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May 1, 2020
May 2020 Newsletter


By Richard E. Dalton, Business Manager

The COVID-19 pandemic has swept across the country and paralyzed most industries. At this writing, construction has been allowed to continue as essential work. The good news for our membership is that the traffic has sharply decreased, making the ODOT work much safer. The Stationary Engineers Department continues to remain on the job, staffing all maintenance departments, EMS groups, water/ wastewater treatment, county groups, metropolitan housing, and so forth. Please keep in mind good health habits to keep yourself and your coworkers out of harms way. Taking a few extra minutes to properly disinfect the grab handles, touchpoints, controls, and seats will go a long way to protect yourself and your coworkers. If everyone joins in to minimize contact, we can control the spread of this virus.

All Local 18 offices are open for business. Still, we would ask members to please minimize exposure to the staff by calling the offices versus stopping by when practical, and utilizing the mail service for dues payments as much as possible. Business Representatives are out on the job sites to maintain compliance with the agreements, and dispatchers are working to fill the requested work orders of the contractors.

The April membership meetings were canceled in an effort to comply with the Governor’s Executive Order to shut down all meetings and crowds over 50 people, which was later revised to 10 people. The May membership meetings are being evaluated on a day to day basis as to whether they can be conducted safely. Updates on the meetings will be pushed out via the Local 18 App for all who have downloaded it, and we will also publish updates on Local 18 Facebook, Instagram, and website, as well as at all district offices.

Petmin USA Inc. has decided to build a pig iron manufacturing facility in Ashtabula, Ohio. This facility will produce pig iron for the steelmaking industry, similar to the Cleveland Cliffs project in Toledo. The job has an estimated cost of $700 million and will take three years to complete, requiring numerous crafts and operating engineers to build.

The distribution maintenance gas work has slowed considerably due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Employers and energy companies are reluctant to send workers into residential homes for tap in and hookups. This work will no doubt pick back up once the pandemic is over and things go back to normal.

ODOT is continuing to let projects out for bid, and work has started back in most areas with bridge, road, and guardrail work resuming. If the rains stay away, work should return to near-normal levels. The building projects have mostly continued throughout the winter months due to the mild winter weather, and are reported to be ahead of schedule.

Retiree meetings are currently canceled until further notice, and we are hopeful that they can resume in the coming months. Until then, retirees, please stay indoors and away from exposure to the virus. Be safe, and if you need assistance, don’t be afraid to ask someone for help.

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