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Chicagoland's Unionized Electrical Industry Steps Up Efforts to Support Community During COVID-19 Outbreak

CHICAGO, April 2, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- As the Chicago metro area mounts an increasingly aggressive response to contain the spread of COVID-19 and mitigate its effect on the region, the local unionized electrical industry has stepped up its efforts to ensure the uninterrupted delivery of critical services that support the community, Powering Chicago announced today.

Powering Chicago Logo (PRNewsfoto/Powering Chicago)

In recent weeks, members of IBEW Local 134 and the Electrical Contractors' Association of City of Chicago (ECA) have powered the rapid expansion of medical facilities throughout Cook County, maintained critical electrical infrastructure needed to treat COVID-19 patients at existing facilities, provided available N95 masks to hospital staff and supported an area nonprofit heavily impacted by the outbreak of the virus. With the number of COVID-19 cases continuing to rise in Chicagoland, much of this work is ongoing.  

In Elgin and Melrose Park, Continental Electrical Construction Company and Gurtz Electric Co. are working closely with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to reopen Sherman Hospital and Westlake Hospital, respectively. Sherman Hospital has been vacant for 11 years, while Westlake Hospital was shuttered last summer. At McCormick Place in Chicago, Powering Chicago electricians are also working with the Corps of Engineers to convert the facility for use as a field hospital. Once at full capacity, McCormick Place is expected to provide 3,000 beds for COVID-19 patients who do not require intensive care.

"Throughout the City of Chicago and suburban Cook County, our members are providing critical services that are making it possible to quickly adapt existing venues and build new facilities that are essential to Chicagoland's ability to end the COVID-19 outbreak," said Powering Chicago Director Elbert Walters. "At a time like this, every second counts, and the unionized electrical industry will continue to provide whatever support is needed at a moment's notice to help the communities where we work and live get through this crisis and emerge ready to thrive again."

In Palos Heights, IL, Sharlen Electric recently powered a new COVID-19 overflow facility at Palos Hospital, installing lighting, voice/data infrastructure, high-efficiency particulate absorbing (HEPA) units and a nurse call system during a one-week period. Sharlen also installed additional electrical infrastructure on-site for further expansion expected to be needed in the coming weeks. At Stroger Hospital in Chicago, IBEW Local 134 electricians are providing routine electrical maintenance support throughout the facility, while also powering a mobile COVID-19 testing facility on-site.

In addition to providing electrical services that expand the region's available capacity of hospital beds, Powering Chicago's members are working at the community level to ensure those most impacted by the outbreak of COVID-19 have the support they need in the weeks and months ahead. Continental Electric recently donated 1,000 N95 masks to Swedish Covenant Hospital on the north side of the city, while Powering Chicago team members from IBEW Local 134 delivered groceries and other household essentials to approximately 60 union retirees in need. In late March, Powering Chicago's members made a $25,000 donation to the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland & Northwest Indiana, meant to inspire other donors to give to the organization as it confronts a budget shortfall and volunteer shortage brought about by COVID-19.

For additional information about how the unionized electrical industry is stepping up its efforts to support communities throughout the region during this period of uncertainty, please visit the Powering Chicago website

About Powering Chicago

Bringing together the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 134 electricians and the Electrical Contractors' Association (ECA) of the City of Chicago, Powering Chicago is an electrical industry labor-management partnership that invests in consistently better construction, better careers and better communities within the metro Chicago region. Employing the latest technology, its members are elevating industry performance through their commitment to safety, level of experience and reliability, while also investing in the future of skilled labor through an innovative apprenticeship program that is paving the way for the next generation of skilled electricians. For additional information, visit poweringchicago.com.

 

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SOURCE Powering Chicago