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Massachusetts Builders Union Asks Baker To Halt Nonessential Construction

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A labor union representing 75,000 construction workers across Massachusetts is calling on Gov. Charlie Baker to suspend regular building activity through April 30. 

Members of the Massachusetts Building Trade Council Executive Board on Tuesday voted unanimously to approve the resolution, which would, if approved by the governor, still allow emergency and essential work. Those projects are outlined as emergency utility work, mandated building, public health construction, necessary work on transportation networks and labor needed to make residential buildings livable. 

The MBTC resolution comes in the wake of the state's biggest municipalities ordering similar restrictions on construction. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh on March 16 ordered a halt to construction, and nearby Cambridge followed suit with a construction moratorium of its own on March 18. 

“The Council reached this decision after exhaustive consultation with public and private health experts, union contractors, union officials, construction industry partners, training directors and conversations with our members,” MBTC President Francis Callahan wrote in a blog post on the union’s website.

Other states have issued construction moratoriums. Neighboring New York initially allowed construction to continue unabated, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo reversed course on March 27 and deemed most of the state’s construction nonessential

Baker reportedly said Wednesday that construction of office, hotel and commercial projects had stopped, but he noted that the commonwealth has a housing shortage, saying that stopping residential projects “would be a big mistake.”

Bisnow sent an email seeking comment to Baker’s office Thursday afternoon but didn't immediately receive a response.