New York, NY – In early April, it became abundantly clear to Governor Andrew Cuomo that New York State would need to construct several temporary hospitals fast — in order to confront the COVID-19 crisis. Four locations throughout New York City and Long Island where selected for construction. Local 28 Sheet Metal Union members worked on half of them.
Local 28 worked at Stony Brook University in Suffolk County and SUNY Old Westbury in Nassau County. Both of these new field hospitals needed to be completed in under one month and was completed under budget. Each of the hospitals were to house over 1,100 patients.
During this time, new safety protocols were also put in place to help protect workers from the Coronavirus. Those protocols, in fact, paved the way for statewide protocols in construction now in place. They include:
- Temperatures taken to gain entrance to the job site
- Two eight-hour shifts. Job sites sanitized every night
- Masks required on-site
- Social distancing guidelines followed where practicable
- Hand sanitizers and hand washing stations made available throughout the sites
Heavy-duty equipment was required during these difficult projects. On the Westbury job, 50-ton air conditioner units — 34 in all — had to be installed. Six additional units — coming in at 20-tons each — were also needed for the gymnasium tents. There were similar numbers for the Stonybrook project.
Each job had nearly 30 journeypersons working on site. Additionally, there were also draft people sketching the job for all the trades to work off of, as well as shop people that had to fabricate all the ductwork, adding up to another twenty workers for each shop. Unlike other skilled trades, Local 28 designs, fabricates and installs.
Delta Sheet Metal and Heritage Sheet Metal were both able to supply workers with proper Personal Protective Equipment [PPE] for the Stony Brook and Westbury projects, according to the union.
“It was a good thing for the union to be part of this effort,” Local 28 Business Agent Brian Nigro says. “There was a dire need for hospitals. We were proud to be a part of doing this for the patients and healthcare staff.”