Construction Unions Concerned About Reopening Protections
June 8, 2020
The umbrella group for the state’s largest construction unions flagged concerns that the Baker administration’s phased reopening plan does not do enough to ensure workers have access to personal protective equipment and safe worksites.
In a recent letter to the governor, the Massachusetts Building Trade Council warned that industry guidance does not impose the same zero-tolerance policy on workers reporting while sick as it does on employers, calling for “similarly forceful language and emphasis.” The council also said the guidance documents do not explicitly outline workers’ rights to refuse unsafe work when access to personal protective equipment or safety protocols are not provided.
“Without such protections for their right to a safe workplace, I can guarantee that many workers will be forced to make the unconscionable choice between the health and safety of themselves and their families and their economic survival,” Francis Callahan, the group’s president, wrote.
As reopening continues, Callahan urged the administration to change guidance so that employers are required to provide face coverings and so that officials track infection data at a more detailed industry level.