The Minnesota Building and Construction Trades Council’s top priority is the health and safety of the 70,000 union construction professionals it represents. Our industry and country are facing an unprecedented point in time dealing with the coronavirus.
We anticipate that the coronavirus may disrupt Minnesota’s construction industry and our goal is to ensure that Minnesota Building and Construction Trades members and their families are treated with dignity and respect. Because of the hands-on nature of our work, less than 10% of all construction industry professionals can telecommute. Therefore, as we face this difficult time together, we have identified several key priorities.
The physical and economic health of union members is our top priority. During this time, we encourage union members to:
- Follow all hygiene and social distancing recommendations from the Minnesota Department of Health.
- Stay home from work if you are sick.
- Contact your union if you are unable to work.
- Apply for unemployment benefits if you are unemployed or have a reduction in hours.
Additional resources are available on the Minnesota State Building Trades website: www.mntrades.org/covid-19-resources/
As a cooperative industry response to the coronavirus, we request that project owners and construction contractors:
- Provide a safe workplace for all building trades workers.
- Communicate directly with signatory unions in the event they are making decisions around a reduction of hours or closing projects or job sites.
At this time, we are focusing on these crucial legislative policy priorities:
- Ensuring that Minnesota Unemployment benefits are readily available to Minnesota’s construction workers impacted by the coronavirus by:
- Eliminating the waiting week;
- Clarifying eligibility requirements around actively seeking work;
- Eliminating impacts on employer’s experience ratings; and
- Extending benefits for an additional 26 weeks.
- Investing in Minnesota people and projects. A strong bonding bill that meets Minnesota’s infrastructure needs can be the economic stimulus needed to jump start the economy, and especially the construction industry, after the worst of the coronavirus impacts have passed. Funding needed asset preservation, public building construction projects, local economic development, and safe roads, bridges, and transit systems will better serve Minnesota communities and businesses and help get goods to market and put Minnesotans to work.
As this situation continues to change, the Minnesota State Building and Construction Trades Council hopes to be a resource for our members and our community. We have established a website to share the most up to date information: www.mntrades.org/covid-19-resources/.