May 2020 Business Manager Updates
The next Regular Union Meeting “ maybe “ at 7:00 pm on Thursday, June 18 , 2020., at 555 Horace Brown Drive, Madison Heights, MI 48071. We are still unsure at this point.
Brothers and Sisters,
Some of this may be repetitive but please read the whole article as things are changing by the minute. Your officers and I are in hope this letter finds you and your family safe during these strange times. The Governor has now extended the stay at home order until the 15th of May, even though the CDC and our affiliated Governmental agencies have seen the epidemic peak in Michigan it still has a chance for a resurgence, so please stay safe.
Local 98 has done its share during this virus by completing a 1,100-bed facility at TCF Center (COBO Hall) in Detroit, then again in Novi at the Suburban Showcase. I believe our training and the hard work you do in the field where the only reason an out of state contractor, with almost zero experience in plumbing or building a hospital, could hire direct from the hall and smash any myths about hiring SKILLED UNION WORKERS.
At this time, your officers are working together on gathering information on updates to the historic changes, to unemployment and all possible grants to businesses across the country. With their help and yours, 98 has donated food to ER’s (our contractors are donating with us I will report in the next paper ), handed out food to the needy, dropped off masks to job sites, and police departments. We have dropped off coffee to area hospitals, volunteered our services on anything we can do to help.
Our members are working selflessly along the side of Doctors and Nurses in our hospitals, we went to work in Detroit returning water to over 100 residents.
* Our auto plants are moving, closer to starting their work up again. There are many changes now for entrance to these facilities. You will be asked medical questions on your health and your immediate family contacts. You will have your temperature taken before work. The use of 4-10s may be used at first. Shifts may be staggered for a while, watch the start times, as overtime may apply. You will no longer be allowed to leave the plant this means going out for lunch or cashing a check and then return, they will not let you come back the same day. You will need to pack food and water for the hours the plant is working, pack a big lunch this is the new normal. The 6’ rule “when possible” must be adhered and face masks will be supplied to you as you enter the jobs. Don’t be the guy who refuses to wear a mask and the PPE provided you have no right to endanger your partner.
If you are not supplied with any PPE or feel the job is not addressing these issues you have the right to call your agent and leave the job. We have established an anonymous safety hotline call-in number for 98, 636 members and our Contractors to investigate any lack of protection or wrongdoing by the owners we all work for, the number is 313-340-7339.
This is a chance for the whole Building Trades to fight for a sanitary job site, no one person needs to be the only one bitching of poor conditions of Porta Jon’s and a clean place for lunch. All of you need to talk as one voice and help your selves on this issue.
* Until further notice all E-Board meetings, Union meetings, and Retiree meetings, will be canceled. The Union Hall and our Training Center have been closed to all foot traffic.
*Any Must/Most, upgrades, continuity’s or letters of certifications will still be taken care of by Paul Baker 248-585-1435, our Officers or Jean at 248-307-9800. The school will remain closed until we figure out a blackboard procedure or the state pulls restrictions. While I am here, I recommend to the apprentices get your classes caught up at Washtenaw Community College, this virus may hamper going to school but not your obligation to the training center.
All 2nd thru 5th-year Apprentices should have received a new open enrollment package to change your options on Insurance coverage to a different plan. If you are happy with your current coverage you do not have to do anything. Benesys is still your plan manager but if you have questions please call Jon, Jean, or myself and we can help you. Please check our media outlets like the 98 Web page, FaceBook or call the hall to see if there is any new information.
It’s that time again for your 2020 Plumbing License Renewal, it can be done ONLINE ONLY! For detailed instructions and requirements, please visit www.michigan.gov/bcc. Or call 98’s training Center and they will assist you.
Our Local 98 PAC committee has come out in support of past V.P. Joe Biden for President of the United States , with all the twisted things that Washington and our great state have done to the working class and every Local Union in this country, it did not take long to come to this conclusion. That does not mean in any way shape or form we have shut the door on the Republican Party. We will work on a list of candidates your PAC committee is recommending soon on our web page, we will always back anyone who stands with the working people of our state of Michigan and this country just like we have done in the past. You stand with us or against us!
We have currently frozen any new apprentice applications at our Training Center as we try to figure out a potential start date for a new class.
Superintendents and Forman if you have laid off Pre-apprentices send the information to the agents with a letter pertaining to their work efforts, someday we will get back to normal and to lose these young men and women would be an injustice.
We had started to clean up the Out of Work List and we are back to over 400 Brothers and Sisters out of work. I have informed our contractors when they are given the green light you may return for that same contractor you were laid off from. “Your only responsibility is to notify the Union upon returning to work.” If you were unavailable to work or did not return a call you have been moved to the stay list or injured list.
We are looking for Residential and Service Plumbers at this time, when we get the green light to return to work, it will be a great chance to expand and grow again as many members are looking to retire. So, if you know anyone working Non- Union or is a past member that may be interested in us. Have them call 98’s Organizer Rob Moses on his cell phone 248-763-2187.
The new U.A. Union cards are available at the hall when you pay your 2020 Union dues, these cards are good for 2020, 2021 and 2022. If by chance you are in arrears and you are struggling financially, please contact the hall and make arrangements. We do not want to fine anyone for something that can be avoided. If you are thinking of retirement or are having any issues relating to SUB, Unemployment or Benesys please contact Jon on his cell phone or at the hall at 248-762-9238. Sorry to say but we have run into problems with the new UA cards as there is no way to know if a person is current. Jon has been able to make a second card to be carried to our meetings as well as job sites, this second card can now be stamped monthly or yearly as we have done in the past. Now all of our members and stewards on the jobs will not have to waste time calling the hall to see if another member is current. Our hope is this will not only stop accidental reinstatement fee’s from occurring but this will help examining board members at union meetings who are at the door checking cards to lessen any confusion.
Don’t miss out on our agreement with the Detroit Land Bank Authority. Local 98 members can purchase home or building in the Land Banks Holdings for half the list cost. Go to www.buildingdetroit.org to see what this is about or contact the hall for details.
The new Log books are in so grab only what you need for your job. It figures now that work is slow the new contract books have arrived, agents can distribute to a parking lot or open area if needed.
Last note I saved the best for last; I would like to personally thank Brother Mitch Conn who is retiring this month from our training center. It was an honor working with you. When we needed a welding instructor he stepped up and really put our young Men and Women on the right path. On behalf of all the Officers and Members, we wish you a great retirement to you and your wife.
We also would like to thank Brother Chris Opalka for stepping in and is now our new welding instructor for 98, I’m sure you will continue teaching our members this well needed skill.
Business Manager, Plumbers Local 98
Attention Members: Any member considering retirement please contact Financial Secretary Jon DeRoo at (248) 762-9238 or email him at [email protected]. He will schedule an appointment for you and, if your married, your wife to come in and go over all the necessary documents to explain everything in detail.
Ideally, a member should start this process a year from his/her intended retirement date. Also, I am still encouraging the members to contact Jon for any issues with their benefits (Pension, Insurance, Health, and Welfare, etc.) or if you are going on disability. Jon will follow every issue through to resolution and document it all in case something comes up in the future. I put this process in place to save the members from having to spend countless hours on the phone with BeneSys. I meet with Jon weekly to review all the issues he is working on.
Our deepest sympathies go to the family and friends of 67-year member William Prytula, who passed away April 11, 2020.
Our sincerest sympathies go to the family and friends of Barbara Snyder who passed recently. Barbara is the wife of member Brian Snyder.
Our deepest sympathies go to the family and friends of Susan Patton who passed away April 25, 2020. Susan is the mother of member Ron Cope.
Northern Retiree Meeting
Thumb Area Meeting
Workers Assistance Program, Recovery and Relationship/Divorce Support Groups
This program is not only for medical and/or personal issues, please call C.J. Harrison, Work-Life Strategies at 248-545-8301 for an appointment.
Out of Work List Changes/ SUB Pay
All working members will be required to complete a SUB application within 48 hours of their lay-off to ensure placement on the Out of Work List. If you are out of work due to Unemployment, Disability or Workers Compensation, please contact BeneSys at 248-813-9800 to verify your continued Insurance eligibility.