May 8, 2020
Message from EST Wayne Jennings:
In this week's video, EST Jennings gives updates on training center re-openings, thanks members for contributing to our council's Miracle League campaign, discusses mental health resources, and introduces member recognition and rewards programs.

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).
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 resume 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) – A re-opening date will be determined during a May 14 conference call with trustees.

  • Southeastern Carpenters TTF (Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina) – Training centers will re-open May 18.

  • 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.
Thank you for contributing to our Miracle League campaign
Thank you to all the members who contributed to our campaign on behalf of the Miracle League of Music City. Our council supported Nashville’s Miracle League through a 24-hour giving campaign called The Big Payback. The campaign ended May 7, and we raised almost $3,000.

The Miracle League is raising funds to construct a baseball field, dugouts, restrooms, and a playground for kids with disabilities. Read more about the project here .

Once construction begins, we also will have volunteer opportunities at the field site.
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.
How to get help for mental-health and substance-abuse issues
Mental-health and substance-abuse risks are increasing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Because most millwrights consider themselves tough men and women and because of a dangerous stigma throughout our society mental health is not something we usually talk about. That’s not how it should be, though.

The construction industry and millwrights in particular have higher rates of depression and suicide than the general population. COVID-19 is compounding mental-health issues such as stress, anxiety, and depression. This is an issue for our members who are working, those who are laid off or working reduced hours, and our members’ families.

We tell our contractors and facility owners to turn to the professionals for their millwright needs. Likewise, you should turn to a professional to help you with mental-health challenges.

Several resources are available:
  • Talk to Someone Now Lifeline: Call 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) or text TALK to 741741. Learn more here.

  • Veterans Lifeline: Call 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255). Press 1 for English or 2 for Spanish. Click here for additional resources for veterans.

  • Man Therapy (This site uses humor to break the stigma of talking about mental health.):

Substance abuse is also increasing with COVID-19, and those in recovery are at a greater risk of relapsing.

Resources available include:

  • Online meetings with Alcoholics Anonymous:

  • Virtual meetings with Narcotics Anonymous:

Nuclear-outage season update
Our last spring 2020 nuclear outage began May 2 at Catawba Nuclear Station in York, South Carolina. If we have no reported cases of the coronavirus on this outage, we will end the season with zero reported cases within our millwright workforce on outage projects. There were sites where COVID-19 cases were reported, yet none of our millwrights were infected. I commend our millwrights, our partnering contractors and their management teams, and especially our owners for taking precautionary actions and providing PPE to help keep our members safe a nd virus free.
–David Bonds, SSMRC nuclear representative
Unemployment rate of 14.7% highest since Great Depression
The U.S. unemployment rate in April was 14.7%, with 20.5 million jobs lost during the month. The rate is the highest since the Great Depression and reflects job losses resulting from COVID-19. Read more here.
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:

  • The Honda plant in Lincoln resumes production May 8.
  • 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 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.

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.

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.
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.)
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;
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.