April 29, 2020
Construction Unions Offer COVID-19 Advice in Spanish
The state’s council of building trades unions is making COVID-19 safety advice available in Spanish as many health care and housing-related construction sites continue to operate outside of Boston, Cambridge, Somerville and Watertown.
The Massachusetts Building Trades Council unveiled a translated version of its COVID-19 resources website Wednesday morning.
“There are many tradesmen and tradeswomen whose primary language is Spanish, and it’s crucial that the same information is available to them as it is to everyone else,” MBTC President Frank Callahan said in a statement. “We want to ensure that everyone who makes a living on a construction site learns how to stay safe and how to protect themselves and their families during this time of uncertainty.”
The Council had previously called for a moratorium on all non-essential statewide construction but MBTC member the North Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters cleared its 13,000 members to return to Massachusetts job sites on April 21 after a two-week work stoppage and safety negotiations with contractors. Council member Painters and Allied Trades District Council 35 said it is working on a project-by-project basis with contractors to ensure safe working conditions on individual job sites.
The council “feels it is critical for workers who do continue laboring on construction sites to have the knowledge needed to protect themselves to the greatest degree possible,” it said in a statment. The global pandemic has disproportionately impacted communities of color, including communities with a high percentage of residents whose primary language is Spanish, such as Chelsea.