Brothers and Sisters,

Governor Cuomo’s directive to close all non-essential construction sites is a gamechanger. We anticipate that the situation regarding construction may get worse before it gets better. As I write this, there has been no definitive response to questions that are being raised regarding SCA work and there is much debate on the definition of what is essential Affordable Housing.

The Union cannot maintain its current level of staffing with the office and so many construction projects shut down. Today, making one of the most difficult decisions of my career, I laid off more than half of Local 79’s staff. These cuts include Office Staff, Business Agents and Organizers. We will continue to serve members and in general it will be business as usual – just less of it. I hope with all my heart that this situation turns around quickly and everyone can get back to work, but right now my responsibility is to this organization and I believe these actions are in the best interest of Local 79’s members.

Pursuant to the constitutional variance issued by General President Terry O’Sullivan on March 13, 2020. Local 79 has canceled April’s membership meeting.

The Local will waive re-registration requirements for the quarter ending March 31, 2020. There is no need to re-register on the Out of Work list the first five days in April.

There have been some inquiries regarding monthly dues. Dues are constitutionally mandated and the Local does not have the authority to unilaterally adjust or abolish them. However, I am working with the District Council and I have been in contact with the Regional Office to ask if accommodations can be made. As always, I will keep you posted.

I want you to know that I am also working with the funds to explore options for members to access some of their annuity, should this crisis continue. Our funds have worked hard to protect your investments, and returns for your annuity for 2019 have been posted. I’m happy to tell you that the final calculation was 14.47%.

We stand together in the good times and the bad. That is the definition of a union, and no other union exemplifies this like Local 79. Our union family WILL come out the other side of this stronger and more unified than ever. Solidarity is in our blood.

Stay safe, spend time with your family and keep the faith,

Mike Prohaska