Brothers and Sisters,

Our top priority is to be here for our members during these unprecedented times. We’ve built one of the strongest unions in the industry — and together, we can withstand any storm.

Over the past 10 days, we have been in close coordination everyday with the United Association, the Massachusetts Building Trades, the Boston Building Trades, and the New England Mechanical Contractors Association. We are making preparations to ensure that your job site will be safer than ever when you return to work.

Per Governor Baker’s stay-at-home order effective Tuesday, March 24 through Tuesday, April 7, Local 537 members working on job sites not under moratoriums are considered Essential and should report to work. CDC and OSHA recommendations to ensure best practices are being followed on these sites. If you or a family member are sick, please stay at home for the health and safety of your fellow workers and their families.

We might not have all the answers right now, but you have my word: all of us at Local 537 have your back, no matter what. That’s why we’ll be updating this COVID-19 Online Resource Center daily with the latest information to support you and your family.

Please call the Union Hall or your Business Agent if you have any questions or need assistance, or email LU537unionhall@pipefitters537.com. I also encourage you to receive text alerts by texting L537 to 77222 and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates. Though we face some uncertainty in the coming weeks, we will get through this and emerge stronger than ever, as one Union.

In solidarity,

Tom Kerr
Business Manager/Financial Secretary-Treasurer
Pipefitters Local 537

Local 537 Closures & Cancellations

We have announced the following closures and cancellations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Union Hall meetings and events are suspended until further notice.
  • Union Hall, Funds Office, and Training Center are closed to visitors until further notice.
While the Union Hall and Training Center are physically closed, our lines of communication are open and fully operating. Please call or email the Union Hall or your Business Agent for any questions or concerns you might have.

Work Shutdowns & Moratoriums

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping our city, our country, and the world, construction sites in the following locations are currently shut down:
  • City of Boston, MA
  • City of Cambridge, MA
  • City of Somerville, MA
Our contractors are evaluating all projects on a case-by-case basis to determine how to secure all job sites. We will be in contact with members if they are needed on skeleton crews to ensure safety.

This shutdown is ONLY the case in the locations listed above. We are monitoring additional areas, and will inform the membership of any updates.

Members who are currently working and feel well, but need to take care of a child or a sick family member, should notify their contractor and Business Agent, and stay home. Please review our previous guidance for details.

Online Dues Payment

We encourage you to pay your dues online or by using the dues dropbox, which is located at the back corner of the building on Enterprise Street. For instructions on how to make an online payment, visit: https://pipefitters537.org/members/member-portal/dues/

Paid Leave

  • We’ve worked with our industry partners to ensure that members who are still on the job, but need to take care of a child or ill family member, are in no way penalized for missing work. Emergency paid sick leave and emergency paid family medical leave has also been passed on the national level.

Unemployment Benefits & Tips

General Guidance
  • We’ve successfully lobbied the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the State of Maine to waive the one-week waiting period for unemployment assistance. All members who have separated from work due to COVID-19 are immediately available for benefits. Review the information below, and call or email your Business Agent with questions.
For Members Working in Massachusetts

If you are applying for unemployment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, follow these key tips to receive quick and reliable benefits:

  • Apply online. State-run call centers and offices are closed or operating with limited staffing. The fastest way is to apply online by following these instructions: https://www.mass.gov/how-to/apply-for-unemployment-benefits
  • Enter “LAYOFF” as your reason for unemployment. Please consult the below powerpoint for a step-by-step guide on how to apply.
  • Do NOT enter a “return to work” or “recall” date. Although some public officials have identified plans to re-evaluate suspensions of construction work, this is not a guarantee that work will resume at that time.
For more information on unemployment insurance (UI) and other available benefits for Massachusetts workers, please review the following guides and resources:
  • The Department of Unemployment Assistance is hosting virtual town hall meetings via phone and online to walk through the claim process, and answer questions. Register for a town hall presentation on applying for unemployment assistance by 5:30 PM the night before the presentation to receive a call. Sign up here: https://bit.ly/3blBCSG
  • Get step-by-step guidance on applying for UI during this time: http://bit.ly/2QxCZ8S
  • See if you qualify for UI and get more information about receiving it: https://bit.ly/2Qywlz5

Health & Welfare Coverage

We know that the coronavirus is a health concern for everyone. We’re here to ensure you have access to uninterrupted care:
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield’s WellConnection offers urgent telehealth services for minor medical care and behavioral health concerns. Learn more here.
  • The Modern Assistance Program continues as Local 537’s sole provide of pre-authorization review for all inpatient mental health and inpatient substance admissions, including partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient programs for substance use and mental health. Contact them at 617-774-0331.

Additional Resources for Union Members

Click here for Greater Boston Labor Council’s COVID-19 Resource Guide, which includes key resources and up-to-date guidance on unemployment, healthcare, child care, and more.

Additionally, visit the Mass Building Trades Council’s Best Practices page for information on the following:

  • Best practices for workers and employers
  • Unemployment insurance updates
  • Details on the paid sick and family medical leave legislation recently passed at the federal level.
  • Updates from healthcare carriers

Frequently Asked Questions

No, some specific job sites will stay open. For instance, MASSPORT Jobs are owned by the state and remain active jobsites, including some Seaport parcels and Logan Airport. Additionally, some of the moratoriums allow for exemptions. You will be contacted if you are needed for an open job site in a location experiencing a shutdown.

Yes! We encourage you to pay your dues online or by using the dues dropbox, which is located at the back corner of the building on Enterprise Street. For instructions on how to make an online payment, visit: https://pipefitters537.org/members/member-portal/dues/
Go to the Massachusetts state unemployment insurance website or Maine state unemployment insurance website and follow their instructions to apply online. Make sure to enter “LAYOFF” as the reason for your unemployment, and DO NOT list a return to work date.

Follow this powerpoint guide for a step-by-step walk-through of how to apply during this time: http://bit.ly/2QxCZ8S

All Local 537 trainings, meetings, and events have been suspended until further notice. We will keep members updated about any future scheduled events, and will issue updated training schedules.

If you’re not feeling well or have symptoms of acute respiratory illness, it is recommended that you stay home and not come to work until you are free of fever (100.4° F [37.8° C] or greater using an oral thermometer), signs of a fever, and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines (e.g. cough suppressants).

Please report an illness and subsequent absence from work to your contractor, as well as the Union Hall.

Seek medical help if you have a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing. Information on COVID-19 symptoms can be found on the CDC website.

If you are working, please notify your contractor and Business Agent, and stay home.

The best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is by practicing social distancing, even if you are not feeling sick. Please review our previous guidance for details on how to stay healthy and reduce the spread of the virus.

Local 537 staff are available via phone and email for any questions or concerns you might have. Please call us at (617) 787-5370 or call your Business Agent.