US construction officials, unions rally to continue working
By Jenny Lescohier23 March 2020
Construction industry and union officials are jointly appealing to government at all levels for its work to be designated “essential” and exempt from shutdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Meanwhile, several states have already ruled construction is essential and work will continue despite shelter-in-place orders.
As of this writing, Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin have ordered various degrees of exemption so that construction work can continue, reports indicate.
The chief executive officer of the Associated General Contractors of America, Stephen E. Sandherr, and the president of North America’s Building Trades Unions, Sean McGarvey, issued the following joint statement urging government officials to exempt construction work from regional, state and local work shutdowns:
“Government officials at all levels should treat the construction industry and the work it performs as vital and essential to the critical industries that must remain in operation. Construction workers provide an invaluable economic service, maintaining and improving the nation’s infrastructure, including critically important energy and communication systems, roads and bridges, and social infrastructure, including police, fire and health care facilities.
“Construction workers’ unique skills are essential now and in the coming weeks to construct, maintain, and repair critical infrastructure, and to build temporary health facilities and retrofit and expand existing ones.
“Labor and management construction industry partners continue to monitor and provide guidance on all recommended health and safety job site precautions for construction workers so that proper measures are deployed to ensure a safe work environment for those on the job.”