March 20, 2020
Sisters & Brothers,
We hope you and your loved ones are well. This communication is one that we hoped we would never have to send out. We are dealing with the reality of a pandemic and now a Stay at Home Order and the affects they have on our members, their employers, and those who rely on the essential services we provide. Safety is everyone’s number one concern.
We realize many of you have questions and concerns. Some have asked why a communication has not come out sooner. The reality is things have been changing rapidly and if we would have put something out, the information may have changed by the time it reached you.
Rest assured your IBEW 21 Officers and Representatives have been in continuous talks with representatives from our employers. We have been working with them regarding the changes that have been put in place. Your union representatives have also been dealing with problems as they have come up. These are difficult times for everyone and sadly they will likely get worse before they get better.
Conversations are continuing with individual employers regarding updates to guidelines and policies. When they are finalized we will do our best to communicate them to you. When available they will first appear on the ibew21.org homepage. Email and text updates could also be sent.
As many of you have heard, the Governor of Illinois has issued a Stay at Home Order. With this just being announced your IBEW union representatives are now addressing the impacts of the announcement as well as the secondary issues that surround it. We must ask you for your patience.
Many are seeking an understanding of what the Stay at Home Order means. In summary, according to the Governor, many can still go to work, the grocery store, pharmacy and be outside. As he said, “For many of you already taking precautions life will not change much, and efforts are being made to maintain as much normalcy as possible.” Everyone needs to be practicing social distancing.
As we all digest this Order we ask all members to please give your Union representatives the time to work through how the Stay at Home Order will affect our IBEW 21 members.
Please follow the instruction given to you by your employers.
If there is an unreasonable situation contact your IBEW 21 representative.
Almost every IBEW Local 21 member could find themselves in a situation where they may need to assist a person who is suffering from the effects of the Coronavirus. Our members working at 911 Call Centers, nursing homes, corporate call centers, and our thousands of members who come in direct contact with the public are providing essential vital services to those most in need as they deal with COVID-19.
Some of you are giving lifesaving assistance while others are ensuring that medical facilities have the essential internet and communications services needed to care for the ill. Our members are also responsible for providing and maintaining the telecommunication, internet and video services that allow so many other Americans to work from home. Many of you are also providing a window to the outside world for those who are isolated. We are proud of all of you.
Once again IBEW members are proving that when disasters strike we can be counted on to answer the call. We distinguish ourselves from others by understanding that there are times when we must put aside our differences and partner with our employers. Now is one of those times.
This is an unprecedented time in modern history. Some measures may solve problems while others may unknowingly fall short. Escalating tensions between labor and management will not solve the problems. As partners we must work together to find the next best alternative solutions. We all must understand that it is critical that we work together so that we may continue to safely provide essential services to those who are depending on us and whom we depend on as customers who keep our employers in business and us employed.
As the pandemic spreads your IBEW representative and employers will share the latest news with you. The most important things we can do right now is to be prepared for the worst and hope for best. We cannot give into panic and fear. We are all in this together.
More information on the symptoms and how to protect you and your family you can visit the CDC website and our webpage ibew21.org.