Painters District Council No. 30 has developed guidance regarding the Coronavirus/COVID-19 crisis and the operations of PDC 30 and its affiliated benefit and training funds during the crisis. We ask that you read this completely and carefully, and make others aware of it through discussions within your workplaces and households.
PDC 30 and its affiliated benefit and training funds administer core resources and assets made possible by the work of PDC 30 members and signatory employers. PDC 30 influences the work members do to earn their incomes, the way members receive their healthcare and save for their retirement, and the training that makes it possible for members and employers to perform their work. As such, we have a special responsibility to consider carefully the threats posed by the Coronavirus. All signs point to this public health crisis emerging in the short term as a very serious, once-in-a-generation disruption to our way of life, with lasting negative consequences. The PDC 30 organization is committed to remaining available and accessible to you throughout this public health crisis. Please consider the following essential information:
1. The 2019 Coronavirus, or COVID-19, causes fever, cough, and shortness of breath. According to the Centers for Disease Control, most people will be able to recover from COVID-19 at home; but, some people are at higher risk of getting very sick from this illness, including older adults, and people who have serious chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease. There is no vaccine to prevent Coronavirus. The best way for individuals to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus. If you wish to consider additional general information about Coronavirus, you can read more at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (useful information about people at risk for serious illness from COVID-19 and preparing for COVID-19 and mental health and coping during COVID-19 can be found on the CDC webpage). The Kane County Health Department and the Illinois Department of Public Health also offer useful information.
2. You will need to have supplies on hand so that you are prepared to stay at home for a period of time. This may include contacting your healthcare provider to ask about obtaining extra necessary medications to have on hand in case there is an outbreak of COVID-19 in your community; being sure you have over-the-counter medicines and medical supplies to treat fever and other symptoms; and having enough household items and groceries on hand if you need to stay home for a prolonged period of time.
3. The single most important action we all must take is to address any signs of illness that might signal Coronavirus infection. If you believe you might have a fever, take your temperature. If you have a fever, do not go to work. Contact your employer, monitor your symptoms, and contact your primary care physician or other medical care provider by phone or email. Coughs have many common causes, including allergies and conditions that emerge in the aftermath of common colds and the flu. However, coughs spread illnesses that you know about and ones that you may not know about. If you have a cough, consult CDC guidelines (cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, throw used tissues in a lined trash can, immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer).
4. If you or members of your household have Coronavirus symptoms – a fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath/difficulty breathing – you should follow the most recent guidance being offered by the CDC, supplemented by reliable resources (for example, the Kane County Health Department and the Illinois Department of Public Health). This guidance may change daily. More regular testing of individuals with these symptoms will likely emerge as tests are made more widely available. Testing to diagnose COVID-19 when medically necessary will be based on CDC guidance. At this time, neither the PDC 30 Health & Welfare Plan, or any other health insurer, determines who is tested. As the Coronavirus outbreak is a national healthcare crisis, no person requiring a test should be denied one due to lack of insurance coverage. If you are currently eligible under the PDC 30 Health & Welfare Plan, and meet the criteria for testing (which is determined by medical personnel, not PDC 30’s Plan), such testing will either be free or be covered with no prior authorization needed, no copays or deductibles.
5. We trust employers share our concern about your health, the health of your coworkers, and the health of those for whom they are performing work. If for any reason you believe your employer is not responding appropriately to your personal health concerns, or is not appropriately addressing illness at your place of work, contact your union representative directly, or PDC 30’s main office, at 630-377-2120.
6. PDC 30 will follow all recommended protocols to keep members and employers informed of any outbreaks of Coronavirus within our industry; however, please do not hesitate to alert us to any instances that concern you. Please also understand that PDC 30’s ability to address a matter concerning a member’s personal health is strictly limited by federal privacy laws. We cannot and will not respond to questions about an individual member’s health.
7. If you are presently experiencing no symptoms, you should be diligent in your personal efforts – at home and on the job – to prevent the spread of illness. This begins with individually practicing proper cleanliness and health safety according to guidelines provided by the CDC. Secondly, care for yourself and others by wiping down surfaces (tools, counters, door handles, appliances, etc.) as you use them, using hand sanitizer, and practicing appropriate social distance (no handshaking or close talk, using another’s personal devices, etc.). Even if you are healthy, we urge you to follow the demands of governmental and public health authorities concerning the closure of schools, cancellation of events, and any future need to avoid travel.
8. The most recent federal guidance advises people to avoid gathering in groups of more than 10. Authorities have closed schools and advised places of business to arrange for staff to work from home if possible. The size of the PDC 30 staff and meetings regularly conducted within PDC 30’s headquarters fit the kind of activity the new guidance is intended to address. As such, effective at the end of the business day (4:30pm), Tuesday, March 17, 2020, the PDC 30 union offices (Aurora, Morton, Rockford) and the Benefits Office (Aurora) will be temporarily closed. The NCIFTI (PDC 30’s apprenticeship school) will close its facilities to the public on Wednesday, March 18, 2020, but will remain open to members scheduled to attend training through Saturday, March 21, 2020 (all other scheduled training will be cancelled until further notice). Apprentices scheduled for make-up classes will be notified of these cancellations. The continuation of NCIFTI activity will be modified to carefully comply with social distancing guidance.
9. These are temporary closures of PDC 30 facilities only; we will still be actively serving our members, and we are well-prepared to do so during a public health crisis. All phone lines will continue to operate during the facility closings. All effort will be made to see that you are able to speak to a staff member during regular business hours, and emails will be routed to the appropriate personnel to address specific questions and concerns (see below). Our goal will be to take the time and do our very best to completely address the matter or problem a member or employer brings to our attention.
10. We are confident that, during this temporary closings, most of our core functions can be administered through various platforms and technology already in place. Benefit claims are mostly processed electronically and our Benefits Office staff will continue to process claims without interruption. Eligible members can file claims for reimbursements under the Member Reimbursement Account (MRA) and/or the Family Supplemental Benefit (FSB) plan through the member portal at www.pdc30.com (if you don’t already have them, call the Benefits Office for your username and password). PDC 30 can process dues and employer contributions online. Not all our members have learned how to use these online tools, but they are available, and we can walk members through these processes. Finally, we have developed the capacity to conduct union meetings through video and phone conferencing, and can expand this capacity as needed.
11. PDC 30 will be asking members to report any lay-offs to their Local Union Representatives and to use the online Out-of-Work List at www.pdc30.com (a link to the list is on the homepage; you can also reach it by logging in; contact PDC 30 at 630-377-2120 for username and password if you do not already have it). When you answer “Who was your last employer?,” please also include the average number of hours you worked per week in the last month for this employer. To connect with your Local Union Representative, messages may be sent through the directory (under “Locals”) at www.pdc30.com, or contact the District Council at 630-377-2120.
12. We will provide updates about the cancelation of any activities and duration of facility closings through text messages, the PDC 30 Facebook page, and on www.pdc30.com. When practical, we will also send materials by mail.
We hope this message has provided you with useful detail about the challenges posed by the Coronavirus. PDC 30 cares deeply about its members and understand what the extraordinary situation requires of us. As we work through this time together, please be diligent, cautious, patient, and calm.