The withdrawal recognized the month of May as Mental Health Awareness Month. Flatiron halted construction for an hour as workers learned to recognize the signs and symptoms of substance abuse and mental health disorders, including suicidal ideation, which construction workers are disproportionately likely to suffer from. (California AGC photo)
On Monday, May 16, Associated General Contractors of California, along with Flatiron Construction, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), the Southern California District Council of Laborers of the Labourers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA!), and the County of Orange Transport Authority (OCTA) held a mental health awareness stand and called on the construction industry as a whole to recognize the importance of mental health to the safety and well-being of workers .
“These unprecedented times have heightened awareness of the importance of mental health in the home – and now AGC of California and the construction industry can play a vital role in elevating the conversation about the importance of mental health. mental health in the workplace,” said Peter Tateishi, chief executive officer of the AGC of California. “We want every person on every job site to feel both physically and emotionally supported. Safety and mental health go hand in hand – and we are stepping down today to recognize there is help for those who are hurting.”
The pullout, which took place at Flatiron’s I-5 Oso Parkway project, recognizes May as Mental Health Awareness Month. Flatiron halted construction for an hour as workers learned to recognize the signs and symptoms of substance abuse and mental health disorders, including suicidal ideation, which construction workers are disproportionately likely to suffer from.
“We must foster a work environment in which we are able to recognize when co-workers are experiencing anxiety, stress, depression or other mental health issues,” said Dale Nelson, senior vice president of Flatiron. “We need confidence, compassion and strength to respond appropriately and quickly. Let’s take this opportunity to remind ourselves to give our best at work every day and encourage our colleagues to do the same.”
AGC of California has developed a comprehensive toolkit and tutorial, available online, for construction employers to educate all employees on the importance of mental health. The free toolkit includes talking points to encourage any employee to seek help if they are struggling with issues related to substance abuse, suicidal ideation, depression and other mental health issues. It is also designed to help employers identify and communicate support resources (such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255) and company-specific plans, such as assistance programs. to employees.
“The Orange County Transportation Authority could not succeed without the tremendous dedication of the men and women who lace up their boots and work hard every day to improve our streets, our highways and our entire transportation system, enabling our residents, workers and visitors travel safely,” said Darrell E. Johnson, OCTA’s Chief Executive Officer. “The well-being of construction workers is of critical importance, and I encourage them to focus on their health – mental and physical – and to take advantage of all available resources. To these workers: We have your back and want to see you stay healthy and strong.”
California’s AGC hopes the resignation will inspire other construction companies to initiate their own mental health awareness resignations. AGC of California’s toolkit includes suggestions for how companies can organize their own successful withdrawals to support employees in distress.
“The next step is to bridge the gap between raising awareness of the issue and starting conversations to develop interventions, programs and resources that help those affected,” said Peter Santillan, secretary-treasurer of the Southern California District Council. of Laborers of the Laborers’ International. Union of North America (LiUNA!). “It makes sense that LIUNA and its signatory contractors are building on these opportunities to promote the mental health and wellbeing of workers across the construction industry. It is encouraging to see a cultural shift so positive in how mental health is finally being addressed in the industry.”
About the Southern California District Workers Council, LiUNA!
The Southern California District Council of Laborers is a chartered district council of the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA). The district council has 12 affiliated locals. The objectives of the District Council are to unite the local unions within its jurisdiction in order to advance the economic and other interests of the members and to seek continuous improvements in the terms of collective agreements.
LiUNA! its members are at the forefront of the construction industry, a sector that employs 12 million workers and produces 5% of the country’s economic output. LiUNA! is also one of the most diverse and effective unions representing public service employees. Half a million people, LiUNA! members are united by collective agreements that help them earn a salary to support their families, good benefits and the possibility of advancement and a better life.