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March 20th 2020 – COVID-19 Update

Union News

  • The April union meeting has been canceled.
  • For now, all upcoming union events and classes have been cancelled or postponed until further notice. Apprentices should have received notice about arrangements for their classes. Apprentices should monitor their email. All Madison College facilities will remain closed until May 15.
  • Exception: the Local 159 Executive Board meeting cannot be cancelled (per the International Office), and will be held by conference call.
  • Apprenticeship applications are not being taken, for now.
  • Negotiations will continue for all contracts. There will be Inside talks next week. VDV talks have been scheduled.
  • The WEEBF office will be open for phone calls, but not for walk-in visitors, 608.276.9111.
  • Watch for ongoing updates on the Local 159 website and Facebook page.

Office Operations

  • Office operations will continue. The office is not open to visitors. Please try to make dues payments either online, or call the office with a credit card number. If you do conduct any business by US Mail, please allow extra time, do not wait until the last minute.
  • Office staff continue to serve members by phone, and electronically. Please watch ibew159.org and the IBEW 159 Facebook page for updates. There is a video message from Business Manager Sue Blue posted on the 159 Facebook page.
  • Due to COVID-19, job site visits have been restricted, except for emergency situations. But if you have any concerns about a particular job site or situation, please contact Sue Blue, blue@ibew159.org.
  • The more information the Local 159 office has, the better it can serve the members. Please let the office know if your worksite is closed, and/or if you personally are not attending work (regardless of your status (RIF, furlough, whatever)). The goal is to have an idea of how many people and job sites are affected. Please keep in touch with your questions, and with information.
  • Remember, the Local 159 office is closed to visitors
  • Office contacts are listed at the end of this document.

Unemployment

  • If you are furloughed, you CAN apply for Unemployment, https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/uiben/apply/
    For Unemployment hours and other information, https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/uiben/services.htm
    For help using online Unemployment services, or if you are unable to go online call (414) 435-7069, or toll-free (844) 910-3661 during business hours.
  • After applying for Unemployment, if you have any issues with your case, contact Local 159.
  • Unemployment Benefits and COVID-19, https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/covid19/public/ui.htm
  • Governor Evers is working to waive the one-week waiting period for Unemployment, but that has yet to be finalized in the Wisconsin legislature. https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/news/2020/200317-emergencyorder.htm. Contact your assembly representatives to support waiving the one-week waiting period. (Find your legislators at: https://legis.wisconsin.gov/. Enter your address under “Who are my legislators?”)
  • Apprentices, if you apply for Unemployment remember: You will be asked a series of questions, including, “Are you a student?” The correct answer is: NO. You are NOT a student. Even if you (usually) attend work-related classes. If you are an apprentice, trainee, CW/CWR/CE, and you are doing course work for any related classes (PRI, URI, etc.), for Unemployment purposes, you are NOT a student.
  • Keep up with apprenticeship-related obligations. Stay current with your school work and obligations, including tuition and/or course fees.

HR6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act

This week, congress passed HR 6201. See the overview document here.

Electrical License CEUs

It has not been finalized, but it appears likely the DSPS will be postponing the deadline for CEUs, https://dsps.wi.gov/

COVID-19 Resources

Voting and Elections

  • Spring Election and Presidential Primary, Tuesday April 7.
  • South Central Federation of Labor has posted candidate endorsements at www.scfl.org. Jill Karofsky is the labor-friendly candidate running for Wisconsin Supreme Court.
  • March 18 was the last day for online voter registration www.MyVote.WI.gov. You can still register to vote in person at your municipal clerk’s office. If you want an absentee ballot, the last day to request one is officially April 2. But do it as soon as you can. *NOTE – You must be registered to vote to make an online request for an absentee ballot.* Watch for election updates at https://elections.wi.gov/

Misc.

The Income Tax deadline has been extended to July 15. Learn more at https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus

Please share this information with others. Not everyone receives emails, or uses the internet. We will keep you posted.

Office Contacts

  • To sign the book, or access referral papers, talk with Tom Lemens by phone.
  • Referral and bidding will remain accessible online. • The job line will remain operational.
  • To pay dues: pay online at www.ibew159.org, or phone the office 608.255.2989.
  • If you have other questions, please contact the office to discuss best options.

Local 159 Office, 608.255.2989
Local 159 Job Line, 608.255.0169

Casey Healy, Organizer, x111, chealy@ibew159.org

Damon Glenn, Organizer, x112, dglenn@ibew159.org

Ammu Kuricheti, Office Manager/Bookkeeper, x113, akuricheti@ibew159.org

Tom Lemens, Referral, x114, president@ibew159.org

Sue Blue, Business Manager, x115, or blue@ibew159.org

Yalanda Daniels, Office Assistant, x119, ydaniels@ibew159.org

Local 159 web site, ibew159.org

Or check the Local 159 Facebook page (not necessary to belong to Facebook to view posts).

You can also find office contacts at ibew159.org. Click on “Community” up top, and then click on “Officers and Staff” at right side of page.

We will continue to share updates, as they come in. If you have questions about anything, contact one of us, and we’ll help find the answers.

Stay safe, everyone!