Business Manager's Message
Valentino Ceria, Business Manager/Financial Secretary-Treasurer
We hope you and your family are all safe and taking measures to stay healthy. The most important thing right now is to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus. We need to continue to practice proper hygiene and not risk the health of ourselves and others.
This is why in June, the Union provided personal protective items for our active Local 675 members. Although the items were ordered way in advance we were finally able to receive them for distribution. Each sealed bag contained a cloth mask, KN 95 FDA approved face masks, disposable face masks, disposable latex gloves, and a 2 oz. hand sanitizer. Thanks to our office staff and business agents working together with our contractors, we were able to make the kits available to our membership.
Local 675 supports all of Hawaii’s essential and frontline workers. To assist those affected by the COVID-19 we donated N95 masks to the Hawaii Foodbank workers and volunteers for their food distribution efforts. We were also able to assist financially to the Hawaii Foodbank via the Hawaii Building & Construction Trades Council and the Hawaii State AFL-CIO. The demand for donated food is extremely high right now and the Hawaii Foodbank is there to help those in need in our community including our own union workers.
By order from the City and State as well as recommendation from the United Association, the general membership meetings and island rap sessions for the months of April and May were cancelled. As soon as we move through the summer months we anticipate starting up the monthly meetings again beginning in September. Also a notation that the annual Labor Unity Picnic held at the Waikiki Shell every Labor Day weekend is unfortunately cancelled this year due to the COVID-19.
Even during this time of unprecedented governmentmandated shutdowns, as essential workers we recognize that we need to continue moving our industry forward. We were able to organize three companies to date. APB Construction Group in January, Tabla Mechanical in April and Industrial Fire Sprinklers in May of this year.
As you may also be aware from current events, the funds financially have not escaped the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The resulting fear of the widespread virus caused the U.S. stock market to have the worst drop in March since the 2008 recession. In the course of the coronavirus outbreak, our Pension Fund dipped into an all-time low, as expected. Last year the ratified permanent diversion of the Union’s $.50 per hour work dues towards the Pension Fund along with other changes was made so we could keep the $100 benefit unit for the members. The funds were doing well prior to the pandemic which helped lessen the full impact of the market crash. For diversification purposes, our contractors, as negotiated beginning 2021, will be contributing $.50 per work hour towards the Annuity Fund for our members’ secured income account. Financially, the Health & Welfare, Training, Annuity and Cooperation funds were also impacted but are now on a steady course. The Trustees, both Union and Management will review and make important decisions before the fiscal year-end date of July 31, 2020.
There is hope for all of us together in the same boat. Recently, the experts have noted that there may finally be a glimpse of light at the end of the dark tunnel. There is some uncertainty though around the pace of the recovery from this COVID19-led economic slowdown. But remember, as in the past we will weather the storm together and emerge to once again sail on calm waters. Let’s have faith for better days ahead.
As always, practice safety guidelines, take care of each other and keep informed.