Update from BMST, Todd Doree
International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 3 has developed guidance regarding the Coronavirus/COVID-19 crisis and the operations of DC3 and its affiliated benefit and training funds during the crisis. We ask that you read this completely and carefully, and make others aware of it through discussions within your workplaces and households.
DC3 and its affiliated benefit and training funds administer core resources and assets made possible by the work of DC3 members and signatory employers. DC3 influences the work members do to earn their incomes, the way members receive their healthcare and save for their retirement, and the training that makes it possible for members and employers to perform their work. As such, we have a special responsibility to consider carefully the threats posed by the Coronavirus. All signs point to this public health crisis emerging in the short term as a very serious, once-in-a-generation disruption to our way of life, with lasting negative consequences. DC3 is committed to remaining available and accessible to you throughout this public health crisis. Please consider the following essential information:
- The 2019 Coronavirus, or COVID-19, causes fever, cough, and shortness of breath. According to the Centers for Disease Control, most people will be able to recover from COVID-19 at home; but, some people are at higher risk of getting very sick from this illness, including older adults, and people who have serious chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease. There is no vaccine to prevent Coronavirus. The best way for individuals to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus. If you wish to consider additional general information about Coronavirus, you can read more at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)(useful information about people at risk for serious illness from COVID-19 and preparing for COVID-19and mental health and coping during COVID-19 can be found on the CDC webpage). The Missouri Department of Health and the Kansas Department of Health also offer useful information.
- You will need to have supplies on hand so that you are prepared to stay at home for a period of time. This may include contacting your healthcare provider to ask about obtaining extra necessary medications to have on hand in case there is an outbreak of COVID-19 in your community; being sure you have over-the-counter medicines and medical supplies to treat fever and other symptoms; and having enough household items and groceries on hand if you need to stay home for a prolonged period of time.
- The single most important action we all must take is to address any signs of illness that might signal Coronavirus infection. If you believe you might have a fever, take your temperature. If you have a fever, do not go to work. Contact your employer, monitor your symptoms, and contact your primary care physician or other medical care provider by phone or email. Coughs have many common causes, including allergies and conditions that emerge in the aftermath of common colds and the flu. However, coughs spread illnesses that you know about and ones that you may not know about. If you have a cough, consult CDC guidelines(cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, throw used tissues in a lined trash can, immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer).
- If you or members of your household have Coronavirus symptoms – a fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath/difficulty breathing – you should follow the most recent guidancebeing offered by the CDC, supplemented by reliable resources for example the Missouri Department of Healthand the Kansas Department of Health. This guidance may change daily. More regular testing of individuals with these symptoms will likely emerge as tests are made more widely available. Testing to diagnose COVID-19 when medically necessary will be based on CDC guidance. At this time, neither the DC3 Health & Welfare Plan, or any other health insurer, determines who is tested. As the Coronavirus outbreak is a national healthcare crisis, no person requiring a test should be denied one due to lack of insurance coverage. If you are currently eligible under the DC3 Health & Welfare Plan, and meet the criteria for testing (which is determined by medical personnel, not DC3’s Plan), such testing will either be free or be covered with no prior authorization needed, no copays or deductibles.
- We trust employers share our concern about your health, the health of your coworkers, and the health of those for whom they are performing work. If for any reason you believe your employer is not responding appropriately to your personal health concerns, or is not appropriately addressing illness at your place of work, contact your union representative directly, or DC3’s main office, at 816-358-2440.
- DC3 will follow all recommended protocols to keep members and employers informed of any outbreaks of Coronavirus within our industry; however, please do not hesitate to alert us to any instances that concern you. Please also understand that DC3’s ability to address a matter concerning a member’s personal health is strictly limited by federal privacy laws. We cannot and will not respond to questions about an individual member’s health.
- If you are presently experiencing nosymptoms, you should be diligent in your personal efforts – at home and on the job – to prevent the spread of illness. This begins with individually practicing proper cleanliness and health safety according to guidelines provided by the CDC. Secondly, care for yourself and others by wiping down surfaces (tools, counters, door handles, appliances, etc.) as you use them, using hand sanitizer, and practicing appropriate social distance (no handshaking or close talk, using another’s personal devices, etc.). Even if you are healthy, we urge you to follow the demands of governmental and public health authorities concerning the closure of schools, cancellation of events, and any future need to avoid travel.
- The most recent federal guidance advises people to avoid gathering in groups of more than 10. Authorities have closed schools and advised places of business to arrange for staff to work from home if possible. The size of the DC3 staff and meetings regularly conducted within DC3’s headquarters fit the kind of activity the new guidance is intended to address. As such, effective at the end of the business day (4:00pm), Tuesday, March 17, 2020, the DC3 union offices (Kansas City, Topeka and Springfield) and the Benefits Office (Wilson McShane) will be temporarily closed. The DC3JATF(DC3’s apprenticeship school) has closed its facilities to the public.
- These are temporary closures of DC3 facilities to THE PUBLIC only; we will still be actively serving our members, and staffing the office. We are well-prepared to do so during a public health crisis. All phone lines will continue to operate during the facility closings. All effort will be made to see that you are able to speak to a staff member during regular business hours, and emails will be routed to the appropriate personnel to address specific questions and concerns (see below). Our goal will be to take the time and do our very best to completely address the matter or problem a member or employer brings to our attention.
- We are confident that, during this temporary closings, most of our core functions can be administered through various platforms and technology already in place. Benefit claims are mostly processed electronically and our Benefits Office staff will continue to process claims without interruption. DC3 can process dues and employer contributions online. Not all our members have learned how to use these online tools, but they are available, and we can walk members through these processes. Finally, we have developed the capacity to conduct union meetings through video and phone conferencing, and can expand this capacity as needed.
- DC3 will be asking members to report any lay-offs to their Local Union Representatives 12. We will provide updates about the cancelation of any activities and duration of facility closings through text messages, the DC3 Facebook page, and on our website. When practical, we will also send materials by mail.
We hope this message has provided you with useful detail about the challenges posed by the Coronavirus. DC3 cares deeply about its members and understand what the extraordinary situation requires of us. As we work through this time together, please be diligent, cautious, patient, and calm.
Todd Doree, BMST
Update from the JATF
Due to the Covid-19 outbreak across the United States District Council #3 Training Center is postponing all classes scheduled in March. Classes are scheduled to resume on April 20, 2020. Staff members will be available during normal working hours.
HOWEVER – as the Covid-19 situation develops in the coming weeks, further scheduling changes may be announced. We will keep you posted on all new developments and updates on the class rescheduling.
Please see the following resources:
Please contact me with any questions.
Director of Training