Resources for members in Massachusetts
Following Boston, Brookline and Cambridge, Somerville and Watertown today put moratoriums on construction in the city. Though there have been sporadic closure of projects throughout the region, they are the only five municipalities to take action of this sort.
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker issued an emergency order ordering nonessential businesses and organizations to close their physical work spaces and facilities to customers, workers and the public.
As in New York and Connecticut where governors issued similar executive orders, construction is one of the industries exempt from the order in Massachusetts, meaning sites will be open.
Members and contractors on active sites should follow CDC guidelines for preventing the spread of the virus. Members who have concerns about their health ad safety should talk to the carpenter steward on the job and/or their local union.
Per the current guidance from the state: people who have questions about what to do regarding health concerns should contact their physician before going to the doctor’s office or hospital to be tested or treated. They should call 9-1-1 if they have a life-threatening medical emergency.
The state’s 2-1-1 number is available seven days a week, 24 hours a day to answer many questions and provide guidance. Most cities are now setting up similar help numbers that will include local help like food, shelter, health care access information, etc.
If you are laid off by your employer, it is recommended that you file your claim for unemployment immediately. The state has waived the seven day waiting period, along with some other requirements. Because phones are receiving an overwhelming volume of calls, it is suggested that you file online here.
If you need help with online filing, a step-by-step guide can be found here.
Be prepared with your employment history before you log on. This includes your work history for the last 15 months, including employer addresses and hours worked.
If you run into trouble filing your claim, please contact your local union for assistance.
Members that may be entitled to earned sick time under Massachusetts law can find information on current and modified rules here.
The IRS has moved the federal tax filing deadline date to July 15. The federal government has passed emergency legislation that provides some pay for workers who are unable to work because they or a family member they are caring for is sick or if they have to stay home because of a closure of a school or child care provider.
It is not yet clear how these all of these provisions will be accessed by members or how they may or may not impact eligibility for unemployment insurance or paid sick-time state programs being developed, either.
The Carpenters Assistance Program continues to be available for members at this time. Members can call Paul Greeley or Jeff Smith at (617) 782-0100 or visit KGA online, 24/7.
Please remember that things are changing rapidly and there is a lot of information being circulated on a number of topics right now. Be wary of rumors, honest mistakes or misinformation. Seek reliable and multiple sources to confirm what you are hearing. Understand that while we are able to share general information, your situation may include unique circumstances which change how something applies to you.