March 21, 2020…update to Lafarge Shutdown Cautionary Notice. Below is an excerpt from an email statement delivered to Thorcan Management by Lafarge. We understand that a Thorcan higher up was in the same room as the COVID19 positive Lafarge higher up for a short period of time and at a safe distance. The hazard from this contact is relatively low. Please continue to practice self monitoring of your health and contact your health care professional if you begin to show any symptoms. It is important that you practise very careful social distancing, hand washing and take all precautions at home with those you live with. Please take care and again, if you know of older or retired members please contact them to check in and let them know they are not alone. The hall is still operating and we are available to help you navigate these troubling times.
Lafarge Canada received notification from Vancouver Coastal Health March 19th, 2020 regarding our employee who was diagnosed with COVID-19. The VCH-Richmond Public Health has completed a subsequent risk assessment of potential exposure to the employees and clients and have identified a very small group of individuals who have a low risk of exposure.
We have confirmed with Richmond Public Health that it is safe for individuals to return to the workplace so long as they are in good health. We have contacted our employees to advise them of this recent communication and are taking the necessary steps to return them to active service at the plant.
Out of an abundance of caution, Vancouver Coastal Health is asking anyone who might have been in contact with the infected individual to:
· Monitor your health for fever, cough, malaise, runny nose, fatigue, sore throat, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea (until March 27th); and
· Avoid crowded public spaces and places where you cannot easily separate yourself from others if you become ill.
Prevention is the safest way to manage this outbreak. We are encouraging employees to continue to adhere to handwashing, social distancing, and hygiene protocols as recommended by both Health Canada and the World Health Organization.”
This is a caution to all members who have been working at Lafarge Cement Plant Shutdown in Richmond.
According to Local 97, Ironworkers working for RKM have been potentially exposed to the COVID19 Virus through their Supervisory personnel who were in contact with a COVID19 Positive Lafarge manager/executive.
**Anyone working at Lafarge on this recent shut down should self-isolate for 14 days.** +++The latest information on the possible exposure at Lafarge, see top of this post, unless you have symptoms of illness, self isolation is not necessary. If you are on the job make sure all proper precautions are being taken; washing down and disinfection of tables, door handles, tools; safe distances are observed between people, frequent handwashing, try keep your hands from touching your face. +++
Take care to protect your loved ones from possible infection. If you have any symptoms especially fever, dry cough, sore throat and difficulty breathing contact your health care provider. See the information below from the Health Link BC website. Take care, be safe and contact us if you have any questions.
If you know of or are related to a retired member please check in with them from time to time to ensure they are doing well. Take care not to come in close contact but please do keep an eye out for them.
Self-isolation means staying home and limiting your contact with others for 14 days. This helps to lower the chance of spreading the disease because symptoms may take up to 14 days to appear after exposure to COVID-19. During this 14 day incubation period, there is a small chance you can spread germs even though you don’t feel sick. This is why it is important for people at risk of having been exposed to the illness are asked to self-isolate.
To limit contact with others, you should
- Stay home
- Avoid those who have chronic conditions, compromised immune systems and older adults
- Avoid having visitors to your home
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for 20 seconds
- Cover your mouth and nose with your arm when coughing or sneezing
For more information on self-isolation see:
- Public Health Agency of Canada: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): How to isolate at home when you have COVID-19 (PDF 344KB)
Plan ahead and prepare for what you will do if you or a family member becomes sick and needs care.
For more information on being prepared see:
Community Savings Credit Union Steps up for Workers
Construction work can’t be done from home. The BC Building Trades are advocating with the federal and provincial governments to help provide financial relief for construction workers in these extraordinary times. We have also reached out and been working with our partners at Community Savings Credit Union.
Community Savings is offering a special line of credit for workers facing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This means that those facing job losses can have access to an interest free $2,500 line of credit. Due to the current economic situation, the credit union is maintaining a degree of flexibility for applicants in terms of work history and current employment status–you can apply on EI. Community Savings is offering a suite of other tools to those who do their banking there to relieve the pressure folks are facing right now.
Importantly, these offerings are for current or new members of Community Savings only. Workers must join the credit union in order to leverage these options. This is an easy process and although Community Savings has branches throughout B.C., workers do not need to live near a branch in order to sign up; they can apply on the website.
This help is not intended to replace assistance from the government, but we hope it will provide an extra level of support to those in need right now.
For more information:
Lower Mainland: 604-654-2000
The ITA’s position on Training Schools
“The BC Building Trades has been in touch with the Industry Training Authority regarding the advice they are providing ITA funded training providers.
The ITA is in communication with government and other institutions and is following the advice of provincial health authorities. At this time, the ITA is encouraging each trainer to use their own judgement on whether to hold classes next week.
Shelley Gray made it clear in our conversations that public health was the ITAs priority and concerns over funding should not prevent trainers from cancelling classes if you determine it is needed.
We also committed to coordinating information on EI for apprentices. The ITA recently received confirmation that the EI process will be reviewed for apprentices caught mid training. We will provide more information as it becomes available. The ITA was also notified that the Canadian Apprenticeship Loan (CAL) will have extensions put on it as well.”
EI for our Members who are self isolated
The federal government has waived the waiting period for EI for those who are quarantined due to COVID-19. They have also waived the requirement for a DR’s note. Initially, when Paddy Hajdu spoke to the press about this she said that this would apply (1) to those who qualify for EI, and (2) to those who have been ordered to quarantine/self-isolate by a medical professional.
She subsequently acknowledged that due to the serious and evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic they would likely award the medical EI for those in self-isolation at their own election without a DR’s note.
Service Canada has set up a toll free # for those seeking EI for self-isolation: 1-833-381-2725
March 20 2020…Office staff are now self isolating.
March 17 2020 Office Closure…The office and shop will be closed to the public, members and trainees. Staff and officers will be handling business at the office and from their homes. Trainees will be continuing but with online and conference calling. Practical projects will be continued when the current situation with the pandemic has passed. If you need anything please email or call the office or call or text the union cell phone.
March 14 2020…The Union and the TTTA has been informed that the trainee who was being tested for covid 19 as a precaution has tested negative. The Union Office and Training Center will be open Monday as usual for union business and training. Please follow the precautions in the COVID 19 Poster shown below. Keep your distance. Stay home if you feel sick.
March 13 2020…The Local has closed the office to the public, trainees and members until further notice. We are erring on the side of caution to prevent coincidental transmission of the COVID 19 Virus until we are sure that there is no risk to our members and their extended families.
We are all acutely aware of the close quarters our members have to work in with each other and other trades. Below we have uploaded joint statements from the BC Building Trades and the Construction Labour Relations. There is also a poster showing recommended actions to take to avoid exposure to or exposing others to viruses.
BC Building Trades/Construction Labour Relations Statement: COVID 19 Safe practises, preventing transmission and government resources.
BC Building Trades/Construction Labour Relations Dispatch Statement Rules for going to work.
CLRA Statement to CLRA Member Contractors. For your information/attention.
People Who Are Self-Isolating. Office of the Provincial Health Officer.
Lunch Room Trailers
Make sure there is enough room in the lunch room for the whole crew. With 24 workers guidelines suggest 10 square feet per worker. Keep your distance. Follow safe practise rules.
Please keep yourself informed of the latest information at the BC Center for Disease Control Website (click here)… Any questions speak to your job steward or call Geoff directly at 778-847-2472.
7 bricklayers urgently needed at Lafarge for Thorcan. Call or text Geoff at 778-847-2472.
Contact Geoff at 778 847 2472