Members of Detroit Local 58 are providing critical power to two centers being repurposed as overflow hospitals to help combat the COVID-19 virus.
|Detroit Local 58 members wire the Suburban Collection Showcase Center in Novi, which is switching gears from hosting tradeshows to COVID-19 patients.
“Morale is good. Our members are proud to be able to do their part,” said Local 58 business agent Byron Osbern. “We’re all in this together.”
Roughly 20 members working for general contractor Conti and signatories Motor City Electric and Metro Environmental worked 12-hour shifts around the clock at the TCF Center in Detroit earlier this month to power a 1,000-bed facility. The work included everything from providing temporary and backup power to installing fire alarms and water pumps to ensure proper sanitary conditions. Osbern said the work was completed in about a week.
Members are also finishing up work at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi, about 30 miles west of the Motor City. Working with signatory contractor Shaw Electric, about 20-25 members are doing similar work to convert the building that typically hosts conferences and tradeshows into a 250-bed hospital with the capacity for 1,000 if needed. Michigan is currently dealing with more than 28,000 cases of COVID-19, the third worst in the nation, reported the Washington Post.
Osbern says Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who toured both sites, and the Army Corps of Engineers who are overseeing the projects, praised the work of the IBEW members.
“We stayed one step ahead,” Osbern said. “And we made sure it was done once and done right.”
Osbern also noted that this type of work speaks to Local 58’s ability to mobilize quickly and efficiently, no matter the disaster.
“If another call comes, we’ll answer it,” Osbern said.
Local 58 electricians are at sites across the metro Detroit area providing critical infrastructure support for medical, manufacturing, energy, water and other facilities. Some members have also traveled out-of-state to work on facilities being retooled for ventilator production.
“I’d like to thank the brothers and sisters of IBEW Local 58 who are supporting essential work for critical infrastructure projects during the COVID-19 pandemic. We appreciate their commitment and dedication,” said Business Manager Brian Richard.