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Construction Deemed An Essential Service During “Shelter in Place” Order

As you know by now, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker issued a statewide “Shelter in Place” order starting TODAY (3-21-20) at 5:00 p.m. through April 7th. The shelter in place directive allows workers who provide “essential services” to provide those services. The Executive Order can be read in its entirety by clicking here. “Essential Infrastructure” services are outlined in Section 9 on page 4, and Section 12 (h), which is provided in paragraph 3 below.

Pursuant to the order, construction is deemed an essential infrastructure exception. Construction projects may continue as long as management and workers comply with social distancing requirements, which include maintaining at least six-foot social distancing from other individuals, washing hands with soap and water for at least twenty seconds as frequently as possible or using hand sanitizer, cover coughs or sneezes (into the sleeve or elbow, not hands), regularly cleaning high-touch surfaces, and not shaking hands. Many construction projects have implemented more stringent infection control measures, and if so, those should continue as well.

Section 12 (h) of the Governor’s Executive Order states the following: “Building and Construction Tradesmen and Tradeswomen, and other trades including but not limited to plumbers, electricians, exterminators, cleaning and janitorial staff for commercial and governmental properties, security staff, operating engineers, HVAC, painting, moving and relocation services, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences, Essential Activities, and Essential Business and Operations;”

A heartfelt thank you to all our tradespeople, contractors and sub-contractors for their tremendous dedication and service in keeping our nation moving forward in these unprecedented and challenging times.

CISCO’s Annual Luncheon – POSTPONED – Rescheduled Date Pending

Due to the Coronavirus and newly issued statewide and City of Chicago guidelines announced by both Governor JB Pritzker and Mayor Lori Lightfoot, CISCO’s Annual Luncheon, which was set for April 24th; will be postponed.  A new date for the event has not been set, but CISCO will make that announcement based on state and City guidelines and CDC recommendations.

The state of Illinois and City of Chicago issued the following statewide guidance:


  • Mandating all large-scale events exceeding 1,000 individuals be canceled for the next 30 days.
  • Encouraging that community events of 250 people or more should be canceled or postponed until May 1. This includes personal and social events. Residents should use good judgment about canceling events in their own communities.
  • For events less than 250 people, residents should closely consider who is likely to attend the event and, if it includes vulnerable populations, strongly consider canceling.
  • All major sporting events with large spectator crowds should be canceled until May 1. This should include school and college events as well as major league sporting events. The governor has spoken with the owners of all the major sports teams in Illinois and they are in full support of these measures to protect the health of their fans and will cancel all games until May 1.

Those who have registered, bought tickets or purchased a sponsorship will maintain their status for the rescheduled event.  The luncheon, planned to feature Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, will be held at the same venue – IBEW Local #134 Hall, 2722 S. Martin Luther King Drive in Chicago.  CISCO will provide updates as details emerge.  For more information, contact CISCO at (630) 472-9411.

CISCO Board Announces Selections for Top 2019 Construction Projects

CISCO’s Board of Directors recently determined which construction projects were winners in six different categories, which included a 7th (Special Mention) award this year.  Among a total of 24 entries, the top choices were:

New Construction – Chicago (+ $20 m): McDonald’s Global Headquarters; Submitted by James McHugh Construction. (Photo above)
New Construction – Suburbs (+ $20 m): Wheeling Town Center; Submitted by William A. Randolph. (Photo above)

New Construction – City/Suburbs (Under $20 m): Aurora Fire Station #7; Submitted by R.C. Wegman. (Photo above)

Infrastructure: 41st Street Pedestrian Bridge over Lake Shore Drive; Submitted by F.H. Paschen (Photo above)
Rehabilitation: Old Chicago Post Office – Interior Lobby; Submitted by BEAR Construction (Photo above)
Residential: One Bennett Park; Submitted by Related Midwest (Photo above)

Special Mention: Old Chicago Post Office – Exterior; Submitted by Masonry Advisory Council (Photos above)

PCA Midwest “Expo/Fall Fest” Draws Big Crowd With Dan Hampton
The Plumbing Contractors Association held its Associate Member Expo/Fall Fest recently and the highlight was retired Chicago Bears Hall of Fame defensive tackle Dan Hampton as keynote speaker.





The event which was held at Harry Carry’s restaurant in Lombard drew more than 125 members.  The goal was to connect as many PCA Midwest and Plumbing Council contractors with PCA Midwest Associate members and industry partners, who had set up booths during the Expo part of the evening.

Hampton had plenty to say as he reminisced about the 1985 Super Bowl winning Bears team, as well as his early days of football in high school and at the University of Arkansas.  He also had poignant anecdotes about teammate Walter Payton and former Bears owner George Halas.

CISCO/Building Trades Draw 200-Plus Participants to St. Paul Construction Expo

Once again teamwork has ruled the day!  Sixteen building trades, a handful of contractors, several exhibiting organizations and even the IBEW Local 134 Solar Panel Truck were on hand at St. Paul Community Development Ministries on Chicago’s south side to offer a Hands-On Construction Expo that drew more than 200 local residents.

During the latter portion of the program, five graduating members of St. Paul’s career readiness program spoke to current students, guests and interested adults about their experiences as apprentices in local union apprenticeship programs.

Below is a small sampling of photos from the event.  To view more pictures, click here.













































Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information Resources

Please use the resources below for the latest information and guidance on COVID-19:

State of Illinois ​Coronavirus (COVID-19) ​​Response Website

Illinois Department of Public Health Coronavirus Updates

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

World Health Organization Latest Updates

United States COVID-19 Interactive Maps

OSHA: COVID-19 Pandemic & Recordkeeping

OSHA Clarifies Coronavirus Reporting Requirements for Employers

OSHA Guidance on Preparing Workplaces

Governor J.B. Pritzker’s COVID-19 Newsroom

For our members and friends in the six-county area that we serve, here are links to each county’s Health Department websites:

Cook Coronavirus Information

DuPage Coronavirus Information

Kane Coronavirus Information

Kendall Coronavirus Information

Lake Coronavirus Information

McHenry Coronavirus Information

CISCO Offices Closed to Visitors

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the building where CISCO’s offices are located is closed and access to visitors is restricted.  The employees of CISCO are working remotely and can be reached via email.

Click here to see the contact information for CISCO staff.

Apprenticeship Opportunities
NOTE: ALL Building Trades’ Apprenticeship Training Centers are CLOSED during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

CISCO Annual Meeting Touches on Theme of Collaboration

With U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) making another surprise visit, more than 260 members and guests heard a message of collaboration –  construction industry leaders and elected officials will continue, both locally and nationally, “to protect workers, and provide developers and end users with the world class construction that they can rely on.”

Executive Director Dan Allen, in explaining CISCO’s decades-long effort to recruit and retain a diverse skilled workforce, quoted President Harry S. Truman – “It is amazing what you can accomplish, if you don’t care who gets the credit.”

Allen, said this mantra enables CISCO to develop numerous partnerships across many organizational lines that include churches, educational entities, elected officials and other groups with union contractors associations and the union building trades.

CISCO Pride in Construction Awards highlighted the program during the 90-minute event.  In addition to the photos below, click here for more pictures.

Below from top to bottom are: 1) The BEAR Construction contingent that accepted the award for top Rehabilitation project for the Old Chicago Post Office; 2) Paula Steiner won the Educator of the Year (posing with Johnetta Ryan and Dan Allen); 3) Mayor Jim Sexton of Evergreen Park accepted the Public Body of the Year for his town (with CISCO’s outgoing Board President Maurice King); and 4) Labor Advocate of the Year Ron Ward of the Illinois Department of Labor (posing with Maurice King and IDOL Director Mike Kleinik).







Local 134 Training Center Hosts Illinois State Apprenticeship Committee Conference

About 130 school counselors and educators attended the recent ISAC Conference held at the IBEW/NECA Local 134 Training Center in Alsip.

The day-long conference featured classroom sessions, followed by Hands-On activities conducted by 13 trades, a working lunch and a panel discussion. In addition, Access United and the Chicago Women in Trades were on hand to provide information to the group.  Below are some pictures from the event as counselors tried out some of the Hands-On activities.  For more photos, click here.

Aurora Area Schools Turn Out For Painter’s Dist. 30 Expo

As part of National Apprenticeship Week, Painters District Council #30 hosted an Apprenticeship Expo last week at its Training Center in Aurora.

The Expo was a huge success as the event was attended by 525 students from 18 area high schools and middle schools, as 14 different building trades provided information and interactive displays to engage the students.

Throughout the Expo, CISCO Executive Director Dan Allen (left photo) provided a 20-minute presentation on the various trades and discussed some basic requirements needed to apply to any of the trades’ apprenticeship programs. The presentations were timed so that all 18 schools could participate. CISCO also had a booth handing out general information about all of the trades’ programs.

The following photos depict some of the activities that occurred during the Expo portion of the event.  To view more photos, click here.











“Right To Work” (For Less) Is WRONG And It Hurts Working Families!

“Right to Work” is a false phrase – a misunderstanding-by-design piece of legislation that is intended to cripple labor-advocating unions but more specifically, harm workers by shrinking workplace wages, reducing and even eliminating benefits, diminishing job site safety, and stripping the ability of workers to collectively improve their workplaces.  To learn more about the devastating effects of Right To Work (for less) legislation, click here.


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