May 1, 2020
Message from EST Wayne Jennings:
In this week's video, EST Jennings answers members' questions, discusses job-site safety, and gives updates on state stay-at home orders. (Correction to information in video: The body temperature that will typically cause a worker to be turned away from a job site is 100.4 F or above.)

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 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.
Keep up to date on stay-at-home orders and 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.

Here is the status of statewide stay-at-home and shelter-in-place orders in our 11-state region:

  • Alabama -- Stay-at-home order expired on April 30. Birmingham is requiring masks or face coverings in all public places, effective May 1.
  • Arkansas – No statewide stay-at-home order has been issued, but other restrictions are in place.
  • Florida -- Stay-at-home order expired on April 30.
  • Georgia -- Shelter-in-place order expired on April 30.
  • Louisiana -- Stay-at-home order set to expire May 15.
  • Mississippi -- Shelter-in-place order expired on April 27. A safer-at-home order is in place until May 11.
  • North Carolina -- Stay-at-home order set to expire May 8.
  • Oklahoma -- No statewide stay-at-home order has been issued.
  • South Carolina -- Stay-at-home order set to expire May 12.
  • Tennessee -- Stay-at-home order expired on April 30. A safer-at-home order is in effect through May 29.
  • Texas -- Stay-at-home order expired on April 30.
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 at the end of this email.)
Member Spotlight
Aaron Stone, who finished his apprenticeship and became a journeyman millwright April 5, has been performing emergency and essential work during the COVID-19 pandemic.
He currently serves as the day-shift steward for an SSMRC crew helping repair an auto-supply plant in Seneca, South Carolina, that was severely damaged by a tornado. For three years, Stone has worked with CR Meyer at paper mills that produce toilet paper, paper towels, and tissue, and he plans to return to that work after the Seneca plant is restored.
“I enjoy being part of the union, and I appreciate everything we believe in – sticking together, looking out for our brothers and sisters, and making sure everyone is safe,” Stone says. “Now that I'm a journeyman, I'm also a mentor. I'm teaching other people the right ways to do the job and the safe ways to do the job.”
To read more about Stone, click here.

We want to hear from you, too. Please tell us about essential work you are performing or about how COVID-19 has affected your job opportunities through layoffs, reduced hours, etc. Also let us know how you and your family are doing in general. You can call 855-57-SSMRC (855-577-7672) any time to record your story or send us an email at
New tool could speed unemployment benefits for Alabamians
Alabama's Department of Labor has launched a new tool aimed at giving some residents the ability to speed up the claims process for unemployment benefits. The UI Claims Tracker allows people who are eligible for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance to upload their income documents directly.
SSMRC supports NABTU's COVID-19 standards for job sites
Our council is supporting COVID-19 standards for job sites that North America’s Building Trades Union published April 27.
These guidelines are the minimum standards NABTU and the Center for Construction Research and Training believe employers should implement in order to protect our members. You can find the full, detailed list of guidelines here . Highlights include:
  • Screening: Employers should ask workers to self-identify symptoms of fever, coughing, shortness of breath, chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, and loss of taste or smell each day.

  • Social distancing: Employers should implement social distancing procedures to create at least 6 feet of space between workers.

  • Decontamination: Employers should clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces on jobsites frequently, per CDC guidelines.

  • Hand washing: Employers should provide soap and running water whenever possible on all jobsites for frequent handwashing. If it is not possible to provide running water, they should provide alcohol-based hand sanitizers.

  • Respiratory protection: If workers need to be near each other to perform tasks or when working in close quarters, such as confined space work, they should wear NIOSH-approved respirators. Note: Cloth face coverings are not respirators and do not replace physical distancing or respirators required when workers are in close proximity. However, employers should provide cloth face coverings in other circumstances when required or recommended by state or local governments.

  • Affected workers: Employees with COVID-19 and workers who have had close contact with those workers should be put on sick leave. Affected workers should receive paid sick leave as required under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
Job site dos and don'ts to protect yourself and co-workers from COVID-19
  • Stay at least 6 feet away from others on job sites and in gatherings, meetings, and training sessions.
  • Wear a mask as required by job-site rules or by state or local governments.
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue.
  • Clean your hands frequently, including after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.
  • Bring food and water bottles from home to the job site and do not share.
  • Disinfect shared tools following your employer’s COVID-19 exposure control plan.
  • Go to work if you are feeling sick.
  • Carpool to job sites. Drive to worksites or parking areas by yourself.
  • Shake hands when greeting others.
  • Touch your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
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.
How to report unsafe job-site conditions or practices
It is illegal for employers to retaliate against workers who report unsafe or unhealthful working conditions. If you see unsafe job-site practices, whether related to COVID-19 or not, please call your business agent or our council at 855-57-SSMRC (855-577-7672).

You also can file a whistleblower complaint with the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration online or by calling 1-800-321-OSHA if you believe your employer has retaliated against you for speaking up about unsafe conditions/practices.
Job-site updates
Western Region:
Local 216
  • CCC had a small project at Kimberly Clark in Arkansas. Oklahoma had a small job at Georgia Pacific in Muskogee, with more work starting in mid-May.

Local 729
  • Current work consists of ongoing maintenance and a few Siemens jobs.
Local 2232
  • Petrochem work is slow with some projects moved into the summer months. Power generation work has still been busy, and there are several ongoing turbine jobs.

Local 1421
  • Work at GM is wrapping up, and Siemens has several ongoing jobs and more starting up in May.

Central Region:

  • 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 17.
  • 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 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 may re-open its doors for production in May.
  • Nissan in Smyrna is re-opening its doors on May 6.
  • The CR Meyer paper mill project in Counce, Tennessee, has been postponed.
  • Tennessee Valley Authority nuclear outages for the Watts Bar Nuclear Plant near Spring City and the Sequoyah Nuclear Plant have been postponed until fall.

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

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
  • 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 modifications noted below.

-A project schedule change is being implemented. RCC craft and Bechtel Field Non-Manuals will move to a five-day, 10-hour work week schedule. Work on Saturdays and Sundays will be limited scope. This schedule will continue until further notice. COVID-19 information and resources for Vogtle workers:

Federal assistance programs for those affected by COVID-19
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;