May 18, 2020
Union: Safety essential as Mass. construction sites re-open
BOSTON (WHDH) – Work at construction sites can resume immediately under Gov. Charlie Baker’s reopening plan, but union officials say safety precautions need to be upheld for all workers.
Frank Callahan, President of the Mass Building Trades council, says he’s cautiously optimistic about the state’s reopening plan … but would have preferred more protections for construction workers.
“In the instances where it’s either impossible or where you have an employer…that minority of employers that are not complying with [safety regulations], they have the right to refuse that work. “We have that right as union members, but we’re hoping that extends to all workers out there,” Callahan said. “People do want to get back to work, but more important, we want to make sure people get back to work safely.”
John Fish, chairman and CEO of Suffolk Construction, said his company will enforce coronavirus guidelines and protocols and is implementing training and safety programs for its 45 construction projects around the state. He said workers will be back on the job at all of those sites by the end of next week.
“Throughout the last 8 weeks, that’s primarily what we’ve been thinking about, how do we ensure that the worker and the worker’s family feel comfortable that the environment we’re putting that individual back in is safe and going to cause that person to go home at night healthy?” Fish said.