OREGON & WASHINGTON "Stay-at-Home" Orders

To:          BAC Local 1 OR/WA/ID/MT members

From:    Matt Eleazer

Date:     March 24, 2020

RE:          Oregon & Washington “Shelter-In-Place” Orders

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

You may have heard that yesterday, Oregon Governor Brown and Washington Governor Inslee both issued "Stay at Home" orders requiring "non-essential" businesses to close. You may also have heard that construction was exempted from Governor Brown’s order as an "essential" industry, and that some, but not all, construction work was exempted from Governor Inslee’s order.

At Local 1, we've already spoken with several members concerned about what these orders mean - and what they don’t mean. I wanted to reach out and briefly summarize our understanding of where things lie. 

First, the decision by the Governors to classify some or all construction as "essential" doesn't mean that you have to go to work if you can't work, or if you don't feel it's safe to work. It simply means that construction work can continue if the project owner, the contractors, and craftworkers all wish to proceed. If you choose not to work during this time, that's your decision. We understand that many members have reasons that they can't work, or simply don't want to leave home at this time. If that's your case, Local 1 supports you. 

We also understand that there are many members who are willing to work through the crisis. And again, if that's your case, Local 1 supports you. If you do choose to work in general during the pandemic, but you feel like your particular jobsite is unsafe due to a lack of distancing or any other reason, you have the individual right to stop working - just the same as you always have the right to stop working if the scaffold is unsafe, or if there's any other condition on the job that seriously threatens your safety. Regardless of whether you stop working, we ask that you contact Local 1 immediately if you feel that your particular jobsite is unsafe, and we'll do our best to work with the contractors involved to correct the problem.

 We learn on Day One as apprentices that safety is our first priority on the job. That's as true when it comes to the threat of a virus as it is when it comes to fall protection, or any of the "normal" hazards that we're used to seeing as skilled craftworkers. Whatever you choose to do, Local 1 will have your back - whether you're sheltering in place, or continuing to build the Northwest. Either way, we'll do it safely, and we'll do it as a Union.

Fraternally,

Matt Eleazer

PS: Neither Idaho nor Montana have issued any “shelter-in-place” type orders at this point, but if they do, we’ll be in touch with further guidance.