March 12, 2020
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
I know there is much uncertainty surrounding the evolving COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak that has now been classified as a global pandemic. Our daily routines are being affected by the cancellation of many events in an effort to limit the spread of the virus. I want each and every member of our IAM family to know that the IAM is taking all necessary action to keep all of us safe, while continuing the important work of our union.
The most important thing each of us can do now is to heed the advice of health officials. Please follow closely follow guidelines and monitor updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The best way to avoid being exposed to this virus is to:
– Clean your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
– Avoid close contact with people who are sick
– Stay home and seek medical care if you are sick
– Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or use the inside of your elbow
– Wear a facemask if you are sick
– Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily
I also encourage you to monitor the IAM Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource Center for more information, specific safety tips for our membership in the healthcare and transportation industries, as well as any updates on changes in IAM operations. Beginning this Saturday, March 14, we have made the decision to suspend programming at the Winpisinger Education and Technology Center for two weeks. We will closely monitor the situation and provide updates on all status changes.
To ensure that everything possible is being done to protect our membership at work, IAM Local Lodge Safety and Health Committees should meet with employers on steps being taken to mitigate the risk of virus transmission. Every employer has the responsibility to do everything necessary to keep its employees safe. Our union has a duty to hold employers responsible to that commitment.
The IAM Grand Lodge is working with elected officials to ensure that sufficient funding is available to respond to the outbreak and that steps are taken to protect jobs in industries that are especially affected by the pandemic.
Lastly, I want our membership to know that we will get through this difficult time together. Throughout our union’s 132-year history, we have always confronted great challenges. Our unity has pulled us through the toughest of times and this situation will be no different.
Let’s be smart, stay safe and continue our march toward dignity and justice for all working people.
Robert Martinez Jr.