or no cost when you access them through a health plan. This can reduce financial stress and help you avoid taking on more debt. (Debt also affects mental health. Learn more about the cycle of debt and mental health and possible solutions by reading this article .)
Many health plans cover mental-health and substance-abuse disorders under regular physician services and hospital benefits. Some plans spell out their coverage for mental health and substance abuse, and some even provide expanded care or additional resources.
Several health plans cover members of our council, and your local determines which plan is available to you. Below are excerpts of mental-health and substance-abuse-treatment coverage from various plans. To learn the details of your coverage, read your plan documents, check with your plan’s insurance-network partner, or contact your plan administrator (contact information also below).
AFL-AGC Health & Welfare Plan (Local 1192)
In addition to providing coverage under regular hospital benefits and physician benefits, this plan provides Expanded Psychiatric Services (EPS) for mental-health disorders and substance abuse. The EPS program provides members with a broad range of services for treatment of mental health disorders without any deductibles or copayments when care is coordinated by an EPS provider. Providers who participate in the EPS network are available throughout Alabama and in a few locations in states bordering Alabama.
To find an EPS provider, call your plan administrator or search using the online provider finder at First, go to “Find a Doctor,” then select a healthcare provider type and enter a search location. Next, select “Expanded Psychiatric Services” from the “Networks and Plans” menu at the top of the page and click “Update Search.”
The EPS program pays 100% of the allowed amount for:
  • Inpatient facility;
  • Physician;
  • Therapy expenses;
  • Outpatient visits;
  • Individual, group, and family therapy or counseling;
  • Psychological and laboratory testing; and
  • Services by professional staff members such as psychologists and social workers in mental health and chemical dependency.
Florida UBC Health Fund (Locals 2411 and 1000)
This plan's network partner, United Healthcare, offers access to an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). The EAP and Behavioral Health Solutions through United Healthcare provide confidential help with:

  • Depression, stress and anxiety;
  • Inpatient behavioral health care;
  • Outpatient behavioral health care;
  • Substance use and recovery;
  • Financial and legal resources;
  • Child and elder care support;
  • And more.
About Employee Assistance Programs:
An employee assistance program (EAP) is a work-based intervention program designed to assist employees in resolving personal problems that may be adversely affecting the employee's performance. Programs are delivered at no cost to employees by stand-alone EAP vendors or providers who are part of comprehensive health insurance plans. Services are often delivered via phone, video-based counseling, online chatting, e-mail interactions or face-to-face. Learn more about EAPs here .
Gulf Coast Carpenters and Millwrights Health Trust:

-Louisiana Millwright Tier (Local 729)
Here is an excerpt from this plan:
Mental Health and Substance Abuse Treatment
  • Inpatient and Outpatient treatment of Mental Health Conditions or substance abuse disorders is covered the same as any other Illness or Injury.
  • Inpatient treatment of Mental Health Conditions or substance abuse are covered subject to the Plan’s precertification requirements, admission review and continued stay review requirements.
-Texas Millwright Tier (Locals 2232 and 1421)
Here is an excerpt from this plan:
Mental Health Benefits
IN-NETWORK - The Fund will pay 80% of the Covered Expenses incurred for the treatment of nervous and mental disorders up to $46,500, and 100% of eligible charges thereafter.
OUT-OF-NETWORK - The Fund will pay 50% of the Covered Expenses incurred for the treatment of nervous and mental disorders up to $46,500, and 80% of eligible charges thereafter.
Substance Abuse Benefits
IN-NETWORK - The Fund will pay 80% of the Covered Expenses incurred for the treatment of alcoholism and drug addiction up to $46,500, and 100% of eligible charges thereafter.
OUT-OF-NETWORK - The Fund will pay 50% of the Covered Expenses incurred for the treatment of alcoholism and drug addiction up to $46,500, and 80% of eligible charges thereafter.

Here's how to contact your local's health and welfare fund:

Local 1421:
Texas Carpenters & Millwrights Fringe Benefits
Phone: 1-800-422-6207

Local 729:
Louisiana Carpenters Regional Council Health Benefit Trust Fund
Phone: 225-927-6068 ext. 101
Phone: 225-927-6068 ext. 102 (To Check on Hours)
Toll Free: 1-888-922-3002

Local 1192:
AFL-AGC Health & Welfare Fund
Phone: 251-438-4765

Local 1554:
Mid-South Carpenters Regional Council Health & Welfare
Phone: 615-859-0131
Toll Free: 1-800-831-4914

Local 1263, Local 1000, Local 2411, and Local 216:
Southern Benefit Administrators, Inc.
Phone: 1-800-831-4914
Local meeting updates
  • All meetings will be as scheduled for the eastern district.

  • The central region has cancelled meetings for this month.

  • In the western district, Locals 729 and 2232 cancelled their meetings. Local 1421 has not made a decision yet, and Local 216 will hold its meeting.
Training center updates
Training centers in our district are beginning to re-open as states lift stay-at-home orders. Here are the latest updates:

  • Gulf Coast Carpenters and Millwrights TTF (Texas and Louisiana) – Classes resumed at the training centers on May 11. Apprentices must complete the online COVID-19 Preparedness Course (see below) either before or immediately upon entering their local training center.

  • Arkansas/Oklahoma Carpenters Apprenticeship and Training – Due to travel restrictions, centers will be opening for LOCAL AREA members only on May 11 in Russellville, Arkansas.

  • Mid-South Carpenters Regional Council TTF (Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee) – These training centers will re-open June 1.

  • Southeastern Carpenters TTF (Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina) – Training centers have delayed re-opening until June 1.

  • Florida Carpenters TTF – Classes will resume May 18. Completing the online UBC COVID-19 Preparedness course (see below) is required for all apprentices and journeymen before attending any class.
See daily updates of COVID-19 cases, deaths, and more in your county and state
The Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center is one of the most comprehensive sources of COVID-19-related data. You can stay up to date on the number of cases and deaths in your area and learn about local health-care resources and more through this site. Zoom in on the map and click your county.
Job-site updates
Western Region:
  • Local 2232 – Petrochem work is picking up slightly, including some maintenance crews being re-established.
  • Local 729 – Louisiana is still on a shelter-in-place order, but we expect work to pick up around mid-May as those restrictions are lifted.
  • Local 1421 – This local has ongoing power-generation work with most of the local currently working.
  • Local 216 – Pulp and paper work will potentially pick up in the next few weeks as restrictions are lifted and millwrights get called back to work.

Central Region:

  • Eight of our members worked on motor-operated valves during a recent outage at Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant near Decatur.
  • U.S. Steel Fairfield Works has slowed production due to falling oil prices.
  • Mazda Toyota Manufacturing is maintaining construction crews at its Huntsville site. Work on the paint shop will continue as planned. The assembly line is delayed until at least June.

  • Nissan in Canton is tentatively scheduled to start up production on May 25, pending the arrival of parts from Japan.
  • The Toyota plant in Blue Springs is still shut down, with a re-opening date yet to be determined.
  • The Grand Gulf Nuclear plant outage is maintaining its schedule as the project comes to an end.
  • Mississippi Power has implemented contingency plans and is only allowing essential workers on all its sites.

  • The Bridgestone manufacturing plant in LaVergneis shutting down May 15.
  • The uranium processing facility at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, has been temporarily shut down due to COVID-19. Workers are scheduled to return on May 11.
  • General Motors is scheduled to re-open its doors for production May 18.
  • The CR Meyer paper mill project in Counce, Tennessee, has been postponed.
  • Tennessee Valley Authority recently completed a Sequoyah Nuclear Plant outage in which a number of motors, valves and other parts were upgraded or replaced. Five of our members worked on motor-operated valves. Turbine-work outages are planned for the Sequoyah plant and the Watts Bar Nuclear Plant near Spring City in the fall.

The Tennessee Valley Authority has instituted COVID-19 testing and temperature-check guidelines. Click below to read more.

Workers at Southern Company sites should ask themselves these COVID-19 self-screening questions before reporting to work.

Eastern Region:
Local 1000
  • Work with Walbridge at the Amazon facility is ongoing.
  • Airport work in Ft. Lauderdale, Tampa, Orland, and Miami.
  • APM is working at Okeechobee, Fort Myers, Fort Lauderdale.
  • Airco is working at Big Bend for an outage.
  • GCI and Central Maintenance have work at the Big Bend outage and maintenance and phosphate mines.
  • Siemens is working at Sanford.

Local 1263
  • Western Industrial was awarded an expansion of a FedEx distribution center in Atlanta and will begin hiring around 30 millwrights in June.
  • Vulcan is at the Plant Bowen outage.
  • Cleveland is at Toyo tire, Wrigley’s, and General Mills.
  • RCC and TurbinePROs are at Vogtle (reduced numbers).
  • SRS (starting to filter a few at a time back to the site).
  • Walbridge Equipment installation group is working at the BorgWarner plant.
  • CR Meyer is at Kimberly Clark and Graphic Packaging, and will be doing new machine installation in Macon.
  • Doral is at Dr. Pepper and Keurig.

Local 2411
  • WW Gay is at US Gypsum.
  • Milton J. Wood is working at US Gypsum and Georgia Pacific
  • Coker is at Columbia Grain.
  • Siemens is working at Deerhaven
  • Georgia Power’s Plant Vogtle Units 3 and 4 construction project is continuing with the precautions noted below due to COVID-19 cases among workers.

Workers at the Vogtle Units 3 and 4 site: Please be aware failure to follow these guidelines from the safety advisory below could result in disciplinary action: Where social distancing cannot be achieved, personnel shall wear a face covering of their choice and/or face
shields. Face coverings protect others from our own potential to carry and spread the virus.

Additional information for Vogtle workers:
We want to recognize and reward you!
We recently launched two recognition programs for members and want to reward those who participate.

With both programs described below, any member who sends in verifiable information suitable for publication will receive a free “Essential Union Worker” T-shirt. If we use your story in our newsletter, on social media, or on our website, we will send you a lunch cooler and thermos set.

Wright Moves Community Service Challenge
  • Let us know how you are volunteering in your community. If you would like to help your community respond to COVID-19, you can find a list of volunteer resources by state here.
  • See participation instructions here.
Essential: On the Job and at Home
  • Tell us about essential work you are performing as a millwright.
  • Or let us know what challenges you and your family have been facing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  •  See participation instructions here.
Keep up to date on re-openings in your state
States across the SSMRC district are beginning to re-open after weeks of shutdown due to COVID-19. The map above is regularly updated and shows when stay-at-home orders are lifting in each state. By clicking on the map, you also can see when states are allowing re-openings in public spaces and when they are lifting restrictions on particular types of businesses.
COVID-19 Preparedness course available online
We encourage all SSMRC 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 office openings/closings
SSMRC local offices are re-opening as states lift stay-at-home orders. Our goal is to re-open all offices by May 18. To check the status of your local office, contact your business agent (see contact info below.)
SSMRC business agent contact info
Eastern Region
Cliff Tucker, Local # 1000 (Florida): 813.990.9857;
Paul L. French, Local #2411 (Florida-Jacksonville): 904-534-925;
Michael Hamilton, Local # 1263 (Georgia & Carolinas): 770-883-7525;
Charles Smith, Local # 1263 (Georgia & Carolinas): 704-303-2932;
Central Region
Clint Smith, Local #1192 (Alabama): 205-789-9299;
Lessie Roberts, Local #1192 (Alabama): 251-454-5771;
William W Condon III (Tennessee-Chattanooga): 423-320-2306;
Steven C. Williams, Local #1554 (Tennessee-Nashville): 615-474-9696;
Western Region
Matthew Nowlin, Local #216 (Arkansas): 479-747-6279;
Donnie Newton, Local #216 (Oklahoma): 405-365-1909;
Mike Hines (Mike), Local #729 (Louisiana): 713-305-5477;
Keith Branham, Local #1421 (Texas-Arlington): 682-251-6066;
Dwight G Murrah, Local #2232 (Texas-Houston): 281-468-1035;
Victor G Sanchez, Local #2232 (Texas-Houston): 832.835.8090;