How Trade Associations are Helping Plumbers Through the Pandemic

With the COVID-19 pandemic spreading across the U.S., many plumbing professionals are wondering how to keep their jobs on track while maintaining the health of their employees and customers. Beyond that, they’re unsure how to keep their business growing during this health crisis.

Trade associations give you access to networking events, educational opportunities and other resources that can help you grow your business. They also give members a voice and keep them informed when external threats to the industry arise, such as new legislation, natural disasters and yes… even pandemics. HoldRite is proud to partner with trade associations that support plumbers and construction contractors.

Plumbing Trade Association Advocacy and Education

To combat plumbing professionals’ unease during the pandemic, trade associations are helping them navigate these uncertain times through advocacy and education. Browse each plumbing association’s efforts and see how you can get involved.

American Supply Association

In March, the ASA joined 110 other industry associations in asking federal and local governments for a more uniform definition of “critical infrastructure” industries, which the U.S. Department of Homeland Security deemed essential. ASA wrote letters to help limit supply chain interruptions for essential workers in plumbing, namely by asking that the government specifically name the PHCP-PVF industry as essential so manufacturers can continue producing and shipping products to customers.

Join the ASA in raising awareness about this issue by filling out a quick form to easily contact your state legislators to communicate this message.

International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials

On March 11, the IAPMO released a whitepaper to help plumbing and mechanical industry workers understand their exposure risk to coronavirus. The document includes an explanation of the virus and steps professionals can take to stay safe on the job.

Then, on March 23, IAPMO CEO GP Russ Chaney sent a letter to President Donald Trump, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to ask that they provide more resources to employers in the plumbing industry.

The IAPMO’s recommendations include:

  • Allowing plumbing companies to use 7(a) loans for payroll, paid sick leave, mortgage payments and more.
  • Postponing the filing of business returns and payment of business taxes for the 2019 tax year and estimated payments for 2020 during the pandemic.
  • Expanding the definition of an essential business to include the construction industry.

Associated General Contractors of America

Since the beginning of March, the AGC has sent many letters to government leaders to communicate the need for:

  • Including construction in the list of essential businesses.
  • Establishing policies that keep the construction industry operational during the public health crisis.
  • Clarification on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s position regarding how companies report employee COVID-19 cases as recordable incidents, since these events may skew the national statistics on workplace injuries and illnesses.

AGC Speaks on PayCheck Protection Program Loans

When it comes to assistance options, many contractors have already received Paycheck Protection Program loans, according to Kenneth Simonson, chief economist of the AGC.

The loans are interest-free and will not require repayment if firms largely maintain their employee count. These loans should help many businesses stay afloat and retain workers, even if they are not able to start on new projects, Simonson said.

“However, the initial loan program was fully subscribed before some firms received funding,” he added. “In any case, the funds provide only short-term relief. The AGC and other organizations are pressing Congress to expand cash-flow relief for small businesses and also to enact legislation for a wide range of infrastructure projects.”

To learn more and see updates on the AGC’s advocacy efforts, visit its Coronavirus Advocacy Efforts page.

Mechanical Contractors Association of America

The MCAA has created a COVID-19 resource center to help mechanical contractors navigate the pandemic. There, you’ll find a webinar series on coronavirus-related topics, including:

  • Continuity of Business Operations for Trade Contractors
  • Guidelines for COVID-19 to Help Protect Mechanical Industry Workers
  • Implementing Paid Leave Requirements Under the New FFCRA
  • HVACR/Plumbing Best Practices during COVID-19 Pandemic

Additionally, the page contains frequently asked questions about the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, industry news, and important external resources.

American Society of Plumbing Engineers

The ASPE developed a resources page to provide information to its chapters, members, staff, and the industry. In addition to links to information from government agencies about the virus, the page features resources to help plumbing engineers cope with the economic and personal toll of the virus. On its news page, the association also regularly publishes news related to COVID-19’s effect on the industry.

Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association

For members affected by major disasters — such as flooding, storms, fires and the pandemic — the PHCC offers its Disaster Relief Fund to offset the financial burden. The funds may be used to cover the costs of structural damage to their businesses, repair or replace equipment, or to maintain business operations. To request assistance, please visit the PHCC Disaster Relief Fund page.

The association has also created a comprehensive COVID-19 resource center, which offers information on legislative and regulatory actions, business practices, health and wellness, government financial aid, and more.

Supporting Associations That Support the Plumbing Industry

Plumbing & construction trade associations offer countless benefits to members, especially during times when the path forward is unclear. The examples above are not meant to be an exhaustive list of the work trade associations are doing on behalf of plumbing professionals during the pandemic. Rather, they’re meant to serve as a reminder that there are organizations that care about the livelihood of tradespeople and want them to thrive.

Support local and national associations by becoming a member, attending events (once health officials say it’s safe) and helping spread the word about their resources. And don’t hesitate to reach out to your HoldRite representative – we are here to support you and find a new way forward together.