A Letter from the General President:

We are all facing difficult times as the novel coronavirus, and the COVID-19 disease it causes, impacts our economy and, for many, their health. We feel the reverberations as limits are placed on our social and working lives. We have seen large regions tell their citizens to shelter in place and other areas shut down construction projects. Even as we face this adversity, it is important to remember that we will get through this together, as we always have.

The primary concern of the UBC is the health and economic security of our members and their families. We have taken steps to limit the spread of the virus by postponing programs and conferences at the International Training Center. I know all of our areas are having to take action and make arrangements for this current reality. UBC affiliates are communicating with local governments and employers about mitigating the threat COVID-19 is to the health and livelihood of our members.

At the International, the UBC has been in conversations with leaders in Washington, D.C. and Ottawa, Ont. I appreciate the work that Congress and the President did to provide assistance to wage earners in the U.S. who are being hit hard by the economic fallout from this outbreak, including those in the construction industry. Below we have some information and resources that I hope will be useful to you, including information on the federal relief bill.

It is a very fluid situation with developments seemingly every day that change the situation. I pray that you all stay safe, and that you and your family stay healthy, and that through our unity we come out even stronger as a union when this is done.


Douglas J. McCarron
UBC General President

News and Updates:

During these uncertain times, the UBC is committed to providing our members with up-to-date information on COVID-19 and its effects on our community. We will be updating this page with information that impacts the U.S. and Canada at large as it becomes available. For localized information, like when your state or province is relaxing stay-at-home orders, locate your regional council here.


Unemployment Insurance in the U.S.

For U.S. members, we broke down how the coronavirus relief bill impacts access to unemployment insurance. You can check it out here:


Canadian District COVID-19 Scenarios Grid

The Canadian District created a COVID-19 Scenarios Grid to provide members with important, situation-specific information. Check it out here:


Canadian Financial Relief and Public Health Information

Canadian members can check the Federal Government Official Website for up-to-date and reliable financial relief and public health information.

Financial relief:

Public health:

Canadian members can also call 1-800-354-1812 to connect to our COVID-19 response team.


New Online Trainings in ICRA and COVID-19 Preparedness

Eligible UBC members can now use the CITF's Learning Management System to take an online course to be trained in ICRA (Infection Control Risk Assessment). UBC members who are trained provide much needed expertise in this crisis to ensure that proper protocol is followed and proper containment measures are being taken.

Check out the courses "ICRA: Best Practices in Health-Care Construction" and "COVID-19 Preparedness Qualification" here:

You'll need a computer or tablet to take the course, and if you have trouble logging in, reach out to your Local Union to verify your email address.


Impact for U.S. Members of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the CARES Act)

This law will spend $2 trillion from the federal treasury to help Americans get through the current crisis. Here are some details about several of the provisions that may be of interest to UBC members.

  • Direct payments to American workers -- U.S. residents whose adjusted gross income is less than $75,000 or married couples making less than $150,000 will receive $1,200 per adult and $500 per child. Income limits change with number of children, and the amount decreases if you exceed the income limit. The IRS is saying that most people will receive these payments automatically, beginning in the next three weeks. For more information, check here:
  • Unemployment Insurance enhancements -- Laid-off workers will receive an increase of $600 per week in their benefits. This could last for up to four months, but not past July 31, 2020. Through 2020, members will be eligible to receive unemployment for an additional 13 weeks before it is exhausted. Many states have waived the waiting week, and are making other changes that could be helpful. Unemployment Insurance is run by each state, so your situation will depend on where you live. Check here for more information or to look up your state's page:
  • Mortgage Relief -- Borrowers with federally-backed mortgages (FHA, VA) or mortgages purchased by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac would suspend mortgage payments for an initial 180 days (and possibly get a subsequent 180 day extension) without accruing additional fees or interest by attesting they are having financial hardship due to the coronavirus.
  • Penalty waived for access to retirement plans -- This new law temporarily waives the 10% IRS penalty for accessing some retirement plans, including 401Ks and annuity plans. Coronavirus impacted individuals with retirement plan loans due by December 31, 2020 would have an extra year to repay them.
  • REAL ID extension -- The implementation of REAL ID has been pushed back for a full year and will now take effect on October 1, 2021.

For information on other provisions, including small business loans, or more information on the above, read the full summary.


U.S. Members affected by COVID-19 may be entitled to benefits under new law

On March 18, 2020, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act was signed into law in the United States, and it gives new benefits to many workers whose families have been affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

Effective April 1, employees who cannot work or telework are quarantined due to a suspected COVID-19 infection, or because they were in contact with someone who has COVID-19, may be eligible for two weeks of paid sick leave from their employer. They may also be eligible for paid sick leave if they are forced to miss work and cannot telecommute in order to care for someone in their household who is sick, quarantined, or unable to attend school or daycare because it has been closed.

Employees who cannot work or telework and who have been forced to stay home from work in order to care for their minor child whose school or daycare has been closed during this crisis may be eligible for up to 12 weeks of paid Family Medical Leave from their employer.

This law takes effect on April 1, 2020 and applies to leave that is taken after that date. The United States Department of Labor has published guidance to help determine who is eligible for these benefits. Please reference their website More information is available on the DOL Q and A website here:


Click here to read our full summary of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

Analysis of future laws passed with regard to COVID-19 will be added to this page as the details of the laws become available.

Important COVID-19 Information:

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus. Symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, and, in severe cases, difficulty breathing.

How to stay healthy on the job:

As more of our members get back on the job, we know safety measures like keeping 6 feet apart are challenging. But it is important to practice social distancing and protect yourself in other ways like:

  • Wearing personal protective equipment like gloves and face coverings
  • Sanitizing your tools, phone, and anything else you touch frequently
  • Washing your hands frequently with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. If you don't have access to soap and water, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoiding touching your face, especially your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Eating your lunch by yourself
  • Avoiding crowded break areas
  • Not carpooling
  • Taking stairs when possible
  • Limiting interactions by working with the same group of people whenever possible

What to do if you're not feeling well:

  • If you are feeling sick or having any of the symptoms of COVID-19, stay home.
  • If you begin feeling ill at work, talk to your supervisor immediately and ask to go home.
  • If your symptoms are mild, call your primary care physician before going in for an appointment to avoid infecting others.
  • If you are experiencing difficulty breathing, seek medical attention immediately.

How to help the community:

We're all in this together, and it's important that we act with compassion toward one another. Remain calm and help others while taking the suggested precautions. We can all work to keep the most vulnerable members of our communities safe.

Additional Resources: