13,000 Carpenters Refuse to Work in Massachusetts

Workers march on Workers Memorial Day in 2016 (Sheetmetal Workers Union)

With the Trump Administration blocking OSHA from issuing regulations to protect workers from COVID-19, workers across the United States have instead been subject to an uneven set of workplace safety rules during COVID-19.  

In Massachusettes, Republican Governor Charlie Baker has refused pleas from organized labor to shut down construction sites across the state. 

“In recent days as the number of COVID-19 confirmed cases and deaths has dramatically increased, it has become apparent that working on construction sites in Massachusetts is abnormally dangerous, and that continuing to work on construction sites poses an immediate threat of harm to the health and safety of my members and the public,” wrote North Atlantic Council of Carpenters Executive Secretary-Treasurer Thomas J. Flynn in a letter to his 13,000 members 

Under union rules, workers that cross the picket line will be unable to work as members of the union; meaning that the vast majority of the union’s 13,000 carpenters will likely refuse to work.

The strike is part of a growing strike wave that has seen large scale wildcat strikes happening in cities across the United States. 

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About the Author

Mike Elk
Mike Elk is an Emmy-nominated labor reporter who covered everything from Lula & the Brazilian labor movement to major league baseball. He spent years covering union organizing in the South for The Guardian and was labeled by the New York Times as an "abrasive gadfly" for exposing within the labor movement. Raised in a UE union family in Pittsburgh, Elk was illegally for union organizing at Politico in 2015 and used his NLRB settlement to start the crowd-funded Payday Report. He lives in his hometown of Pittsburgh and is fluent in both Pittsburghese and Portuguese, which he learned when attending journalism school at PUC-Rio de Janerio. Email: [email protected]

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