May 22, 2020
COVID-19-related precautions and guidelines at training centers
As training centers in our district re-open, staff are taking steps to keep participants safe. Here are some examples of guidelines and precautions:

Gulf Coast Carpenters and Millwrights TTF (Texas and Louisiana)
Classes resumed at the training centers on May 11. Here is the COVID-19 mitigation plan:

  • Students are required to complete the UBC COVID-19 online training (see below) before they can participate in classroom or shop activities at the training centers.

  • Classrooms will be rearranged with fewer tables to facilitate physical distancing.

  • Hard surfaces and training materials in classrooms will be disinfected daily.

  • Employees and students entering the building must do so through one common door. Each employee/student will have their temperature taken and answer a questionnaire before being allowed farther into the building. People with a fever (100.4 F or higher) or other symptoms associated with COVID-19 will be asked to leave.

  • Instructors and students are required to maintain physical distancing of at least 6 feet of space between participants.

  • PPE including safety glasses, masks and gloves will be provided, and use is required. This includes hand sanitizer.

  • Breaks will be staggered to facilitate physical distancing in break rooms and restrooms. Coffee and other refreshments provided by the training center will be suspended. Individuals will be able to bring items from home or bring purchased items into the building (e.g. coffee).

  • Common areas will be cleaned and disinfected daily. Common touch areas like door knobs/handles, phones, keyboards, and books will be cleaned throughout the day.

  • Dividing doors that separate hallways, shop areas, and classrooms will be held open with doorstops during the day. The doors will be allowed to close at night in case of a fire.

  • Copies will be made of training materials, when possible, and only used by one person.

Mid-South Carpenters Regional Council TTF (Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee)
These training centers will re-open June 1. Items to note regarding training and following COVID-19 guidelines:

  • Each class participant will have their temperature taken before entering the building. Also, staff will inquire about the overall health of each participant. If participants show any signs of poor health, they will not be allowed to enter. The CDC recommends that anyone with a temperature of 100.4 or higher be turned away.

  • PPE will be issued to each participant before their entrance to the building. A face mask must be worn at all times. We will provide masks, and participants can also wear their own.

  • Classroom seating will be spaced 6 feet apart, and class participation will be at 50% capacity of the classroom.

  • The LMS COVID 19 online training will be taken by each participant before class starts. (See link to training below.) This is mandatory. This will be the first class they take.

  • Each classroom, restroom and common area will be cleaned and sanitized when class is over and class participants have left the building.

Florida Carpenters TTF
 Classes resumed May 18. Here are COVID-19-related requirements:

  • The UBC COVID-19 online training (see below) is mandatory before attending any classes at a FCTTF training center.

  • All participants attending FCTTF classes will be required to complete a four-question health checklist and have their temperature checked. As per the CDC guidelines, anyone not meeting the requirements of the checklist or having a temperature of 100.4 F or higher will not be allowed to attend classes.

  • Face masks must be worn at all times. We will be providing disposable masks, but encourage participants to bring their own since it is difficult to obtain the number of masks that will be required.

  • All of our classrooms and shop activities will be required to observe the social distance spacing of 6 feet between each participant.

  • All classroom, shop areas, restrooms and common areas will be cleaned and sanitized according to CDC guidelines before each class begins. Participants will be provided the required supplies to maintain their areas throughout the training session.

  • Additional procedures will be covered on the first day of class.

Please contact your local training center if you have questions about COVID-19-related precautions and requirements.
Online COVID-19 Preparedness course has been updated
Because requirements for preventing and recognizing exposure hazards to COVID-19 have evolved, the Carpenters International Training Fund has implemented new procedures into the COVID-19 Preparedness online course.

This 20-minute course is required before entering many training centers in our district, and we encourage all SSMRC members to take it to learn how to protect themselves and co-workers at jobsites. Click here to find out how to access the course.
Some local meetings proceed with precautions
Some local meetings were cancelled this month, and others are proceeding with precautions such as social distancing and face masks. The photos above show Local 1000's May 19 meeting.

Information about this month's meetings is below. To find out about next month's meetings, contact your business agent.

  • 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.

COVID-19 and your health plan
Some of our council’s health funds are making changes related to COVID-19 coverage, access to tele-medicine, and health-benefits eligibility. Two examples are below. To find out whether your plan has been modified, check with your health-fund administrator (contact info below).
Florida UBC Health Fund (Locals 2411 and 1000)
Here is an excerpt from an update to this plan:
Full cost of COVID-19 testing/screening covered and encouraged
We are pleased to advise you that effective immediately the plan will cover expenses you or any covered family member may incur for testing/screening to determine if you have been infected by this virus. The plan will pay to your health care provider or reimburse to you directly the full cost of such testing for each covered family member with no deductible or copayment percentage applied. However, it is very important for you to understand that such coverage is available ONLY if you use the services of a provider that participates in the plan's PPO, as explained in your Summary Plan Description (benefit booklet), or the test is performed by a local or state public health center. There have been instances where providers have charged thousands of dollars for this test when the cost should be only a nominal amount.
United Healthcare (UHC) Nurseline available to all covered persons – its use is urged
When the decision to transition to UHC's PPO was made, one of the covered services that made UHC's offer attractive was the availability of the Nurseline. With many health-care providers' facilities currently being overwhelmed because of the treatment of or testing for the coronavirus, we wanted to remind you of this very valuable tool in keeping your Family healthy. We would urge you to make use of the Nurseline for any non-emergency health-care assistance your family may require. The person you speak with on the Nurseline will be qualified to discuss your symptoms with you, diagnose your condition under many circumstances, recommend treatment, and even offer medication on a limited basis.
To read the entire update, click here .
Gulf Coast Carpenters and Millwrights Health Trust, including the Louisiana Millwright Tier (Local 729) and the Texas Millwright Tier (Locals 2232 and 1421)
Here is an excerpt from a letter to participants of this plan:
Hour Bank. In order to lessen the burden on those who might lose coverage due to COVID-19 and its economic effect, the fund will add hours, on a one-time basis, up to the maximum hours required for one month of continued eligibility for each affected participant. Therefore, the fund will add hours to your hour bank if these two conditions are met: (1) your hour bank is not completely full, and (2) you have been affected by COVID-19 (see link below for criteria).
COVID-19 Testing. Effective March 18, 2020, and until the public health emergency related to COVID-19 is declared over by the federal government, the plan will cover (at no cost to the participant) in vitro diagnostic tests that are approved by the Food and Drug Administration, for which the developer has requested emergency use authorization, or that are authorized by a state, and serological tests that are used to detect antibodies against the virus (thus indicating whether the person has been exposed to the virus).
During the public health emergency, the plan will also cover (at no cost to the participant) office visits that result in an order for, or administration of, a COVID-19 diagnostic test. If a health care provider decides to first do other related tests (e.g., blood tests or influenza tests), and the “visit” results in an order for, or administration of, a COVID-19 test, the plan will cover these related tests at no cost to the participant. The term “visit” (e.g., office visit, urgent care visit, emergency room or telehealth visit) will also encompass non-traditional settings such as drive-through sites where licensed healthcare providers administer the tests.
Tele-health. Effective March 18, 2020, and until the public health emergency related to COVID-19 is declared over by the federal government, the plan will cover (at no cost to the participant) any in-network tele-health visit that is otherwise covered under the plan and that can be conducted in an audio/video format (using phones, computers or other devices) instead of in-person.
Extension of Certain Health Plan Deadlines. In determining certain deadlines under the plan, the plan will disregard the “outbreak period” and extend deadlines as described [in the links] below. The “outbreak period” began on March 1, 2020, when a national emergency related to COVID-19 was declared, and will end 60 days after the end of the emergency (or on another date issued by the departments in the future).

Oklahoma and Arkansas Carpenters Health and Welfare Fund
Here is an excerpt from an announcement to participants of this plan:

Work is down in many places, and participants are concerned about maintaining their coverage under the fund. The trustees are making a temporary change in the eligibility requirements, in response to this crisis, to make it easier to keep your coverage.

The trustees will be adding up to 125 hours to your hour bank if you have been affected by the coronavirus. Remember that it takes 125 hours to qualify for a month's coverage. And hours you earn over the 125 required hours go into your hour bank. Hour banks are limited to 625 hours. While we would like to add hours for everyone, to conserve our resources during this critical time, the 625 hour limit on the Hour Bank will stay in effect.

Click here to read the full announcement.

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 2232:
Zenith Administrators

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

A look at the 1918-1920 influenza pandemic through The Carpenter magazine
Our parent organization, The United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, took a look at issues of The Carpenter magazine from more than 100 years ago and found compelling examples of UBC locals and members grappling with challenges similar to those we face today.

In early 1918, an influenza epidemic began sweeping through many countries, fueled in part by World War I. The epidemic lasted through 1920, infecting 500 million people worldwide and killing tens of millions at a time when vaccines had not yet been developed.

Check out excerpts from the magazine here.
Jobsite updates
Western Region:
Local 216
Work is returning to normal. Jobs have started at Georgia Pacific in Muskogee, Oklahoma, and our members have returned to work at Goodyear in Lawton, Oklahoma. We have work picking up in Arkansas at BSCI in Morrilton and Kimberly Clark in Maumelle this week as well.
Local 729
Work is still slow in Louisiana, but it’s looking like it will be picking up as we move into June. We have been informed of an upcoming maintenance project, and contractors are bidding work. There is possible work at the Big Cajun power plant, and a project at Air Liquide is ongoing.
Local 1421
Power-generation work is still going strong, with several jobs ongoing. We also just picked up a major project at the DFW Airport as well, and work is returning to normal.
Local 2232
Work is on track to return to normal beginning in June, with a large portion of our maintenance millwrights going back to work. Multiple projects from the spring that were pushed into June will be manning up soon. We also have ongoing work and new work starting up at several Calpine facilities as well as compressor work for Enterprise Products.

Central Region:

Work across the region is picking up slowly, plants are opening their doors allowing contractors to bid on work.
  • Redstone Arsenal members returned to work on May 18.
  • The Toyota/Mazda project continues as scheduled with safety guidelines in place for members.
  • U.S. Steel Fairfield Works has ceased work due to falling gas prices.
  • Nissan in Canton is scheduled to open its doors June 1.
  • The Toyota plant in Blue Springs might open June 1.
  • Plant Daniels's work is ongoing as planned.
  • The Bridgestone manufacturing plant in LaVergneis has delayed production temporarily.
  • Arconic has shut its doors temporarily.
  • WestRock paper mill has an outage that began May 21.
  • The Forest Resolute outage is scheduled for June 1.
  • Nissan is resuming work as planned.
  • The uranium processing facility at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, is resuming work as planned.
  • General Motors is back to business.
  • Tennessee Valley Authority is resuming work.

Eastern Region:
Local 1000
  • Work with Walbridge at the Amazon facility is ongoing.
  • There is airport work in Ft. Lauderdale, Tampa, Orlando, and Miami.
  • 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 is 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. As of May 20, no new cases had been reported in two days

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:
CARES Act provisions could allow those with underlying health conditions or child-care hurdles to remain on unemployment as businesses re-open
Under two little-known provisions of the CARES Act, workers who have certain underlying health conditions or who can't secure child care because day cares, schools, or summer camps are closed, can continue collecting unemployment benefits even if their employers recall them to work. To learn more, see numbers 2 and 3 in the article here.
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.
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.