Brothers and Sisters,
It goes without saying that the last couple of weeks have been chaotic, stressful, emotional and life changing in every way. COVID-19 has upended our lives and thrust us into a new normal, even if for the time being. If we have not been vocal enough, I want to reiterate that the District Council applauds all of you for your commitment to the union, whether that is your choice to remain home with your family to prevent the spread of this vicious virus or putting on your hard hat each day to build out healthcare facilities and other essential projects to help our city beat this virus. We thank you.
As you know, Governor Cuomo has called for all non-essential construction to shut down. It was a major decision to halt construction in a city where our industry is the lifeline of so many. But these are unprecedented times and with unprecedented times comes hard, thought-out decisions that protect not only one person, but millions of people and thousands of families. The Council is advocating for our members’ safety above all else.
It is our top priority to keep the District Council running through this crisis. With the entire city coming to a standstill and the construction industry being shut down by a government directive, we have had to make some difficult choices. It is with a heavy heart that we have had to furlough/temporarily lay off about half of the District Council staff. This includes administrative staff, as well as half of the Council representatives. Rest assured, the offices will continue to operate as normally as possible. As long as we have members working in the field, we will have staff to service their needs.
The Council has also suspended the services of several non-essential vendors until such a time their expertise is needed. For all continued updates during these troubled times, please check the District Council website (www.nycdistrictcouncil.com) or the Benefit Funds website (www.nyccbf.com).
Finally, we want you to know that we are all in this together. We have faced dark days, but we always rise from those ashes. And this crisis is no different. We will rebuild stronger and more resilient as both individuals and as a union. Never has there been a situation quite like this in our union, in the city, in this nation, or around the world. Stress is normal. Confusion is normal. But, if you ever feel overwhelmed, please reach out to NYC Well, a confidential 24/7 helpline (nyc.gov/nycwell) or the Council’s MEND program at (212) 366-7590 or email MEND@NYCCBF.org.
May you and your family stay safe and healthy. God Bless.
Joseph A. Geiger
To read the original letter, click here.