WA Construction Update:
Brothers and Sisters: We were recently informed that Governor Inslee intended for a narrower interpretation of his Executive Order as it relates to construction activities. Under the new, more restrictive interpretation: “In general, commercial and residential construction is not covered under the proclamation because construction is not considered an essential activity.” The interpretation goes on to allow for some limited exceptions relating to “essential activities” like transportation and discretion for local public entities to authorize continued construction work. This could include: schools, necessary transportation projects, transit, and other projects deemed essential to public infrastructure. The Governor’s office also established an exception/waiver process that project owners and contractors can submit for approval. However, several of our contractors already made the decision today to shutdown their jobs in anticipation of this announcement. While the Governor’s Order requires a 2-week shutdown beginning today at 5 pm, we fully expect many of the jobs affected will likely not restart on Wednesday, April 8th but will remain down until at least Monday, April 13th. Communications with your general foreman, contractor, and field rep will be necessary to determine if your job is still an allowed project and/or its status if a waiver was requested.
If you are laid off, this qualifies as “lack of work” conditions under unemployment and we advise members to be sure to get on the out-of-work list regardless if your employer says they are putting you on Standby status. Given the potential high volume of folks checking in, we’d ask that you email your Out-of-Work List requests to your dispatcher and be patient with us as we do our best to getting everybody taken care of. We have also heard that some employers are keeping their workers on the payroll during this shutdown, which is a truly appreciated gesture from our contractor partners. Depending on the length of this shutdown, you may also be eligible for the new Federal Families First Corona Response Act benefits which are currently being implemented. These benefits include up to 2 weeks of paid leave for covered situations, which many of the details of this new Federal law are being worked out and we don’t expect clearer guidance until early April. You also may be eligible for Paid Time Off or Sick Leave Benefits depending on if they have been accrued and as allowed under your employer’s policies.
We continue to recognize that there is a lot of concern and uncertainty during this time and we will continue to provide any and all information at our disposal. In the meantime, I ask that you remain vigilant in exercising social distancing, handwashing, and limiting your errands within the community. Be safe out there.
Posted at 8:44 pm, 3/25/2020