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.
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.
Business Manager/Financial Secretary-Treasurer
Pipefitters Local 537
Local 537 Closures & Cancellations
- Union Hall meetings and events are suspended until further notice.
- Union Hall, Funds Office, and Training Center are closed to visitors until further notice.
Work Shutdowns & Moratoriums
- City of Boston, MA
- City of Cambridge, MA
- City of Somerville, MA
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’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
- 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.
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.
- 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
- 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
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.
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.
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.