Important Information For Members Regarding COVID-19
As you all know, we are in uncharted waters with the COVID-19 pandemic. It has always been the Union’s position, first and foremost, to have a safe work environment for all members and provide healthcare coverage that safeguards our members and their families.
In the past week, we have had over 30 people on different projects, both heavy highway and building construction, test positive for COVID-19. The following are the rules the CDC is requiring and what employers will have to enforce:
If you have been fully vaccinated and have been in contact with someone that has tested positive for COVID-19, the CDC does not require you to quarantine. You can still work as long as you are not feeling any symptoms; however, within 3 to 5 days of exposure, your employer MAY require you to produce a negative test.
If you are unvaccinated and test positive for COVID-19, the CDC is requiring employers to have such individuals quarantine for 14 days after the last symptom and, if going back to work for the same employer, may be required to produce a negative test.
In 2020, under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, employers were required to pay two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave to employees who were unable to work because they were quarantined. However, that requirement has expired, and employers are no longer obligated to pay any employee for being quarantined. In addition, the employer will most likely replace quarantined workers on the job and there is no guarantee those workers will be called back once his/her quarantine is completed.
After speaking with both the Constructors Association of Western Pennsylvania and the Master Builders’ Association of Western Pennsylvania, as well as numerous contractors that employ our members both in the private and public sectors, the base concern is that owners of the projects, both private and public entities, MAY require the contractor to have only vaccinated employees on site.
At this time, it is not required for all of our members to be vaccinated; however, we have been seeing a trend of vaccination mandates by a number of the entities that employ our members.
We have inquired with our legal counsel and been advised employers have the right to mandate vaccinations and/or negative testing. For every member that is calling with concerns about not getting the vaccine, we also have members calling asking why the Union is not requiring everyone to get the vaccine. The Union cannot mandate vaccinations. The Union is not the employer. Only the employer, awarding agency, or owner of the project has the authority to mandate it.
Please understand the Laborers’ District Council of Western Pennsylvania’s position is not to force anyone that opposes the COVID-19 vaccine to get it. However, it MAY be a condition of employment in the near future, just as working in a hospital may require a flu shot, working in a sanitation plant can require a hepatitis shot, and the majority of projects require drug testing.
This is not by any means a political statement. The Union’s position is to protect all its workers and provide contractors with Union workers that are safe and skilled.
Please contact your physician and ask if they recommend the vaccine, as they will know what is best for each individual’s health and well-being.
As Union members in solidarity, we must respect one another and each other’s views. We may disagree, but in the end we share the same goals: to provide for our families, stay healthy, and enjoy the retirement benefits that have been earned from all the years of hard work that we have performed. Please stay healthy, make common-sense decisions, and respect your fellow Union brothers and sisters in any decisions they make in these difficult times.
Yours in solidarity and God Bless,
LABORERS’ DISTRICT COUNCIL OF WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA
Philip Ameris President-Business Manager
STARTING FEBRUARY 21, 2022, THE FOLLOWING POLICY WILL BE PUT IN PLACE:
Western Pennsylvania Laborers Training Center COVID-19 Vaccination Policy
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resurgence of infection, the Western Pennsylvania Laborers Training Center wants to assure our employees and students of our continued commitment to maintaining a safe and healthy Training Center. We have been taking various measures to protect everyone at the Training Center from contracting and spreading COVID-19.
In as much as COVID-19 vaccines have been approved for Emergency Use Authorization by the US Food and Drug Administration(FDA) and all employees and students are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, we have determined that it is in the best interest of all employees and students to be vaccinated. Therefore, we are implementing a Vaccination Policy to protect the health and safety of all employees and students.
This Vaccination Policy is based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and is designed to comply with all applicable federal, state, and local laws and is a key part of our overall strategy and commitment to maintaining a safe and healthy Training Center in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
We need your full cooperation and compliance with this and other health and safety policies to make them effective. Compliance with this policy is a condition of continued employment and/or enrollment in any of our training programs. Please read this policy carefully.
This vaccination Policy is a key part of our overall strategy and commitment to maintaining a safe and healthy Training Center in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. In accordance with our duty to provide and maintain a workplace and Training Center that is free of known hazards, we are adopting this policy to safeguard the health of our employees and students from COVID-19. This policy complies with all applicable laws and is based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and all applicable state and local health orders.
This policy applies to all employees and students who enter upon our premises. Employees and students are required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, unless a reasonable accommodation is approved. If you have concerns about receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, please contact Director Marc Ferrari to discuss your concerns.
Beginning February 21, 2022, all employees and students entering the Training Center must:
Provide us with a COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card or
Take a rapid test at the Training Center(PCR tests are no longer required).
If you are planning to take a rapid test, you must bring a test kit with you on the first day of your class. You will take the rapid Covid-19 test while being observed by Training Center personnel. If the test is negative, you will enter the building to be seated for the class;
Wear an acceptable face covering at all times while on our premises; and
Maintain social distancing while on our premises.
Students who fail to comply with these requirements will not be permitted to take the class, subject to reasonable accommodation and other requirements of applicable federal, state, and local law.
Information About COVID-19 Vaccines
Please see the attached COVID-19 vaccination information sheet provided by Highmark to answer some questions you may have regarding the vaccine.
More information about the COVID-19 vaccine approval process is available and frequently updated on the CDC’s website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/.