Brothers and Sisters,

Our top priority is to be here for our members during these uncertain and difficult times. As vaccines roll out, schools begin to open for in-person learning, and our communities slowly go back to “normal,” I encourage everyone not to fall into a trap of a false sense of security. COVID-19 is still a deadly virus. As such, we’ll continue to update this COVID-19 Online Resource Center regularly with the latest information to support you and your family.

The Union Hall, Funds Office, and Training Center continue to be open by appointment only in adherence to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ COVID-19 guidelines. We will remain operational and ready to assist. Our phone lines and emails are open for any questions or concerns you may have during normal business hours of 8 AM to 4 PM, Monday through Friday. Visitors are required to call for assistance. Please note that visitors may receive a temperature check and be required to sign in upon their visit.
 
Additionally, please review the below resources for more information on the state’s re-opening process and safety requirements. We already uphold the top safety standards in the industry. We’re counting on each of you to lead by example and stay safe for the sake of our peers, our families, and our entire community.
 
For over 120 years, we’ve faced our share of challenges and we’ve overcome them time and again. Rest assured, we are equipped to withstand anything. We stand by you, as you do us. And together, we will prevail.
 
In Solidarity,

William D. McLaughlin
Business Manager
Operating Engineers Local 4

Listen to Business Manager McLaughlin’s COVID-19 message:

Contacting Local 4
COVID-19 Vaccines
Return to Work Safely
Online Dues Payment
Paid Leave
COVID-19 Testing
Annuity & Savings Plans
Unemployment Benefits & Tips
Additional Resources for Union Members
Frequently Asked Questions

Contacting Local 4

The Union Hall, Funds Office, and Training Center are open by appointment only in adherence to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ COVID-19 guidelines. We remain operational and ready to assist. Our phone lines and emails are open for any questions or concerns you may have during normal business hours of 8 AM to 4 PM, Monday through Friday. Visitors will be required to call for assistance.

In adherence to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ social distancing guidelines, all Local 4 union meetings and in-person trainings will be canceled until further notice. The International Constitution does not allow for membership meetings to be held by tele-conference or other means besides in-person meetings. All Executive Board meetings and staff meetings are being conducted remotely.

COVID-19 Vaccines

As of Monday, April 19, 2021, ALL residents over the age of 16 will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine. The vaccine is completely free of charge. We strongly encourage all members to sign up for a vaccine appointment as soon as they are able.

If you live in Massachusetts, find a vaccination site near you and schedule an appointment.

If you live in New Hampshire, find a vaccination site near you and schedule an appointment.

If you live in Maine, find a vaccination site near you and schedule an appointment.

By getting your vaccine now, you’ll help protect our communities from this deadly disease. Thank you for doing your part.

Online Dues Payment

We encourage you to pay your dues online. To pay dues online by credit or debit card, please visit: pay.xpress-pay.com/org/E23DD52730A6440

  • Enter your name, registration number, credit card number, and the desired payment amount.
  • Please note that asterisked* fields are required.
  • Your dues will be credited the next business day and your receipt will be sent in accordance with your payment.

Paid Leave

  • We’ve worked with our industry partners to ensure that members who are still on the job, but need to take care of a child or ill family member, are in no way penalized for missing work.
  • Emergency paid sick leave and emergency paid family medical leave have also been passed on the national level. If you or your family member gets sick with COVID-19, they will be guaranteed two weeks of paid sick time, thanks to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. If you have children who need care due to school closures or have been instructed to remain at home due to exposure or symptoms, you may also be eligible for this benefit.
  • For members working in Maine, starting January 1, 2021, the Department of Labor has announced that earned time off will follow union construction workers between employers contracting with the same bargaining unit. This means that if you start with a different contractor next year, you will not have to start over accruing your paid leave.

Health & Welfare Coverage

We know that the coronavirus is a health concern for everyone. We’re here to ensure you and your family have access to uninterrupted care:

  • Coronavirus care will have no out-of-pocket cost. For members and their dependents covered by Blue Cross Blue Shield, we’ve removed copayments, co-insurance, and/or deductibles for all inpatient and outpatient, medically necessary coronavirus testing, counseling, supportive care, and treatment. If you think you need coronavirus testing or care, call your doctor or other healthcare provider. Note: You will still be responsible for your usual out-of-pocket costs for in-person care that is not for coronavirus.
  • New telehealth options. Blue Cross Blue Shield’s WellConnection offers urgent telehealth services for non-emergency medical care, including any coronavirus symptoms you may be experiencing, as well as for behavioral health concerns. These visits are at no cost to you. Access WellConnection here: bit.ly/2JwSD08
  • You will not lose coverage if you are laid off. Members who are out of work and receiving unemployment as a result of the COVID-19 crisis will get 30 hours/week of eligibility credit so that they do not lose coverage for next year as a result of the crisis.
  • Our Modern Assistance Program is here to help you handle the uncertainty and impacts of this outbreak. The impacts of the pandemic have been felt in areas surrounding every aspect of everyday life, whether it be financial, childcare needs, or health concerns.
  • For more information, please visit our Funds website: local4funds.org.

COVID-19 Testing

COVID-19 testing is an important way to protect your family, friends, and community. Testing for COVID-19 is widely available.

You should be tested if you develop any symptoms of COVID-19, even if they are mild, or you are a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Annuity & Savings Plans

In this difficult time, we’re doing everything we can to make sure you and your family have the safety and security you need.

You will continue to get pension credit if you are laid off. Members who are out of work and receiving unemployment as a result of the COVID-19 crisis will get 30 hours/week of Pension credit so that members do not suffer a break in service as a result of the crisis.

You can access an early withdrawal option, if you are out of work and need it. Anyone that is out of work as a result of the COVID-19 crisis and needs quick access to up to $20,000 from their accounts can now withdraw it. The early withdrawal tax penalty is also waived on these COVID-19 distributions.

You can extend your loan payments, if you need to. Anyone with an outstanding loan who is affected by the COVID-19 crisis may extend their loan payments that come due from now until December 31, 2020 for up to one year.

For more information, please visit our Funds website: local4funds.org.

Unemployment Benefits & Tips

General Guidance

  • We’ve successfully lobbied the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the State of Maine to waive the one-week waiting period for unemployment assistance. All members who have been separated from work due to COVID-19 are immediately eligible for benefits. Review the information below, and call or email your Business Representative with questions.
  • We’ve also expanded eligibility for our own benefits:
    • Out-of-work members will still be granted 30 hours/week towards health and pension benefits.
    • If you’ve been laid off as a result of COVID-19, we’ve established a temporary provision to our annuity plan. If you need it, you can now receive a single distribution in less than 15 days after your separation of service.
    • For more information about how to apply and access these benefits, please reach out to the Funds Office at office@local4funds.org.
  • Review this chart to see if you’re eligible for pandemic unemployment assistance benefits: bit.ly/2yqi5SD

For Members Working in Massachusetts

If you are applying for unemployment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, follow these key tips to receive quick and reliable benefits:

  • Submit your application on or after the Monday following your layoff. Your application may be disqualified if you apply for unemployment assistance prior to the Monday after your layoff.
  • Apply online. State-run call centers and offices are closed or operating with limited staffing. The fastest way is to apply online by following these instructions: mass.gov/how-to/apply-for-unemployment-benefits
  • Do NOT enter a “return to work” or “recall” date. Although some public officials have identified plans to re-evaluate suspensions of construction work, this is not a guarantee that work will resume at that time.
  • If you need to reset your password or have trouble accessing your account, use this link: mass.gov/how-to/reset-your-ui-online-password-as-a-claimant

For more information on unemployment insurance (UI) and other available benefits for Massachusetts workers, please review the following guides and resources:

  • Get step-by-step guidance on applying for UI during this time: bit.ly/2XoxBJm
  • Learn more about Unemployment Extended Benefits (EB), which is a federal extension for all eligible UI claimants: bit.ly/2EYDJki

For Members Working in Maine

If you are applying for unemployment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, follow these key tips to receive quick and reliable benefits:

  • Submit your application on or after the Monday following your layoff. Your application may be disqualified if you apply for unemployment assistance prior to the Monday after your layoff.
  • Apply online. State-run call centers and offices are closed or operating with limited staffing. The fastest way is to apply online by following these instructions: www.maine.gov/unemployment/claimants/
  • Do NOT enter a “return to work” or “recall” date. Although some public officials have identified plans to re-evaluate suspensions of construction work, this is not a guarantee that work will resume at that time.

For more information on unemployment insurance (UI) and other available benefits for Maine workers, please review the following guides and resources:

  • Get step-by-step guidance on applying for UI during this time: bit.ly/3lRwN9R
  • Read key details about Governor Mills’ COVID-19 legislation and unemployment benefits here: bit.ly/399oNJE
  • View videos answering commonly asked questions here: bit.ly/33BbVuL

Additional Resources for Union Members

Workers who have lost hours or their job due to COVID-19 may be eligible for SNAP Food Assistance. Find out more information.

Visit the Mass Building Trades Council’s Best Practices page for information on the following:

  • Vaccine distribution, eligibility, and the registration process
  • Special resources for veterans
  • Current COVID-19 restrictions in Massachusetts
  • Free COVID-19 testing

General President Callahan has issued a message to IUOE Members: The health and safety of IUOE members is always our top priority, but it is more important than ever that we provide you with the most current information and resources available. We have pulled together some helpful tools and guidance for IUOE Members that puts the latest health and safety measures front and center.

Additional COVID-19 guidance for union members and families:

For guidance and support in American Sign Language, watch the CDC’s ASL video series on COVID-19. Subjects include:

  • COVID-19 Prevention Tips
  • Symptoms of COVID-19
  • What Older Adults Need to Know about COVID-19
  • What Is My Risk for COVID-19?
  • 10 Things You Can do to Manage COVID-19 at Home

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes! We encourage you to pay your dues online. To make an online payment by credit or debit card, please visit: pay.xpress-pay.com/org/E23DD52730A6440

 

Go to the Massachusetts state unemployment insurance website or Maine state unemployment insurance website and follow their instructions to apply online.

Applying online is the fastest way to get benefits.

For members working in Massachusetts: If you have trouble completing the application online, ask for help by filling out the COVID-19: Department of Unemployment Assistance Contact Request Form. You can apply by telephone by calling 617-626-6800 or 877-626-6800 outside the 617 area code. There are dedicated phone lines for individuals who speak Spanish and Portuguese.

  • For members working in Massachusetts, the maximum number of weeks now is 26 weeks of state UI benefits + 13 weeks federal benefits for a maximum of 39 weeks. You may get fewer weeks of state UI benefits depending on the amount of time you worked and how much you earned before you applied for UI. The number of weeks may continue to increase if the economy gets worse. If you have been unemployed for a few weeks and your employer did not tell you to apply for UI, or you were delayed because it was difficult to apply, you can get UI benefits for the weeks you missed. Be sure to note in the UI Online system when you first became unemployed. If you are still working, but your hours are reduced, you may be able to collect some UI.

If you are a non-citizen with work authorization, you can apply for UI. Getting UI does not count as a public charge. You will have to provide your Social Security Number and your work authorization card.

Massachusetts workers can fill out this form to have the Department of Unemployment Assistance contact you.

Maine workers can contact the Bureau of Unemployment Compensation here.

To be eligible, you must have:

  • Exhausted all rights to regular Unemployment Insurance in Massachusetts
  • Exhausted Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)
  • Wages in the base period (with respect to the regular UI claim that was exhausted) includes one of the following:
    • 20 weeks of full-time covered employment
    • Wages higher than 40 your most recent weekly benefit amount
    • Total wages in the base period equal to or greater than 1.5 the highest quarter
    • Your regular UI benefit ended on or after May 9, 2020.

If you’re not feeling well or have symptoms of acute respiratory illness, it is recommended that you stay home and not come to work until you are free of fever (100.4° F [37.8° C] or greater using an oral thermometer), signs of a fever, and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines (e.g. cough suppressants).

Please report an illness and subsequent absence from work to your contractor, as well as the Union Hall.

Seek medical help if you have a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing. Information on COVID-19 symptoms can be found on the CDC website.

If you are working, please notify your contractor and Business Representative, and stay home.

The best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is by practicing social distancing, even if you are not feeling sick. Please review our previous guidance for details on how to stay healthy and reduce the spread of the virus.

Local 4 staff are available via phone and email for any questions or concerns you might have. Please call us at 508-533-1433 or call your Business Representative.