Brothers and Sisters,

We hope this note finds you and yours healthy and safe.

All of us at Local 17 have been in close coordination with our industry partners to establish protocols for safely resuming construction activity. I want to update you on the latest developments and next steps.

According to the Mayor’s Office, as of May 5, the City of Boston will “allow essential construction projects” starting on Monday, May 18th. This work includes “hospitals, public schools, residential buildings [1-3 units], roads and utility work, and other outdoor/open-air work.” Projects will be “required to submit a COVID-19 Safety Plan and a signed affidavit” and will need to be “sufficiently prepared to adhere to all criteria.” On May 26, the City may allow “all essential construction projects to re-commence construction activities in adherence to their safety plans.” We will keep you updated regarding similar re-openings in Cambridge, Somerville, and other areas throughout our region.

This is a good first step. Returning to work safely and swiftly is critical to keep our Union and our industry strong. There are dozens of projects that need to be completed in the coming days and weeks. We need to be ready to pick up right where we left off. Our communities are counting on us, and we can’t let them down.

The safety of you and your families remains our top priority. While we must return to work, it’s up to all of us to uphold the new health and safety protocols that will be strictly enforced on each job site. These protocols will apply to ALL construction workers, whether you are continuing work or returning to work.

Please take a moment to review the details below, as you will be expected to adhere to these new policies on job sites until further notice and without exception.

New Guidelines to Protect Workers: 

1. All workers must “self-certify” to your supervisor before each shift that:

  • You are not sick.
  • You are not experiencing COVID-19 symptoms (i.e., temperature exceeding 100.3 degrees, cough or difficulty breathing).
  • You have not been exposed to someone with COVID-19.
  • You have not been ordered or encouraged to self-quarantine.

2. All workers must wear gloves, masks, and eye protection at all times (these will be provided to you).

3. All workers must remain at least six (6) feet apart at all times, including on elevators. When social distancing is not possible, affected employees will be supplied PPE including a standard face mask, gloves, and eye protection.

4. Job sites will have temporary hand-washing stations installed with hot, running water, in addition to hand sanitizer stations throughout the site.

5. Handshakes and other physical contact are prohibited.

6. All workers should arrive at job sites in a single-occupant vehicle.

7. If a worker is asked to leave a job site, they may not return until cleared by a medical professional.

Local 17 already upholds the most rigid safety standards in the industry and we’ll be closely monitoring each contractor’s and job site’s protocols. We are also counting on each of you to lead by example and take these guidelines seriously, for the sake of our peers, our families, and our entire community.

If you have questions, please reach out to the Union Hall. For more information, review the memo from the Mayor’s Office on SMW17Boston.org.

Together, we’ll emerge from this stronger than ever.

In Solidarity,

Bob Butler
Business Manager
Sheet Metal Workers Local 17