Dear Brothers and Sisters;
With Labor Day upon us, I believe this is a good time to take stock on where we are as a Council, given the unprecedented times we are all navigating at home and on the jobsite.
Understandably, our membership and man hours have taken a hit these last five months. As of July, we have 7000 members, just a little below our numbers from this time last year. Man hours are also down - 14% for the first 5 months of 2020 compared to the same time span in 2019. Some industries, like our trade show carpenters, are taking a harder hit than others.
But our Council is fueled by a strong, dedicated, passionate staff who are working tirelessly to make sure we come out of this challenging season stronger than ever. In fact, their latest successes are creating a healthy pipeline of work that will propel us into an excellent 2021.
- Our solar program scored a great victory in Texas for Blattner Energy. We installed 709,000 panels over 1,300 acres ahead of schedule, with zero issues at startup! This project enabled us to sign another agreement with Blattner for three more projects.
- Our industrial program is organizing and recruiting heavily in Arkansas and recently won a contract for workers at West Fraser in Leola.
- Our staff did an outstanding job in signing Tri-State General Contracting Group as a new signatory employer. This partnership will produce multiple opportunities in the near future.
- PCI is all-in with the Central South Carpenters. We are partnering with PCI in recruitment and advertising efforts, and we are teaming to pursue work in Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi.
- Our staff continues to fight to win additional projects, such as the University of Texas stadium, A 44-floor building in Austin, the Omni Hotel, Harrah’s and Isle of Capri casinos in Louisiana and the Biloxi casino in Mississippi.
Our training program continues to operate efficiently while enforcing all safety guidelines. I am proud to report that our journeyman upgrade training has increased by 26% in the first six months of 2020, compared to the first six months of 2019. Thanks to you who are keeping your skills sharp during this pandemic. I am also happy to report that our training facilities continue to evolve as training advancements surface. For instance, we already have new centers up and running in New Orleans and Houston. The Amarillo facility renovation is nearly complete, and the new Russellville Training center is in the process of being built.
Our Council delegates also just completed participating in the first-ever virtual UBC General Convention. This historic event succeeded in witnessing participation from all regional councils throughout North America via simulcasting. I am proud of the representation our delegates provided, via committees, feature photos and videos, and in choosing to re-elect the Doug McCarron slate to another five years of solid leadership for our Brotherhood. We especially congratulate our own Dennis Donahou, a native of Arkansas, in his re-election as the Southern District Vice President.
Sadly, we’ve lost several members to the coronavirus. Your health is our top priority, so please follow any guideline you are asked to observe. Now more than ever we must show our true union carpenter grit by staying safe and productive in the midst of the various restrictions, rules, and guidelines we are asking you to work under. Thank you for your diligence.
To help our members who have experienced hardship as a result of the pandemic, our Relief Fund is available to you
. So far, we have distributed more than $10,000 to 210 CSCRC members, with about 200 more applications in progress. The Relief Fund
is accepting applications for members in good standing to receive a $50 gift card. Members can also apply for a one-time withdraw from their retirement fund, without penalty, if he or she has been affected by COVID-19. If eligible, you can withdraw up to $10,000 from your account. The health fund and hour banks are also making it easier to keep your coverage if you have been affected by the coronavirus. The Fund will add hours to a participant’s Hour Bank if a participant has less than a full hour bank. He or she will be credited the number of hours that qualifies him or her for a full month of coverage.
We also operate a Coronavirus Resource Center
, accessible right on the top of our website home page. The Center offers information about the relief opportunities and carries the latest updates on items that can help you navigate through this crisis.
Stay positive in these challenging times, because when things do return to normal – and they will – we will come out of this stronger than ever. I promise you that. On behalf of the officers and staff of the Central South Carpenters, I wish you and your family a peaceful, blessed, safe Labor Day holiday.
Yours in solidarity,
Jason B. Engels, EST