Covid-19 message to the membership
IAM District 98 Standing For You Against COVID-19
Dear Brothers and Sisters:
These are difficult and stressful times as we struggle to prevail in the face of a global pandemic,
the likes of which this nation has not seen since 1918. More than ever before, we must stand
together as a Union—to make sure that our Brothers and Sisters on the front line are safe, to
ensure that you receive the economic assistance and benefits that you need for your families to
survive, and to make sure that we all get safely back to work as soon as possible.
Every day, the Business Agents and Staff of District 98 are at work protecting our Brothers and
Sisters throughout the State, in every shop. We have investigated safety conditions in every
workplace where members have been working, to monitor Company safety practices and
compliance with Governor Wolf’s orders, and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control
(CDC) and the Commonwealth Department of Health. We have surveyed management
practices, and repeatedly communicated with companies in order to improve safety practices and
protections. Our members on the front lines are working in the face of a deadly foe, and we are
there 24/7 to make sure that they are as safe as possible. If there is an unsafe working
condition in your shop, notify your shop steward or committee person immediately.
We have also attempted to negotiate an increase in your wages and benefits during this hard
time, in recognition of the sacrifices of members who continue to report to work every day.
Unfortunately, not all Companies were receptive to these proposals. While our emphasis must
and continues to be safety first, we have worked to improve wages and other working conditions
to the maximum extent wherever possible.
District 98 is completely committed to helping you get the federal and state benefits that you are
entitled to, so you and your families can make it through the economic stresses of this COVID19
crisis. Every day we receive calls from throughout the State about federal benefits,
unemployment compensation, and workers compensation. With the assistance of our
International, the Eastern Territory and our attorneys, we have become familiar with the many
government orders and legislative acts (such as the federal FFCRA and Cares Act, and extensive
regulations) that provide working Americans with a safety net to get through this crisis.
COVID-19 is a fierce and powerful virus, and the information available seems to change every
day. There is a lot of medical and public health guidance out there now about the virus,
communicability, health effects and safety practices. Much of the guidance that we have
received seems to shift and change, as the virus changes and new information is constantly discovered. District 98 is working hard to keep on top of these developments and stay in touch
with your Local Lodges and shops to maintain safe conditions.
We understand everyone is concerned about their safety at work in the face of this deadly virus.
Because we cannot see the enemy, and fear of the unknown is very powerful. IAM and District
98 continue to do everything we can to follow developments in laws and public health guidance,
make sure your Company is at least following CDC guidelines—and we are consistently
demanding that they do more. Most Companies have been very receptive to our feedback, and
they want to do the right thing: everyone is rowing in the same boat, and your safety truly is their
safety. Other companies are only doing what they are absolutely required to do, and sometimes it
is a struggle to get them to even follow through at the minimal level. We will not stop fighting
for your safety, and District 98 is there every day.
The weeks ahead will pose new challenges, as the State reopens, and we are called back to work.
We will face these challenges together, because the COVID19 crisis is far from over. Until there
is a cure or a vaccine, the public health crisis continues– and so do we. Work practices must be
reengineered, and personal protective equipment (PPE) must be available. District 98 is already
fielding calls every day, as members struggle to balance the challenges of children at home,
elderly parents, people in your household with serious medical conditions that place them at high
risk, and your own medical conditions. These are difficult and stressful issues, that concern your
economic well-being, your job security, yours and your family’s health, job security, and legal
issues. District 98 is, and will continue to be, there for you to work through these issues.
In the meantime, we urge you to follow safe practices, at home and at work. It is well
established that the COVID19 virus is primarily transmitted through the eyes, nose and mouth.
We know that the virus is surrounded by a lipid envelope that can be destroyed by plain old soap
and water, if you wash for a long enough period. And we know that COVID19 is an unseen
enemy: a huge number of people with COVID19 are non-symptomatic or pre-symptomatic
(perhaps as high as 50%). By the time someone has symptoms, they have been shedding the
virus for days, even weeks—and a lot of carriers never get symptoms.
What you can do to protect yourself and your family is follow safe practices– at work, at home
and in public:
✓ Wear masks or facial coverings in public
✓ Wear PPE at work
✓ Disinfect surfaces frequently—like doorknobs, the mailbox, counters, etc.
✓ Try not to touch your face with your hand
✓ Wash your hands for 20 seconds—frequently, using a lot of soap
✓ Socially distance yourself 6’ or more from other people as much as possible
We need to do our best to keep our loved ones and each other safe!
In closing, you will find some websites and information posted below that will assist and inform
you, including several memos from our law firm (Willig, Williams & Davidson) that describes
your legal rights. Stay safe and healthy, and we will be on the job for you!
Below are links you may find helpful.
IAM”s Coronavirus Resource Center: https://www.goiam.org/news/iam-coronavirus-covid-19-resource-center/
Pennsylvania Governor’s orders: https://www.pa.gov/guides/responding-to-covid-19/
Pennsylvania Department of Health orders and guidance: https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/coronavirus/Pages/Coronavirus.aspx
Centers for Disease Control COVID19 guidelines: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
Willig, Williams & Davidson Law Firm information:
Disabilities and COVID19: https://www.wwdlaw.com/the-americans-with-disabilities-act-and-the-rehab-act-during-covid-19/
Unemployment Compensation and COVID19: https://www.wwdlaw.com/unemployment-insurance-in-the-wake-of-covid-19/
Workers Compensation and COVID19: https://www.wwdlaw.com/covid-19-and-workers-compensation-benefits/
FFCRA and Health Care Benefits: https://www.wwdlaw.com/health-benefits-and-the-families-first-coronavirus-response-act/
Affordable Care Act Health Insurance: