Updates

Return to Work Memo

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

We are committed to keeping you apprised as details emerge regarding new safety and return to work protocols for construction. As always, the safety and security of you and your family is our number one priority.

Last week, Mayor Marty Walsh released an approximate timeline for the construction industry to recommence our work in the City of Boston. 
 
This is a big step forward for our union – which dominates our industry’s market share in the City of Boston – and an equally big step for the entire union construction industry, which has withstood an unprecedented blow during this pandemic.
 
We are fortunate and excited to pick up right where we left off – to return to our good, well-paid union jobs that have afforded us all a fair living. 
 
Local 6 benefits, which all of us and our families enjoy, are funded by hours worked. With construction projects reopening, the time has come that we return to work, as safely as possible, so that we can retain the current levels of these benefits. 
 
Our union jobs, and the benefits we have worked hard to earn for working people, help to build a more equitable and just construction industry. They are a pillar of our community values, a reality we have fought hard for over many generations and one we must defend.
 
Our community needs us, our economy needs us, and our families need us to get back to work as quickly and as safely as possible. But although we are all eager to regain a sense of normalcy, we need to make sure we are all doing our part to keep ourselves and our members safe.
 
Please take a moment to closely review the new safety protocols outlined in this memo, which were put forth by the City of Boston, and the State of Massachusetts, in conjunction with the CDC and OSHA.
 
It is critical that each Local 6 member understands these new safety and hygiene guidelines, so that we can immediately put them into practice as business reopens. 
 
We worked diligently with contractors as well as local and state legislators to implement these guidelines so that our members can feel confident and safe in returning to work. We remain available to you as we all move forward together, and we encourage you to contact us with any questions or concerns. 
 
City of Boston COVID-19 STANDARD CONSTRUCTION Guidelines:
On Wednesday, April 29, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh issued new construction safety procedures, and also enacted new requirements for job permitting.

Mayor Walsh’s office issued the following timeline in regard to when Boston Construction will be allowed to recommence: 
  • April 27 – Release and implement new policies for emergency construction work
  • May 5 – Announcement of Return to Work dates; Essential Construction projects may begin site preparation to accommodate approved Safety Plans (see below) 
  • May 18 – Essential Construction may begin (schools, hospitals, etc.) WITH approved Safety Plans and appropriate safety preparation 
  • May 26 – All construction commences WITH approved Safety Plans and appropriate safety preparation 
Contractors are now tasked with the preparation of new, site-specific “Safety Plans” for each project, in order to ensure the health and safety of all workers onsite. 
 
Contractors MUST receive approval on their Safety Plan from either the ISD or Public Works Department before teams may pick up work.
 
Workers should review this worksheet issued by the City of Boston, which will serve as a BASELINE for additional worksite safety moving forward. Each of these requirements (unless approved by the City for exception) are required to be in place in order for work on any and all sites to move forward. These guidelines were created in conjunction with the CDC and OSHA.

In short, if you are informed that you should return to work on a given date, that means that your site will already be prepared to operate according to these guidelines, in advance of that date. 
 
Please note that if the work site fails to uphold safety standards or abide by its own Safety Plan, it may result in suspension or termination of work in progress, or revocation of the City’s permit for the work.
 
 
Massachusetts State COVID-19 Construction Guidelines:
 
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has also issued state-wide guidelines for construction worksites moving forward. All of these procedures must be followed on each job site, both union and non-union, in ADDITION to any guidelines put forth by local municipalities (i.e., City of Boston guidelines mentioned above).

Contractors must distribute BOTH State and Municipal guidelines to employees on all job sites, for review in a site-wide safety stand down.
 
The key takeaways from the State guidelines are as follows:
 
  • On-site COVID Officer – Each construction site must have a site-specific, COVID-19 Officer (who may also be the Health & Safety Officer). This person will submit a daily report to the project owner representative, certifying that the contractor and all subs are in compliance will all COVID-19 safety protocols.
  • Zero Tolerance Policy – There will be ZERO tolerance for sick workers reporting to work. If you are ill, stay home. If you begin feeling ill while at work, go home. And if you notice a coworker who is exhibiting symptoms, you should encourage them to go home, and/or alert your supervisor, or the work site COVID-19 Officer.
  • Safety Stand Down – All job sites statewide will require a safety stand down so the Contractor may distribute the appropriate materials to workers, and review, in detail with the full team, the expectations for safety and hygiene moving forward.

The number one priority of Local 6 is the safety of our members. Please review both the City of Boston and Commonwealth of Massachusetts safety guidelines in their entirety, so that you understand the responsibilities that you hold, and those that your employer holds. 
 
This is absolutely essential to keeping our work sites safe and healthy for all. 
 
Local 6 has remained in close coordination with our fellow building trades unions, as well as state and local officials to outline these necessary, new policies that will allow us to continue our work safely.
 
We will continue to prioritize and advocate for the safety of our members, and we want you to know that you can count on us to uphold and enforce these new standards.
 
To stay up to date on further COVID-19 developments, visit the City of Boston COVID-19 webpage: https://www.boston.gov/news/coronavirus-disease-covid-19-boston
 
Thank you in advance for your cooperation and please do reach out with questions or concerns. 
 
 

Fraternally, 
  
Jim Lister
Business Manager/Financial Secretary
 
Jeff Saliba
Business Agent 
 
Heat & Frost Insulators Local 6
617-436-4666