The following statement was sent to Governor Gretchen Whitmer today, following a majority vote of the MITA Board of Directors:
March 27, 2020
Dear Governor Whitmer,
Earlier this morning, the MITA Board of Directors passed a motion by majority vote stating that “MITA should use the full influence that it possesses to request that the Governor deem all construction field operations throughout the state as non-essential so that employees can stay home, stay safe and contractors can be protected from damages and penalties.”
At this time, industry leaders feel that it is important to reduce the anxiety and concerns of their employees by putting their safety and well-being first. Rather than having many non-essential construction projects continuing to operate, we recognize the importance of having most employees stay at home. We must also do our part to mitigate the spread of COVID -19 and help reduce the pressures on the medical and service professionals working hard on the front lines dealing with the worst of this crisis.
In addition to minimizing the spread of the disease, the MITA Board of Directors feels that the industry should not be diminishing the supply of scarce and necessary medical equipment like N95 masks, gloves and hand sanitizers, when hospitals and the rest of the medical community are running into severe shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE). We have actually encouraged all MITA members who have excess PPE to donate these goods to local hospitals or other healthcare facilities if they can.
The MITA Board resolution recognizes that most basic maintenance and construction activities during this time are non-essential. But we also recognize that some construction may continue to be considered critical and thus, will need to stay active. However, we need your administration’s guidance on determining that specific list of essential type projects. The industry will also need time to close down projects in a safe and effective manner once a determination is made.
The motion passed by the MITA Board was strategic and purposeful in its wording in that “construction field operations” be deemed non-essential, and includes ALL construction, not just public works construction.
The resolution also recognizes that contractors should be protected from damages and penalties while trying to be socially responsible. We are hopeful that you will direct all agencies to recognize the industry’s contractual rights during this difficult time, and be flexible with schedules as we maneuver through these unprecedented challenges.
This Board action, while a very difficult decision, will help protect employees and their loved ones, but will also help to protect everyone else trying to stay safe from the virus’ spread. Doing our part to minimize the spread of COVID-19 now will ultimately help us move the state forward faster when the time comes. Industry representatives from across the state stand together in supporting your “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Executive Order for all non-essential workers.
As always, please do not hesitate to contact me with questions or concerns. I look forward to hearing back from you as soon as possible.
Executive Vice President/Secretary