As essential workers, members of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 4 have reported to work straight through the pandemic – and, amid its strains, often found themselves struggling to address vital physical and mental health challenges.
“I saw the battle many people had when support services were unavailable during the height of the pandemic,” recalls Local 4 member Sean O’Connor, 52, who has been part of a team building a hospital during the pandemic.
That’s why Local 4’s leadership is encouraging its membership to focus on their wellbeing and to be unafraid to ask for help when it’s needed.
“Our members are dealing with a range of health issues including mental health, hypertension and diabetes,” said Cory Burns, who leads the union’s wellness initiatives.
Through a partnership with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Local 4 is providing more resources for its members and raising awareness about health issues, including a recent 5K run and walk in Medway that doubled as a wellness fair providing information about union benefits.
“Our union is behind our membership 100 percent — mental health, physical health, substance abuse, the whole nine yards,” said O’Connor as he joined dozens of his union brothers and sisters at the 5k. “We are truly blessed to be part of that union.”