Added UI Clarification and Paid Sick Leave

Here is some added information to UI for individuals that can receive these benefits if available for work, but are unemployed or unavailable to work because:

    • the individual’s place of employment is closed as a direct result of COVID-19;
    • the individual is diagnosed with COVID-19, or has symptoms of COVID-19 for which the individual is seeking a diagnosis;
    • a member of the individual’s household has been diagnosed with COVID-19;
    • the individual is providing care for a family member or a member of individual’s household who has been diagnosed with COVID-19;
    • a child or other person in the household for whom the individual has primary caregiving responsibility is unable to attend school or another facility that is closed as a direct result of COVID-19, and such school or facility being open is required for the individual to work;
    • the individual is unable to reach their place of employment because of a quarantine;
    • the individual is unable to reach their place of employment because they have been asked to self-quarantine by a health-care provider;
    • the individual was scheduled to commence employment but is unable to reach the job or no longer has the job because of COVID-19;
    • the individual has become the breadwinner or major support for their household because the head of household has died as a result of COVID-19;
    • the individual has to quit their job as direct result of COVID-19;
    • the individual meets any other, additional criteria established by the Secretary of Labor for unemployment assistance.

Paid Leave Under FFCRA:  The Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA)


These two laws provide paid leave to employees who cannot work for COVID-19-related reasons. Both:


  • Apply to employers with fewer than 500
  • Are effective on April 1, 2020.
  • Do not apply if your employer has closed down before April 1, and only apply while your employer is open for business. If your employer is closed, you may be eligible for unemployment compensation
  • Employers may take a credit against payroll taxes worth 100% of the amount they pay in required benefits (through Dec. 31, 2020).
  • Employers in multiemployer bargaining units have option of satisfying their obligations by paying into a multiemployer benefit plan if the plan provides employees with the required benefits.


Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act

  • Benefits are available to all employees, regardless of length of tenure with the employer
  • Requires employers to pay – for up to 80 hours (pro-rated for part-time):
    • Regular wages, capped at $511/day ($5110 maximum) for employees unable to work because:
      • Employee is subject to a public COVID-19-related quarantine or isolation order;
      • Health care provider has advised employee to self-quarantine; or
      • Employee is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking diagnosis.
    • 2/3 of regular wages, capped at $200/day ($2000 maximum) for employees unable to work because the employee is:
      • Caring for an individual subject to a public quarantine or isolation order or who has been advised to self-quarantine;
      • Caring for a son or daughter if the school or childcare facility is closed or childcare provider is unavailable; or
      • Experiencing similar conditions, as specified by HHS.
      • DOL can provide an exemption for employers with fewer than 50 employees from the childcare provision if complying would jeopardize the employer’s business.
      • DOL can exclude certain healthcare workers and first responders. Employers of healthcare workers and first responders can elect to exclude them as well.


Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act

  • Available to employees who have been employed for 30 days with the employer from which they are requesting the leave.
  • Requires employers to provide 10 days unpaid leave and up to an additional 10 weeks of paid leave to care for son or daughter whose school or childcare facility is closed or childcare provider is unavailable for COVID-19 related reasons.
  • Paid leave is 2/3 of regular wages, capped at $200/day ($10,000 maximum)
  • Employees can elect to use EPSLA leave or accrued vacation, personal, medical or sick leave for the unpaid portion.
  • DOL can provide an exemption for employers with fewer than 50 employees if complying would jeopardize the employer’s business. DOL can exclude certain healthcare workers and first responders.

Covid-19 Stimulus

With the president signing the Covid-19 Stimulus Package on Friday, here are some things that you need to know:

– You do not need to apply for the stimulus check if you fit the criteria to get one. You will receive a check, or have it deposited into your account depending how you received your taxes. The criteria for receiving the full $1,200 check is if you made less than $75,000.  There is a sliding scale from $75,000 to $99,000.

– For example, if you are single and made $85,000 you would receive $700. Here is a link to an online calculator to figure out your personal amount:

– Most payments will take up to 3 weeks and you will not have to pay income taxes on this check.

– Even if you’re already receiving unemployment benefits or you have exhausted your benefits for reasons unrelated to the coronavirus, Minnesota benefits would be extended by 13 weeks and you would also gain the extra $600 weekly benefit from the federal government.  Payments would last for up to four months, covering weeks of unemployment ending July 31.  It’s unclear how long it would take to process claims, especially with Minnesota offices strained by a flood of claims, so please be patient. It is not clear if Minnesota will split the payment into 2 checks or give it in one, but you should get them on a weekly basis.

– The bill would put a temporary, nationwide eviction moratorium in place for any renters whose landlords have mortgages backed or owned by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and other federal entities. This will last for 120 days starting March 27, 2020.  Landlords cannot charge any fees or penalties for nonpayment of rent.  You should contact your personal mortgage lender to see if you are eligible for an extension as benefits may differ from lender to lender.

Please be aware that updates are occurring frequently on both state and federal levels.  If you have any questions or concerns, please call or email me:

Justin Pruett

1(507)577-1109 or

Covid-19 Update Feb 26th

Dear Brothers and Sisters;

Governor Walz announced a Stay at Home executive order 20-20 yesterday requiring Minnesotans to stay at home. All workers that have the capabilities to work from home must do so from March 27 at 11:59 pm to April 10 at 5:00 pm. He also announced executive orders extending the closure of bars, restaurants, and other public accommodations until May 1, 2020, at 5:00 pm. This order does have exemptions for construction work.

The construction industries are considered essential employees. Essential employees should be allowed to travel to and from work without violating the new Stay Home executive order. At this time we are being told you do not need to have an Exempt Worker Verification form with you when traveling to and from work, but that could change at any time and I feel it’s best you have one just in case. If your employer has not given you an Exempt Worker Verification form, below you will find a link where you can download the form, and have your employer fill out. Keep a copy of this in your vehicle in the event you need to show proof of your exemption. Exempt Worker Verification Form.

We at the union hall are also considered essential and plan to handle all the day to day activities as usual. There will be changes until the executive order is lifted. Currently, we have software in place that allows us to connect to all necessary programs and files so we are able to work from home as if we are in the office. So far, we have not had any issues but I’m sure at some point we will find a problem we didn’t foresee. Please bear with us on this as we are going down a path we have never been down. I also ask that you do not come to the union office. We will not be allowing anyone in unless you have an appointment ahead of time. Appointments will be allowed only if we are unable to help you by phone or email. Not only does this protect you, but our staff as well.

The current cancelations are;

  • Awards banquet April 4th, Canceled.
  • All face to face class for the JATC Canceled for the next two class sessions for each class section. As of right now, classes are set to resume on Monday, April 13th. This could change at any time and all apprentices must stay in contact with the JATC for updates.
  • Union meeting scheduled for April 8th, 2020 is now Canceled.
  • The executive board will be taking any action on behalf of the membership.


I also want to remind everyone of the changes to unemployment. If you are laid off, furloughed, if you have a genuine belief that being present would place you in imminent danger of contracting Covid – 19, or who have been quarantined, or advised to self-quarantine, due to possible exposure to Covid -19, or Workers can’t get childcare or other accommodation to take care of school-aged children You are eligible for unemployment. You can go to to start the application process.

We will try to keep you up to date with this ever-changing situation but if you ever have a question don’t hesitate to call.
In Solidarity

Chad Katzung

Business Manager

IBEW Local 343

Health Care Screening Survey from Contractors

Dear Member.

Today we have seen our first general contractor start asking for members to sign a health care screening survey. The question was asked if these surveys are legal and are they allowed to do it? The answer is yes, health care screening surveys are legally acceptable because it is reasonably related to reducing the risk of exposing employees to the COVID-19 virus and protecting workplace health and safety.  I believe we can expect to see the number of contractors, generals, as well as electrical contractors, start to ask these questions. Below are some general guidelines as to what they can ask.


  1. Employers have the right to ask health-related questions of employees that are reasonably related to reducing the risk of exposing employees to the COVID-19 virus and protecting workplace health and safety. For example, this may involve questions about whether the employee has been diagnosed with the virus, whether the employee has experienced symptoms characteristic of the virus, whether the employee has come into close contact with someone with a known COVID-19 diagnosis, and whether the employee has traveled to a place with high rates of exposure (e.g. Iran, South Korea, Italy). Employers can request that employees who pose an unreasonable risk of exposure to the virus take appropriate steps to protect workplace health and safety and the health of the employee, such as not reporting to work and seeking medical assistance. In jobs with high rates of contact with the public, an employer can ask whether the employee has any underlying condition that would make it particularly risky for them to be exposed to COVID-19. If the employee has a medical vulnerability in such a job with high public contact, the Employer may discuss possible reasonable accommodations with the employee such as working remotely (teleworking) or taking time off from work.


  1. Employers cannot pose broad medical questions that are not reasonably related to COVID-19 and that may be construed as inquiring about whether an employee has a disability.Such general questions would be prohibited by the Americans with Disabilities Act. For example, an employer cannot lawfully inquire of the employee if they are “healthy” or if they have any “disease or illness.” The Employer’s questions must be reasonably related to whether an employee has the COVID-19 virus or has been exposed to it, or would face a significant risk from the virus in a high contact job, and cannot be general questions about whether the employee may have a disability.


I also want to reiterate to all members that if you know someone that is sick, their private health issues are just that, they are private, and you should not be discussing it with anyone.  

Again, if you have any questions don’t hesitate to call.

Chad Katzung
In Solidarity

Business Manger

IBEW Local 343


The South Central MN JATC is currently accepting resumes for the position of a full-time day school instructor for the Inside Wireman Apprenticeship Program.  The position will be for the Rochester Training Center.

Instructor Job Posting

Applications must be received before March 31, 2020, to be considered.


Dear Member.

As we see the increase in Corvid-19 cases being reported, and the CDC recommendation social distancing and many hospitals and clinics have started restricting access over COVID-19 concerns.  I want to remind all our members that there is a second option for non-emergency care that is a no-cost option for you.

Recently you should have received a flier introducing you to Teladoc. This program is apart of your health care plan and with Teladoc you are able to contact board-certified doctors 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and it’s covered 100% with no copayments. Unfortunately, due to the coronavirus outbreak, people are experiencing longer than usual wait times. We understand that unexpected wait times can be frustrating, especially when you’re not feeling well. As they work to serve high demand, Teladoc Health is taking the following action:

  • They have updated their phone, web, and App messaging to transparently share that they are experiencing higher than usual call volumes and to provide useful information about COVID‐19 while they wait.
  • For members who are new to using Teladoc, we recommend visiting their website for answers to frequently asked questions at the start. In advance of their first visit, members should also set up their Teladoc account and share their medical history on the app or on our account set up page.
  • For fastest support, we encourage members to make visit requests by mobile App or web rather than by phone. You can download the App on the App Store or Google Play.
  • For those who choose to call Teladoc, they have implemented technology that enables members to request a callback from a service representative to help register, request a visit, or get support rather than waiting on hold.
  • After a visit request is initiated, members are encouraged to be available and ready to promptly answer our callbacks, as requests will be considered canceled after two unanswered callback attempts by a doctor. In unique circumstances where a doctor is unable to connect with the member after at least one callback attempt during a 10-hour period, we will cancel the visit request and communicate that change to the member by email.

Please take advantage of this program if possible. This will limit your exposure, as well as time spent sitting in waiting rooms and is no cost to you. Please click on the links below to learn more.

TDOC Did you know flyer

TD Talk to a Doc FREE

In solidarity,

Chad Katzung

Business Manager

IBEW Local 343



Corvid-19 Update 1

Dear Member.

As you are aware, the situation with the Coronavirus is ever-changing and we are working to get the most current and up to date information to you as it happens. Please bear with us.


  1. We plan to remain fully operational to serve the membership during this time. We are taking every step possible to remain open, but we’ll need your help to remain open and provide the service you demand. As a result of the latest developments and recommendations to reduce the spread of the Coronavirus we ask:
  • If you feel sick do not come out to the Union Hall. If we keep the office staff healthy, we can stay open to help you.
  • Call before coming out to the Union Hall. Most of everything we do; we can help you by phone or email.
  • If you feel sick, do not go to work. We do not need you to spread it.
  • In the event we need to close due to illness, I will be working with our IT team on a contingency plan to set up a remote workforce for the staff to maintain full access to all necessary files and processes.


  1. Continue to watch the news tab on our web site for updates regarding meetings. Current cancelations are
  • Awards banquet April 4th, Canceled.
  • All face to face class for the JATC Canceled for the next two class sessions for each class section. As of right now, classes are set to resume on Monday, April 13th. All apprentices must stay in contact with the JATC for updates.
  • Code Update class in MARCH 21-22, Cancelled
  • Union meeting scheduled for April 8th, 2020 is tentative.


  1. The IBEW International office and the NECA International office has agreed to a National Disease Emergency Response Agreement (NDERA) Click here to read the agreement.


  1. An executive order has been put in place by Gov Tim Waltz modifying the rules to collect unemployment Unemployment Executive Order 20-05
  • Waives the waiting week
  • Waives the requirement to search for work
  • Waives the impact on the employer’s experience rating.
  • Does not extend benefits, YET
  • Applies to unemployment applications submitted after March 1.
  • Applies when:
    • Health professionals say worker can’t work because of COVID
    • Worker has COVID
    • A worker is in a risk category for COVID
    • The employer tells them not to come to work because someone else has COVID or a “communicable disease.”
    • Workers can’t get childcare or other accommodation to take care of school-aged children.
  • It does not apply if the worker chooses not to go to work.

Please note:

  • A worker does not have to be unemployed to collect unemployment benefits. If their hours are dramatically reduced because of COVID, they should still apply for Unemployment and state the reason is due to COVID.
  • MN DEED asks for patience around eligibility determinations and processing of applications.

We understand everyone’s frustration with what is happening, but we will do our best to keep you up to date as things change. Nothing is more important than your health and safety and we are here to help in any way we can. We also need to support each other during these difficult times.

If you have any questions feel free to call or email anytime.

In Solidarity

Chad Katzung

Business Manager

IBEW Local 343 Read more

Possible State Building Code Exemptions from Inspections Clarification Change

Senator Jason Rarrick has carried a bill to add exemptions that would allow the complete replacement of a saver switch and other things, to a completely new one without having to get it inspected. Not only is this a safety concern, but it also would drastically cut down on the amount of work available to our inspectors in rural areas. Jason is an IBEW 110 member and a small business owner of a small electrical contracting business and should know the importance of this work. We are asking our members and inspectors to reach out with their concerns about this bill and how it could affect our members. Also, Senator Michael P. Goggin has added his name as an author to the bill, and he is a senator from southern Minnesota.

See the bill

Senator Jason Rarrick contact info is


Legislative Assistant: Karen Johnson 651-296-0293

Senator Michael P. Goggin contact info is



Legislative Assistant: Matt Wooldridge 651-296-4264

If you have any questions reach out the Justin Pruett email or call 507-577-1109