September 10, 2020
Brothers and Sisters,
It is September already and I hope everyone is having a successful work year, despite COVID-19. Pierce County is still in modified Phase 2, which only allows group gatherings of 5 or less and Thurston, Lewis and Pacific are in modified Phase 3, which only allows gatherings of 10 or less people. We didn’t think that we’d still be in the same situation as we are today with the COVID crisis. We are hoping that things will get better, so we can get back to having membership meetings at District 1 and 2. That being said, meetings are still cancelled until further notice.
Here’s an update on the latest changes to the Local 612 Executive Board. The Line Officers met on August 16th and voted unanimously to appoint Jennifer Wisner to Executive Board District 2, backfilling the unexpired term of Larry Ayers. We also voted unanimously to appoint Jessie Christopherson to the Trustee position, backfilling the unexpired term of Larry Ayers. Chad Campbell resigned as Sergeant of Arms on August 13, 2020 and we unanimously appointed Jerry Wilson as Sergeant of Arms to backfill Chad Campbell’s resignation. These members will do a great job for the membership and I want to thank them all for stepping up to represent Local 612.
Please continue to take the necessary steps to be healthy and safe. Let’s all make sure we wash our hands frequently, do our best to wear masks when required, and social distance ourselves when near crowded areas. We can do this together to help fight off this nasty virus so some day we can get back to reality, of some sort.
We hope everyone stays healthy and safe and want to send a big shout out and prayers to the firefighters to keep them safe while protecting lives, homes and the land that we live on. If you have been adversely affected by the fires please reach out to the Hall to see if you might qualify for member assistance.
Todd J. Mickelson
July 1, 2020
Brothers and Sisters,
It saddens me to inform you that President Ed Taylor pulled the pin and retired on June 30th, 2020. He’s doing what every Operating Engineer wants to do: put blood, sweat and tears into your job and after many years decide it’s time to enjoy the fruits of your labor. He has put in 19 years as a rank and file member and another 22 years of services as a Representative of this great Union. Ed’s commitment to the Operating Engineers Local 612 is one for the history books. This man is an organizing machine and has done so much to build relationships with contractors and grow this local over the years. We will continue his legacy on organizing companies to give our membership more opportunities to work. I want to wish Ed a long and exuberant retirement.
On June 24th the Line Officers met, according to the constitution, and unanimously voted to backfill Ed Taylor’s unexpired term as President with Brother Kevin Tedrick. The line officers also unanimously voted to backfill Kevin Tedrick’s unexpired term as RCS with Sister Christina Hall. I want to congratulate both Kevin and Chris on their new positions; I know they will do a great job for Local 612. We will keep you informed as the Executive Board continues to follow the guidelines of the IUOE Constitution and 612 by-laws to backfill the positions left open by the movement.
In other news, Local 612 is cancelling the July District 1 and 2 meetings to stay in compliance with the Governor’s Safe Start Washington, a Phased Approach to Recovery. We are in Phase 2 of the Stay Home Stay Healthy process and will continue to make sure that everyone’s health is our number one priority. I’m hoping that someday we will be able to get back to having our monthly meetings, but for now I will continue to update you as much as I can with letters and website updates. We will continue to keep the in-office visits by appointment only. Please work with us to make sure we keep the staff healthy and safe by handling your business over the phone.
Washington state is seeing a worrisome trend of rapidly increasing coronavirus cases so please follow the Governor’s guidelines by wearing a mask, continuing your social distancing efforts, and washing your hands. Let’s be respectful and not politicize the efforts of others so we can get back to some sort of status quo. We can only get there by making sure we all participate to stay safe and healthy.
Just in Per General President Callahan: Due to the rapid advance of Covid-19 pandemic in Harris County Texas, EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY, ALL TRAINING CLASSES AND REGULAR OPERATIONS AT THE ITEC ARE TEMPORARILY SUSPENDED UNTIL AT LEAST AUGUST 1, 2020.
Please check the website for updates.
Todd J. Mickelson
May 7, 2020
Brothers and Sisters,
Governor Inslee has continued the order to Stay Home and Stay Healthy through May 31, 2020. He has enacted “Safe Start Washington”, a Phased Approach to Recovery plan for reopening businesses and modifying physical distancing measures. This plan would likely put us in Phase 2 by the time June 1st comes around. While the stay at home orders are gradually being eased, Phase 2 has strict guidelines that do not allow gatherings of more than 5. This makes having a Union meeting indoors difficult, at best. Therefore, I will be cancelling the May membership meetings for District 1 and 2. I also had to make a difficult decision to postpone the Summer Semi-Annual General Membership Meeting on June 6th to be in compliance with the Governor’s Stay Home and Stay Healthy orders. We will keep you all up to speed as the different phases are implemented.
IUOE General President Callahan has given Business Managers across the country the discretion to take this action and we are not alone in doing this. We will continue to do E-board meetings to keep everything going as smoothly as possible in these unique times.
We will continue to update the members on what’s happening with the Union, with work, and with all other matters via the website, email blasts, and US mail, or call us by phone. We will allow members to come to the hall on a limited, appointment only basis. Please call ahead of time so we can prepare the conference room for your needs and review the precautions we will need to take. If your business can be done over the phone, please call in so that we can ensure the health and safety of the members, office staff, and others. As always, Business Agents will represent and deal with membership issues as needed.
We ask the membership to continue to work safely on job sites, keep your head on a swivel and persistently follow safety guidelines in every phase.
- Wash hands frequently with soap and water.
- Use hand sanitizer when soap and water is not available.
- Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay at home if you feel sick.
- Stay at least 6 feet away from other people.
As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to call me at the office 253-572-9612.
Take care of yourselves, this will be in the rear view mirror some day and we can get back to doing business as usual. Thanks for your patience and we hope all is well with you and your family. We will get through this together. IUOE 612 Strong.
Todd J. Mickelson
April 28, 2020
TIPS AND RESOURCES TO HANDLE STRESS, ANXIETY,
AND SOBRIETY WHILE SOCIAL DISTANCING
In the wake of the coronavirus, our lives are changing daily. With so many unknowns and constant changes, the fear, anxiety and stress may be overwhelming. Not being able to gather is causing additional pressure on those trying to maintain sobriety. If you are struggling, here are some things you can do to take care of your mental health in the face of uncertainty:
- Separate what is in your control from what is not. Focus on the things you can do and avoid those that you cannot. Wash your hands frequently and remind others to wash theirs. Limit your consumption of news and social media fearmongering. Don’t let comments and judgements from others make you doubt yourself and your actions.
- Do what helps you feel a sense of safety. This will be different for everyone, and it’s important not to compare yourself to others. It’s ok if you’ve decided what makes you feel safe is to limit outings, but make sure you recognize when you are isolating based on potential for sickness versus isolating because it’s part of depression.
- Take care of your body-Get outside in nature. Take a walk, stretch, meditate. Exercise can be done with 6 ft distancing and helps both your physical and mental health. Eat healthy, balanced meals. Take vitamins.
- Challenge yourself to stay in the present. Perhaps your worry is compounding—you are not only thinking about what is currently happening, but also projecting into the future. When you find yourself worrying about something that hasn’t happened, gently bring yourself back to the present moment. Notice the sights, sounds, tastes and other sensory experiences in your immediate moment and name them. Engaging in mindfulness activities is one way to help stay grounded when things feel beyond your control.
- Stay connected and reach out if you need more support. Social distancing and/or isolation does not mean eliminating all social contact, just physical contact. Text or call someone you trust to talk about what you are feeling. Sometimes just hearing another voice is enough to keep you grounded. If you are feeling particularly anxious or if you are struggling with your mental health, it’s ok to reach out to a mental health professional for support. You don’t have to be alone with your worry and it can be comforting to share what you are experiencing with those trained to help.
We are in this together and help is always available. If you’re feeling alone and struggling, you can also reach out to The Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.
If you need additional resources, feel free to reach out to Chris Hall by phone or text at 253-365-8512 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Here are some links for virtual meetings to help you through these times:
Brothers and Sisters,
As we continue to navigate COVID-19 together, I want to thank each and every one of you for the part you play in all of this. Some members are still working and others are staying home to support and protect their families. Still others have found many ways to help, support and protect their neighbors and communities. Thank you very much!!
In regards to the latest communications from Governor Inslee, he has extended the “Stay Home Stay Healthy” until May 4, 2020. To see current updates from the Governor’s office, go to https://www.governor.wa.gov.
Local 612 offices will still be open for day to day business, with the exception of walk-in service, to ensure the health and safety of the members, office staff and others. We are canceling both District 1 and District 2 membership meetings for the month of April to stay in compliance with the Governor’s orders. If you have questions or need help, please call the office or a Field Representative.
For the members who are working, make sure you follow the company’s safety/health guidelines, maintain social distancing, and always keep your head on a swivel.
For those of you that are home, enjoy your time with family and stay healthy.
To the members that have lost loved ones or have loved ones sick, my thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family.
Please continue practicing social distancing and preventative behaviors:
Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 30 seconds, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, avoid close contact with people who are sick, clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces, and stay home when you are sick.
Labor and Industries (L&I) has set up a page for workplace safety guidance. https://coronavirus.wa.gov/business-workers/workplace-safety-guidance
Unemployment has also set up additional resources to help answer some questions on filing for the additional benefits. If you are denied standby, there is no need to appeal. They are waiving all SB and waiting weeks. Your claim as a whole was not denied.
Not sure if you are eligible? Click the link below to use the new eligibility checker. https://esdorchardstorage.blob.core.windows.net/esdwa/Default/ESDWAGOV/Unemployment/UIEligibilityChecker.pdf.
They highly recommend you sign up for the COVID-19 alerts at https://esd.wa.gov/newsroom/covid-19 to get the latest changes on how to proceed with denied claims or applying for the additional federal benefits. This is where the most up to date answers will be found as the roll out progresses.
The additional $600 and/or 13 weeks is anticipated to be implemented on Saturday, April 18th and will be back dated to day of separation due to COVID-19, as far back as March 29th. Your first check will have the retro pay.
Remember to sign up on our website http://www.iuoelocal612.org for email blasts on current COVID-19 information, as well as normal Local 612 communications to the membership. These new links will be added to the link tab on our website.
Thank you for all you are doing to remain safe, keeping your families, friends and neighbors safe, and supporting your colleagues, communities and Companies!! Let’s all do our part during these unfortunate times!
IUOE Local 612 Strong!
Todd J. Mickelson
Brothers and Sisters,
Gov. Jay Inslee issued a “Stay at Home, Stay Healthy” order in Washington State that is effective March 23rd for a minimum of two weeks. Wednesday, March 25th the Governor issued a narrower interpretation of his order in regards to Construction Guidance – Stay Home, Stay Healthy Proclamation (20-25). Not all commercial and residential construction is authorized under the proclamation because not all construction is considered to be an essential activity. However, there are exceptions to the order that allow for many construction sites and construction work to continue as an essential activity or in support of essential activities. All construction activity must meet social distancing and appropriate health and worker protection measures before proceeding. Also, if you are working, a special reminder that some companies are trying to get you to sign a declaration that you are not sick nor have been around anyone that shows certain symptoms to be able to go to work. In my estimation, this is a change in working conditions and therefore up for negotiation. If enforced, it is an unfair labor practice. I urge the members not to sign such a declaration.
If you find yourself laid off due to “lack of work” or on standby status make sure to check in with dispatch to be placed on the out of work (OOW) list and sign up for unemployment benefits. Depending on individual situations you may be eligible for other benefits like Paid Time Off (PTO), Sick Leave or the new Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). Remain in contact with your Supervisor, Foreman, Contractor and Field Reps for updates to job site status and/or return to work status.
Here at Local 612 Member and Employee safety continues to be of paramount importance. Based on the seriousness of the COVID-19 virus and the Governors order, Local 612 will continue day to day operations with the exception of walk in business.
Please practice social distancing and preventative behaviors:
Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, avoid close contact with people who are sick, clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces, and stay home when you are sick.
I hope everyone is doing the best they can in the circumstances that are before us and that this order to “Stay Home, Stay Safe” is done sooner than later so we can get back to what we do best, Build America!
Todd J. Mickelson
IUOE Local 612