The installation of Alucobond panels is moving right along. The process includes varies steps. First, crews working for Sunrise Erectors screw galvanized light-gauge steel Z-clips through the ice and water shield (dark blue) that covers the building.
These clips are screwed in place every 16 inches, through the ice and water shield and into the metal stud of the exterior of the building. Between the Z-clips, 3-inch rigid Styrofoam insulation is put in place (light blue, above).
Across the face of the insulation the stand-off grid system is installed. These steel strips run vertically across the building. 90% of the stand-off grid work is complete.
The stips run vertically above and below the windows.
The Alucobond panels are clipped onto the stand-off steel grid.
At panel joints (where two panels meet) there is ½ inch spacing where you can see a reveal strip that is colored differently then the panels to give a shadow effect. On the second and third floors it is a dark bronze reveal and on the first floor it’s a gray reveal.
Panels are arriving on site every day from the fabrication shop, located in Canton, MA.
Sunrise Erectors also began installing cedar siding between windows on the West side of the building. Cedar accents were selected to help this side of the building conform to the look of the residential neighborhood. The cedar will be installed between windows on the third floor and in a section along the bottom of the windows on the second floor down to the Pavilion level.
Stainless Steel panels will run horizontally along the bottom of the building, wherever the building meets the ground or the lower level of the parking deck. Much like a back splash of a kitchen sink, this stainless steel will act as a back splash to handle things like salt, water and dirt that typically come in contact with this part of a building.
Five former Wood Structures employees and the union which represented most of the hourly employees at the company’s Saco and Biddeford locations have filed a class action lawsuit against Roark Capital for damages arising out of the sudden closing of the plant last March. The suit, which was filed in the federal district court in Portland on September 8, seeks to hold Roark Capital liable for severance pay under the Maine Severance Pay Act and for 60 days’ pay under the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, commonly known as the WARN Act. Roark Capital is based in Georgia and bought the Wood Structures plants in 1995.
On March 16, 2009, Wood Structures President Frank Paul informed employees without any prior notice that the company was filing for bankruptcy and that the employees should pick up their belongings, go home, and not report until further notice. Two days later, Wood Structures advised the employees by letter of a “permanent layoff.” Roark Capital subsequently sold Wood Structures to Boise Cascade, which has reopened the plant but rehired only a few of the hourly employees and a limited number of the former non-union staff.
The five employees who filed the suit, Stanley “Duke” Bennett, Richard Howard, Susan Welch, Aaron Vance, and Warren deWildt, include former non-union sales, design, and administrative personnel as well as production workers represented by Carpenters Union Local 1996. The employees had worked at Wood Structures from 8 to 37 years. At the time of the plant closing, Wood Structures employed approximately 180 employees and was one of the largest employers in York County.
According to the Complaint, as the parent company of Wood Structures, Roark Capital is liable for one week of pay for every year of service to employees who had worked at Wood Structures for at least three years under the Maine Severance Pay Act. In addition, the Complaint alleges that under the federal WARN Act, Roark Capital should have provided the employees with at least 60 days’ notice of the plant closing. The workers and the Carpenters Union are represented by Attorneys Jeffrey Neil Young at McTeague Higbee in Topsham, Maine and Maria Fox of the Law Office of Maria Fox in Portland.
Fox stated, “Maine’s Severance Pay Act was enacted to provide protection for workers in exactly the situation faced by these employees – where a company shuts down due to bankruptcy yet the parent company is solvent. The WARN Act requires that all employees – no matter how long they have worked for a company – be given 60 days’ notice before a plant closing. Wood Structures’ employees received no notice and no severance pay.”
Young stated, “Wood Structures employed a large number of employees who worked for the company for many years and who produced a quality product. Not only did their dedication to the company warrant better treatment, but the law requires it. Large employers in this day and age don’t have the right to herd employees into a room like cattle and tell them without notice that their work lives are over. Roark Capital could have or should have seen this day coming and federal law required that it give the employees at least 60 days’ notice so that the employees could prepare for the end of their employment at Wood Structures. Moreover, Maine law required Roark Capital as Wood Structures’ parent company to pay the workers a week of pay for every year of service. Maybe there is no such requirement in Georgia, but this is Maine.”
One of the Plaintiffs, Stanley “Duke” Bennett said, “I loved my job at Wood Structures and worked there for 27 years. It was devastating to come in to work on March 16th and be told to go home. I feel completely lost without my job and still haven’t been able to find other work.” Bob Burleigh, the representative of the Carpenters Union, declared, “Every aspect f the treatment these employees received turns your stomach. It has become abundantly clear that Roark Capital was only interested in lining its own pockets at the expense of the workers, both union and non-union. Roark Capital’s claims of empathy for the workforce are not supported by its actions before, during and after the bankruptcy filing. Hopefully, this lawsuit will bring a small measure of justice and relief for these workers.”
Three rooftop units (RTU) were installed today at the Carpenters Center. These air handling units will provide heat and air conditioning for the entire building. Each RTU is approximately 10 feet wide by 38 feet long and weighs nearly three tons.
The standing NERCC Election Committee consists of Dick Nihtila (Chariman), Chris Shannon, Martin Alvarenga, John Leavitt, John Cunningham, Nick DiGiovanni, Jason Garand, Charlie Johnson, Bruce Lydem and Paul Hughes.
The following notice--published in the New England Carpenter magazine in accordance with UBC election notification rules--contains guidelines for the election.
In accordance with Section 5 of the Council by-laws, officers of this Council shall be nominated and elected by the delegate body of the Council. Any UBC member of a Local Union in the jurisdiction of the NERCC and who meets the eligibility requirements provided in Section 31-D and 44-G may seek nomination and election for any available position and must be working within the bargaining unit represented by their Local Union or employed full time within the framework of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters to be eligible.
In order to be eligible, "A member must have been twelve (12) consecutive months a member in good standing immediately prior to nomination in the Local Union and a member of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America for 2 consecutive years immediately prior to nominations."
The Constitution and Laws of the United Brotherhood shall govern the nomination, election and installations of officers.
Officers to be nominated and elected at this meeting shall include Executive Secretary-Treasurer*, President, Vice President, Warden, Conductor, three (3) Trustees, and five (5) Executive Committee Members. The terms of these officers shall expire in September 2013 in accordance with Section 5 (C) of the council by-laws. If there should be a tie for any offices(s), there will be an election that same day for that office(s) only, unless the candidates agree to a coin toss.
The installation of Council officers shall take place immediately following the election on the day of the election.
*Section 8 (B) of the by-laws of the New England Regional Council of Carpenters reads: "The Executive Secretary-Treasurer, by virtue of election to his or her office, shall automatically be deemed as an elected Delegate from the Council to the conventions or meetings of the United Brotherhood, State Building and Construction Councils, Labor Federations, and any other organizations, conferences or meetings with which the council may participate or become affiliated with."
CORRECTION: Earlier this week, Bruce Lydem stepped down from the Election Committee and was replaced by Margaret Conable.
Nominations for Executive Board positions for the New England Regional Council of Carpenters have been completed. The following members were nominated and seconded for office and will be placed on the ballot.
Executive Secretary-Treasurer Mark Erlich, member of Local 40. Nominated by Tom Flynn, member of Local 67. Seconded by Tim Perkins, member of Local 40. Elected without opposition.
President Richard Monarca, member of Local 24. Nominated by Bob Beauragard, member of Local 24. Seconded by John Murphy, member of Local 33. Elected without opposition.
Vice President Bill Holmes, member of Local 94. Nominated by Joe Gangi, member of Local 111. Seconded by Bill Cloutier, member of Local 94. Elected without opposition.
Warden Dan Flynn, member of Local 33. Nominated by Jim McDermmot, member of Local 33. Seconded by Pete McLaughlin, member of Local 33.
Jack Donahue, member of Local 107. Nominated by Fred Taylor, member of Local 107. Seconded by Harry Dow, member of Local 26.
Conductor Joe Power, member of Local 40. Nominated by Mark Sutherland, member of Local 40. Seconded by Richard Dean, member of Local 275.
Richard Scaramozza, member of Local 33. Nominated by Bert Monte, member of Local 33. Seconded by Lou Cocozza, member of Local 210.
Trustee (three will be elected) Dave Palmisciano, member of Local 94. Nominated by Chuck Applebee, member of Local 24. Seconded by Mike Antunes, member of Local 94. Elected without opposition.
Brian Richardson of Local 56. Nominated by Bruce Lydem, member of Local 24. Seconded by John Manning, member of Local 535. Elected without opposition.
George Meadows, member of Local 43. Nominated by Dave Palmisciano, member of Local 94. Seconded by Dean Palotti, of Local 24. Elected without opposition. Executive Committee (five will be elected) Gary DeCosta of Local 1305. Nominated by Tom Savoie, member of Local 94. Seconded by Ron Rheaume, of Local 1305. Elected without opposition.
Bryan Bouchard of Local 1996. Nominated by Dan Kuhs, member of Local 56. Seconded by Matt Durocher of Local 1996. Elected without opposition.
Richard Dean, member of Local 275. Nominated by Kevin Kelley, member of Local 275. Seconded by Chuck Appleby, member of Local 24. Elected without opposition.
Chuck Appleby member of Local 24. Nominated by Bill Callahan, member of Local 24. Seconded Richard Dean, member of Local 24. Elected without opposition.
Glenn Marshall, of Local 210 nominated for Executive Committee by Mike Robinson of Local 210. Seconded by Mike Magut, member of Local 210. Elected without opposition.
Following are the vote totals for the election of officers to the New England Regional Council of Carpenters. All elected officers were sworn in and take office immediately. The term of elected officers will expire in September 2013.
Executive Secretary Treasurer Mark Erlich* (unopposed)
President Richard Monarca* (unopposed)
Vice President Bill Holmes* (unopposed)
Warden Dan Flynn--39 Jack Donahue*--82
Conductor Joe Power*--61 Richard Scaramozza--60
Trustee (top three elected) David Palmisciano* (unopposed) Briand Richardson* (unopposed) George Meadows* (unopposed)
Executive Committee (top five elected) Gary DeCosta* (unopposed) Bryan Bouchard* (unopposed) Richard Dean* (unopposed) Chuck Appleby* (unopposed) Glenn Marshall* (unopposed)
This week, drywall work was completed on the third floor of the building, with the exception of the elevator door fronts. Elevator work is expected to begin later next week. When the elevator work begins the door fronts will be drywalled. Drywall crews have started work on the second floor.
Electrical and mechanical inspections of the first floor are scheduled for next week.
Following last week's meeting with staff of NERCC and affiliated Local Unions seeking their endorsement of her candidacy for US Senate, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley sat down to record a message to union carpenters. Earlier this week, NERCC announced its endorsement of Coakley.
Boston Mayor Thomas Menino topped the ticket in a four-way primary, earning more than 50% of the vote. Union Carpenters have long been a fan of the Mayor because of his tremendous support of development in the city and standards for construction. He will face City Councilor Micheal Flaherty--who finished a distant second with just under 24% of the vote--in a final election November 3. Flaherty squeeked by fellow Councilor Sam Yoon, who earned 21% of the vote. Developer/contractor Kevin McCrea took 4% of the vote.
Endorsed candidates for City Councilor At Large also dominated in the polls. Fifteen candidates were on the primary ballot, vying for eight spots in the final election. The top four finishers were all NERCC-endorsed candidates, including John Connolly, Stephen Murphy, Felix Arroyo and Ayanna Pressley.
An open letter to Union Carpenters in Massachusetts:
These are very difficult times in our Commonwealth. Many carpenters are facing unemployment conditions they have never seen in their careers. On top of that health care costs are rising and gas prices have us all constantly on edge. Far too many families have lost their homes or been forced to make difficult decisions when it comes to their home budgets.
But there is a way to turn the tide a bit. If we bring resort-style gaming to Massachusetts, thousands of good-paying jobs will come with it.
Every year Massachusetts residents cross the border to spend money at Connecticut casinos and slot parlors in Rhode Island and Maine. It happens more than eight-million times a year with spending approaching nearly $1 billion annually. Worse than lost revenue, in Connecticut alone, that industry supports over 19,000 jobs.
Legislation authorizing resort-style casinos in Massachusetts will create good-paying jobs offering health care for struggling middle-class and working poor residents, including thousands of construction jobs and thousands more permanent resort-style casino jobs that will pay an average of $45 thousand a year.
Is your family struggling or concerned? Do you think resort gaming in the Bay State could improve your life? Tell your local legislator to bring good jobs to the Bay State! Please click the link below and tell your local representative to authorize gaming in Massachusetts.
With your voice - and help - we can bring those jobs back home to where it belongs: in our Commonwealth!
Boston, MA –The New England Regional Council of Carpenters and affiliated Local Unions in Massachusetts are proud to announce the endorsement of Attorney General Martha Coakley in the Democratic primary for United States Senate. Representatives of NERCC and Local Unions voted to endorse Coakley following meetings with other Democratic candidates
"Martha Coakley’s dedication to Massachusetts’ workers has been exemplary and we are honored to offer her our endorsement," stated Mark Erlich, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the New England Regional Council of Carpenters. "In her work enforcing the wage and hour and employee misclassification laws, Martha Coakley has been a leader in making sure that Massachusetts is and continues to be a safe and rewarding place to work, start a business, and raise a family."
"I am honored to have the support of the New England Regional Council of Carpenters," said Attorney General Coakley. "Our economy cannot thrive without the critical work done by the carpenters across Massachusetts. They construct the houses our families turn into homes and the buildings our companies turn into prospering places of business. In Washington, I will continue to stand up for Massachusetts’ working families by fighting for the Employee Free Choice Act and working towards health care reform that provides a viable public option."
The union gave careful consideration to all candidates in the primary before making a final endorsement.
“Michael Capuano is a tremendous Representative for the 8th District and the residents of the Commonwealth,” said Erlich. “He was well received at our meeting and we look forward to continuing our very strong relationship and productive relationship with him.”
Coakley, 56, was born in Pittsfield, MA, and raised in North Adams. She became Massachusetts’ first female Attorney General in January 2007. Since then she has protected workers and achieved record recoveries for employees and the Commonwealth in enforcing the Massachusetts wage and hour laws. In addition, she has established herself as a leader on a variety of issues affecting Massachusetts residents, including addressing the foreclosure crisis that has plagued families in Massachusetts.
The New England Regional Council of Carpenters (NERCC) includes over 24,000 carpenters, pile drivers, shop, millmen, and floor coverers across New England, including almost 11,000 in Massachusetts. It is the regional governing body for the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, serving 26 Local Unions in the six New England states. Through its partnership with more than 1,200 signatory construction managers, general contractors and carpentry subcontractors, the NERCC fights for fairer wages and better working conditions for both union and nonunion carpenters.
Crews working for Sunrise Erectors began installing the Alucobond Panels on the exterior of the Carpenters Center.
The following series of pictures was taken at the same time of day, driving Northbound along the building. Notice how the panels appear to change color. The reflection of the sunlight along with the viewing angle changes the appearance of the panels. This detail is part of the architectural design of the building.
When your public defense against charges that illegal activity occurred during construction of your newly finished building project features the phrase “technically and in fact,” you might not have the strongest position. When you’re the District Director for United States Citizenship and Immigration Services answering questions about an illegal immigrant working on, but not being paid properly for work on, an USCIS building, you don’t look great in the press.
But there was Denis Riordan, District Director for USCIS, saying the Honduran worker who filed a lien against the Johnston, Rhode Island building “technically and in fact employee was not working or employed by the federal government.”
Johnston Mayor Joseph Polisena went to the groundbreaking where Riordan offered his weak defense and voice his displeasure: "I know that I, as Mayor, was not happy. There are over 70,000 people out of work who are citizens of the state and they should have crack at the jobs first."
Bannering activity in Hanover, New Hampshire has caused quite a stir, with threats of a slander lawsuit against the union and forceful denials of wrongdoing. But in the last line of a news article on the activity--triggered by the use of Engleberth Construction hiring Kal-Vin to do drywall—a Kal-Vin spokeswoman is asked directly about the companies use of intermediaries who hire “independent contractors” to do work. Her response? “I can’t speak on that.” Maybe they’ll reconsider the lawsuits?
The project in question is Kendal at Hanover’s renovation of a health center. Last week union organizers showed off a banner near Dartmouth College Green featuring Rebecca Smith, Kendal’s Executive Director and saying she was “Wanted for Supporting Tax Fraud.”
NERCC Organizer Marty Coyle told the Valley News “She need to accept some of the responsibility for what’s happening under her care. It’s very significant, and it’s a huge problem, and we wish she would take it seriously.”
Numerous times union organizers attempted to meet with Smith or her staff to alert them to the problems previously encountered on Kal-Vin jobs. Kal-Vin—and its sister companies GNPB Construction and Northrock Construction—have become infamous in the industry for problems on their jobs, ranging from misclassifying their own carpenters as “independent contractors,” exploitation of immigrant workers and denying employee status and workers comp coverage to an employee who was seriously injured after he fell from scaffolding. The injured worker, Celso Mena, was later ruled to be an employee and awarded comp coverage and lost wages.
The Board of Selectmen in Madison, Connecticut has unanimously approved KBE Building Corporation as the construction manager for a $5.5 million senior and ambulance garage, but not without taking measures to prevent the company from hiring subcontractors that have contributed to problems on their projects in the past. The Madison Building Committee will determine and hold all contracts for subcontractors for the project in order to “take KBE out of the picture” according to the building committee chair. KBE had been the only one in the running for the job until the Board of Selectmen asked that additional companies be considered. Though the interview of two additional companies did not change the end result of KBE getting the job, the town did seem to agree that leaving KBE to select subcontractors could lead to problems.
NERCC Organizers Margaret Conable and Bart Pacekonis were among those who spoke at the Selectman’s meeting on Monday. They discussed KBE’s history of hiring subcontractors that illegally misclassify employees as independent contractors, avoiding payment of Social Security, unemployment and other payroll taxes.
Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakely and Congressman Micheal Capuano visited NERCC headquarters today seeking the union's endorsement in meetings with a group of more than 30 staff of NERCC and affiliated Local Unions in Massachusetts.
Coakley and Capuano are the leading candidates in the Democratic field seeking to replace the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy.
More details, including comments made by each candidate, will be posted here.
The Marine Renewable Energy Consortium is holding its Second Annual Ocean Energy for New England conference tomorrow in Hyannis, Massachusetts. Among the sessions is a panel discussion being led by Pile Drivers Local 56 on Workforce Readiness for Ocean Energy in New England. Local 56 has been a leading proponent for the approval of Cape Wind, a major wind farm project off the Massachusetts coast.
The Marine Renewable Energy Constorium, based at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, focuses on “the develop of ocean based renewable energy (wave, tidal, current and ocean wind). The consortium seeks to develop a network of technology developers and energy users who will collectively define the needs of this nascent industry and work to bring together the required technology, capital, infrastructure, and human resources to implement ocean based renewable energy in the most sustainable manner for the region.”
Then and now Posted by
on September 16, 2009 at 12:00 AM
The Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development (EOLWD) has launched an online tool that will enable anyone to check whether an employer has workers compensation coverage for its employees in real time. The “Proof of Coverage” (POC) tool could prove invaluable to nonunion carpenters and union organizers in the field who are concerned that contractors are shirking the law in order to undercut competitors who operate by the rules. It will also allow general contractors to quickly and easily check for compliance by subcontractors working on their site.
Suzanne M. Bump, Secretary of the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development said the tool is a direct result of cooperation among state departments and outside groups. “From day one, Governor Patrick has made modernizing functions in Labor and Workforce Development a priority. The POC application is the result of a public-private partnership between the Department of Industrial Accidents and the Workers’ Compensation Rating & Inspection Bureau of Massachusetts that will empower Massachusetts workers to take their own safety and security on the job seriously,” said Secretary Bump. The Workers’ Compensation Rating & Inspection Bureau of Massachusetts is the licensed rating organization responsible for the collection of all workers’ compensation policy data written by commercial carriers in the Commonwealth.
EOLWD’s Director of Labor, George Noel added “In order for Massachusetts to sustain a healthy and vibrant business climate, there must be an economic atmosphere where similar industries can compete on a level playing field. This application increases our ability at the state level of maintain those conditions.”
The EOLWD is promoting the site as providing a variety of benefits to the general public: • Assist homeowners in ensuring that hired contractors have workers’ compensation insurance • Assist general contractors with ensuring that all subcontractors are properly insured. • Assist medical providers with coverage questions when treating an injured worker. • Assist state and municipal officials with ensuring workers’ compensation compliance with licensing, permitting, and awarding public contracts. • Help protect employers from agent and broker fraud allowing them to verify their own coverage.
If you look at Matrix Construction website Josh Moore says that he has been doing businnes with Scott for many years hen he has S.D.L Construction. Werent those the same years that Scott Ledoux claimed no income and paid over $60,000 in cash to open up a gym. Somethin is definatly really fishy here and it stinks all the way up to Security Drive in Hudson New Hampshire...I can smell it up here in quebec too..... Real
Ironworkers with American Architectural Iron, began erecting the communicating stairs between the second and first floor of the Carpenters Center. The communicating stairs through the open well will allow for foot traffic to flow through the first and second floors of the Training Center, creating a unified, multilevel interior.
When the iron work is complete, the stair pans will be filled with concrete. The stair treads and landings will be walnut veneer hard wood flooring.
Meanwhile, on the third floor, the drywall is nearly complete. Carpenters working for H. Carr & Sons have started hanging drywall on the second floor of the building.
Northrock Construction--sister company to GNPB and Kal-Vin--is mired in controversy once again. A stop work order was issued on a Montville, Connecticut project where they were hired to do drywall. A "Stop Work" order was issued by the Connecticut Department of Labor at the Hyatt Place Hotel site against Matrix Interior Construction, a subcontractor hired by Northrock. The counts include: --Failure to secure payment of workers compensation --Misrepresenting employees as independent contractors --Understating or concealing payroll records
In addition to their on-site problems, an owner of Matrix has run into significant other trouble with law enforcement recently. Earlier this year, Scott LeDoux was arrested in New Hampshire for selling more than 400 oxycontin pills worth an estimated $18,000. The federal government is currently suing to take possession of property owned by Ledoux including equipment and furnishing from an mixed marshal arts gym in which it is alleged LeDoux made drug sales.
How and why did an accused drug dealer get to the point where their job was shut down by the state government without Northrock taking action of its own? The Hyatt Place Hotel might be asking the same question.
Last week, window installation began at the Carpenters Center. A composite crew of carpenters and glazers working for Sunrise Erectors began installing punched opening windows on the second floor.
Aluminum window frame installation continues throughout the building. The lightweight gauge of the aluminum frame requires it to be installed to the wall assembly (metal stud, Dens Glass, air/vapor barrier) first. Once the the frame in place the carpenters and glazers can install and seal the glass within the frame.
To ensure proper layout, crews work from the corners of the building and work inward to the center.
The New England Regional Council of Carpenters would like to wish all of our Brother and Sister members a Happy Labor Day. Though it often is used to mark the end of summer, remember that Labor Day is a tribute to the hard work and dedication of working people in the United States. Workers and unions have accomplished great things when working together. Yet there are still battles to be fought to protect current conditions and win new ones. Remember, too, the workers who do not have the protection of a union and suffer the exploitation of employers. In the words of UBC founder Peter McGuire, who also founded the Labor Day holiday, we must continue to “Educate, Agitate and Organize!”
A comprehensive new study of low wage workers shows that most of them are not even being paid the meager wages they’ve agreed to work for, thanks to cheating employers. In addition most are not covered by workers compensation insurance or are pressured not to report serious injuries to seek workers compensation benefits. More than 4,000 workers in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago were interviewed revealing shocking details of exploitation and pressure by employers to give up legally provided rights.
--26% of workers interviewed were paid less than the minimum wage. Sixty percent of them were paid more than a dollar less than the minimum wage. Even among tipped workers, 30% were not paid the lower minimum wage mandated for tipped employees.
--25% worked more than 40 hours the previous week. Those working overtime averaged more than 51 hours in the week. Of those who worked overtime, 76% were not paid in accordance with overtime laws.
--The average worker in the study was cheated out of $51 the week prior to being interviewed, a 15% cut on their average $339 weekly earnings.
--Of the interviewed workers who experienced a serious injury on the job, only 8% sought workers compensation claims. Among those who did, 50% were illegally pressured by employers to abandon the claim, were fired, or reported to immigration authorities.
--Only 39% of workers interviewed were illegal immigrants. The rest were either legal immigrants or native born Americans.
One of the reasons the cheating is so widespread appears to be fear of employees to speak up. The study reports that “when workers complained about their working conditions or tried to organize a union, employers often responded by retaliating against them. Just as important, many workers never made complaints in the first place, often because they feared retaliation by their employer.”
The conclusion wasn’t just based on anecdotal research. Twenty percent of workers complained about wages or working conditions and almost half were met with illegal employer retaliation, such as firing, suspension or threats.
The study was completed by the University of California, Los Angeles, and the City University of New York and is available online from the National Employment Law Project.
Congratulations to Brother Mike Robinson and members of Local 210 in Connecticut. They recently helped a Bridgeport woman by building a wheelchair ramp on her home after another contractor had delayed, overcharged and then left her with a ramp that failed inspection twice.
The woman, who is blind and suffers from multiple sclerosis and renal failure was forced to live in a nursing home at a cost of more than $25,000 before she could have a ramp put on her house. A local contractor took 3 months and charged her more than $7,000 for shoddy work. She contacted a local television news program whose promotion of the story caught Robinson’s eye. With materials donated by Home Depot, union carpenters tore down the old ramp and put up a new one in two days.
The Following column was written by Leo Canty, the Executive Secretary of the AFL-CIO in Connecticut. It appeared in the Manchester (CT) Journal-Enquirer. It is reposted here with his permission.
Labor Spirit By Leo Canty Here’s a fun fact for the coming Labor Day weekend: America was started in a union hall.
In 1774 the ancestors of the modern day carpenters union, all of whom belonged to a local Philadelphia guild called the Carpenters’ Company, finished construction of Carpenters Hall. It was a finely crafted and impressive building, constructed by talented and organized skilled trades people who fully understood the value and power of working together to help each other prosper and care for family.
The carpenters guild members toiled as King George and the British profiteers were putting the squeeze on the colonists at the dawn of the American Revolution. Leaders of the colonies needed a meeting to share their discontent and develop a plan to stop the oppression. The call went out for the First Continental Congress; delegates chose Carpenters’ Hall for what would be the historic meeting, where delegates passed a series of resolutions letting the King and Parliament know that could not trample on the rights of colonists and put the eventual revolution in play.
How fitting, then, that the flame that ignited the fire in pursuit of social and economic justice for a nation was lit in a union hall.
A century later, the carpenters and other unions in Philadelphia and other cities were building their own modern-day framework for economic justice and social progress. Part of that framework included a vision to launch a special day of recognition for the toils and achievements of ordinary working people. America had made great strides economically since the revolution and the beginning forces of organized labor sought to ensure that due recognition was given to America’s workers.
Carpenters union leader Peter McGuire from Philadelphia, along with Matthew Maguire (no relation), a machinist who led the New York City Central Labor union, are both credited with launching the concept of a national observance of Labor Day. The official recorded event took place on Sept. 5, 1882, in New York City, when some 20,000 working people marched to demand an eight-hour workday and other labor law reforms. The idea caught on and marches, celebrations and other observances began to spread to other states as workers fought to win better wages, workplace rights and better working conditions, at a time when there were no laws to support them.
In 1893, as unions began to gain more power and recognition, New York City workers took an unpaid day off and marched around Union Square in support of a national Labor Day drawing a lot of attention to the organized efforts to improve wages and workers rights. A year later, 12,000 federal troops were called into Pullman, Ill., to break up a huge strike against the greedy Pullman railway company. Frustrated, angry workers resisted and the situation got ugly ending up with two workers shot and killed by U.S. deputy marshals. In what most historians call an election year attempt to appease workers after the federal crackdown on the Pullman strike, six days after the strike was broken, President Grover Cleveland signed legislation making the first Monday in September Labor Day and a federal holiday. Cleveland lost the election, and many states went ahead and affirmed the holiday in their law books. Connecticut’s law passed in 1889.
History is history and beyond the institution of the Labor Day holiday organized labor has played one of the most significant roles as catalysts for change this nation has ever seen. Major social and economic changes such as ending child labor, pushing for a 40 hour week, weekends and paid holidays, pensions, health care, sick and vacation time, safe workplaces, rights at work are benefits everyone takes for granted and gets to enjoy. None of these benefits were achieved without a fight. Many struggles and sacrifices were made and lives given to provide fair and just rewards in trade for ones work. Today’s unions know just as well as those in place at this country’s beginning that at times it’s just as difficult to hold on to a good standard of living as it is to improve. But that’s never been a reason to stop trying.
The spirit of unity and purpose, and the desire to change things for the better, that suffused Carpenters Hall in 1774 is alive and well in today’s union halls and we all get to feel it at picnics and parades on Monday. Happy Labor Day.
Carpenters working for H. Carr & Sons began hanging drywall on the third floor of the building this week. Before starting the drywall, the area needed to pass electrical and plumbing inspections. After passing inspection, crews were given the go-ahead to close up the walls.
Drywall screws are used to attach the drywall to the metal stud frame. The carpenter screws one in every eight inches along the four edges of the board and every twelve inches through the center of the sheet.
After the boards are hung, tapers come in and tape along the joints, where two boards meet. They apply a compound to the area, put the tape down and scrape the area with a broad knife to ensure the tape is wet and embedded in the compound. A second and third coat of compound is applied and finally the taped areas are sanded down flush to the drywall. When this process is complete the walls are ready to be primed and painted.
The third floor of the Carpenters Center will include office space for the New England Regional Council of Carpenters, the New England Carpenters Labor Management Program, and various Local Unions. The third floor will have * 1 reception/waiting area * 35 offices * 6 conference rooms * 14 storage/file rooms * 4 copier rooms * 1 men’s and 1 women’s restroom * 2 break rooms
Members of Massachusetts Floorcoverers Local 2168 last night voted to ratify a new three-year collective bargaining agreement. The agreement provides total wage and benefit increases of $1.25 in the first year, $1.50 in the second year and $2.50 in the third year. The contract will also change the package for floorcoverers working in western Massachusetts. Members doing floorcovering work in Local 108s geographic jurisdiction will be given the western Massachusetts carpenter rate for wages and annuity fund contributions.
Union Carpenters in Boston and Eastern area local unions affiliated with the New England Regional Council of Carpenters last night ratified a new three-year collective bargaining agreement that will provide modest wage increases and funding sufficient to maintain benefits. Ninety percent of members voting in the 13 Local Unions cast a “yes” vote.
The agreement, which will expire August 31, 2012, includes increases to the total wage and benefit package of $1.75 in each of the first two years and $2.25 in the third year. Each of those annual increases will be split in six-month increments. The first $0.88 increase In the first year will be added September 1, 2009 and allocated as follows: $0.75 will be added to the hourly contribution to the pension fund; $0.02 will be added to the UBC training fund. For the remaining $0.11, in Boston, $0.05 will be added to the Boston Carpenters Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee and $0.06 will be added to hourly wages; in the Eastern Area, $0.11 will be added to hourly wages.
The new agreement also includes several language changes governing work. --Off-site pre-fabrication of concrete forms must be performed under economic terms of the collective bargaining agreement. --Residential weatherization work funded by federal stimulus money is now included and will be paid at wood-frame residential rates. --Saturday, /Sunday and holiday work is now defined as regular shift duration unless prior notice is given. --Definition of leveling plates has been clarified to apply to plates on leveling nuts as carpenters rates. --Existing drug testing language from the 1987 agreement was clarified to require employers who wish to use the program to require lab test for reliability.
Mark Erlich, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the New England Regional Council of Carpenters, who chaired the union’s negotiating committee said the agreement is fair given the economic climate.
“We met our goals of preserving the solvency of our benefit funds, getting language changes we needed and providing a little extra for the members. In these tough times, I’m very pleased both with the contract and the confidence the members have shown through the ratification vote.”