2020 NEC Adoption Postponement

2020 National Electrical code adoption has been delayed because the board has received 25 valid requests for a hearing regarding the adoption of the code. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the hearing has been moved from May 4th to Aug 19th, 2020. As of now, all permits, installations, inspections, and examinations will continue to be under the 2017 NEC. At this time, there is no information on when the 2020NEC will come into effect in Minnesota.

Online CE Classes for Journeyman!

ATTENTION: 90 DAY EXTENSION

From the DOLI:  Anyone whose license expires in MARCH, APRIL or MAY 2020 still have to RENEW to avoid late fees.  If you do not have your Continuing Education credits you are given 90 days to get them in after your renewal.  So you have 90 days after your license renewal to get a code class in.

At this point Code Class sizes will be limited.  First come first come first serve.  If you do not call and register you CANNOT JUST SHOW UP.  If you do not need your CE class to renew in the next several months please push back your class to later in the year.

 

If your LICENSE EXPIRES in APRIL or MAY, you can take an online class and get reimbursed for it by submitting the cost and completion certificate to the JATC

3 CLASSES ARE APPROVED FOR REIMBURSEMENT:

1:  Tradesmance.com   16 ceu’s  $288

2:  Pacepdh.com  16 ceu’s  $300

3:  Nfpa.org  16 ceu’s  $99

 

IF YOU DO NOT CALL 507-529-7721 TO REGISTER YOU CANNOT JUST SHOW UP AND EXPECT TO SIT IN AN RECEIVE CREDIT. 

New Grant for Veterans

A new grant is available for veterans or surviving spouses who are negatively impacted by COVID-19 and pertains to financial constraints, such as paying utility bills, rent, mortgage, medical bills, auto repairs, etc. People that qualify could receive a one-time financial relief grant for $1,000. There is no set end date for applying for the grant, as it depends on the length of the peacetime emergency and the availability of the funds. Visit https://mn.gov/mdva/blog/?id=1066-425565 for more detailed information and links for the application.

Latest Update

The latest updated on receiving unemployment insurance for people that are newly applying and the extra 600

What you need to know:

  • The first week for which you can get the additional $600 is the week beginning March 29th.
  • You can request the week of March 29th on or after April 5th.
  • You do not need to do anything to get the additional $600. they will automatically add it to your payment AFTER you request benefits for the week of March 29th (and every week after that you are eligible).
  • If you are receiving your unemployment benefits via direct deposit, the additional amount will show up on your bank statement as a separate transaction as of now, and this could change.
  • You don’t need to tell them you have exhausted your benefits – just continue requesting benefits every week.
  • Once they get instructions from USDOL, they will be able to detect everyone eligible for Extended Benefits and add those benefits to their account.
  • They can then automatically pay you for any weeks you had requested.
  • They will let you know if they need additional information from you.

 

Information I have been given says it may take up to two to three weeks until you get your first payment, April 21st could be how long you could wait, and affect new people applying for benefits as well.

If there are any questions, don’t hesitate to call or email me Justin Pruett 1(507)577-1109 justinp@IBEWlocal343.org

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: https://grow.acorns.com/coronavirus-stimulus-checks-calculator/

– 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 justinp@ibewlocal343.org

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 https://www1.uimn.org/ui_applicant/applicant/login.do 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

JATC ELECTRICAL APPRENTICESHIP INSTRUCTOR NEEDED UPDATED

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.