The Department of Capital Asset Management in Massachusetts has proposed debarring Callahan, Inc. from bidding or performing any work as a result of their actions in bidding for the contract to build a new Hanover High School.
After submitting their Statement of Qualifications to the town and submitting the lowest bid, it was discovered that Callahan, Inc had taken credit for projects performed by another company in order to qualify to bid in Hanover. Though the Attorney General twice advised the Town to throw out Hanover's bid or rebid the job through an expedited process, the town moved forward with Callahan.
Petitioned by a group of union carpenters living in Hanover, a judge then ordered work on the project to stop pending further consideration of the fraud and Hanover's selecting Callahan. Another judge over-ruled that order, sending the case to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. The SJC agreed with the Town's argument that although Callahan clearly lied on the SOQ, the Town was aware of the lies and chose to do business with the company anyway.
DCAM now appears to be saying that even though Hanover has been allowed to work with a contractor that lied about its qualifications, the State of Massachusetts will not allow it again. Unless Callahan asks for an wins an appeal from DCAM, the already tarnished reputation of the company will be formalized.
This Tuesday, voters throughout New England and the United States will cast ballots electing candidates on the federal, state and local level. The winners in these elections will have a significant impact on many aspects of our lives. In particular, they will decide legislation regarding the construction industry and enforcement agencies that oversee existing laws. The New England Regional Council of Carpenters, Local Union affiliates and rank-and-file members have talked with and read up on issues and candidates. After thorough consideration and discussion of their positions in regards to economic, construction-related and union issues,the union has endorsed a number of candidates as worthy of votes by union carpenters. Below is a partial list. For information regarding more local races, please contact the Local Union within the district.
No matter where you live or who you choose to vote for, please exercise your right to vote. Encourage your family, friends and co-workers to cast a ballot as well. We all share responsibility for governing our communities. The future is in our hands.
Connecticut For United States Senate: Richard Blumenthal For Congress: Jim Himes and Chris Murphy For Governor: Dan Malloy
Massachusetts For Congress: Richard Neal, Jim McGovern, Barney Frank, John Tierney and Bill Keating For Governor: Deval Patrick For Treasurer: Steve Grossman For Auditor: Suzanne Bump Ballot Questions: No on Question 3.
Maine For Congress: Chellie Pingree, Mike Michaud For Governor: Libby Mitchell
New Hampshire For Senate: Paul Hodes For Congress: Carol Shea-Porter, Ann Kuster For Governor: John Lynch
Rhode Island For Congress: David Cicilline For Governor: Lincoln Chafee
Vermont For Senate: Patrick Leahy For Governor: Peter Shumlin
After months of leafleting outside of Quinnipiac University’s campus, carpenters are holding a mock election on Monday November 1, 2010 from 8:00AM until 1:00PM to see how the faculty, students, and area residents feel about President John Lahey’s handling of their concerns in regards to illegal contractors working on Quinnipiac University projects.
Carpenters have been greeting, and passing out informational leaflets to local residents, faculty, and students since June 17, 2010, trying to raise awareness of the misclassification of workers by contractors hired directly by Quinnipiac University to work on campus projects.
The Connecticut Department of Labor already has issued Stop Work Orders, for illegal misclassification of employees as independent contractors against two contractors working on Quinnipiac University campus projects.
Wolcheski and the carpenters have made a point to let people know that this is not a matter of nonunion workers on campus. If Quinnipiac University was acting responsibly and hiring responsible contractors who abide by community standard wages, benefits, retirement packages, and state and federal laws, we would not be out here right now.
“We make our living in the construction industry,” says Wolcheski. “We know the good guys, the bad guys, and the really bad guys. We know all the scams and shortcuts that hurt not just workers in the industry, but owners like Quinnipiac and the local communities. For the University to simply fold their arms and claim ‘they know best’ seems shortsighted and needlessly closed minded.”
Check in to the campaign’s website www.QuinnipiacToday.com to learn more about what’s going on at Quinnipiac and find out the results of Monday’s campus poll.
It's been another busy week of political campaigning for union carpenters. More than just getting ready to cast their own votes, members are taking to the streets and the phones to champion their favorite candidates and encouraging others--including their union Brothers and Sisters, to do the same.
Tuesday night in Worcester, members from Carpenters Local 107 and other Carpenter Locals joined together to hold signs in support of Congressman Jim McGovern before a debate at the Northboro Senior Center. The debate was sponsored by the Northboro Tea Party. At previous events, Tea Party supporters have been overly enthusiastic, to the point of attempting to physically intimidate McGovern and his supporters at events.
That was not the case Tuesday. As noted by the Worcester Telegram and Gazette, those union carpenters more than outnumbered the Tea Partiers, they made them virtually invisible. This video, though a little dark, makes that point very clear.
McGovern, a former Aide to the late Congressman Joe Moakley, has been serving the 3rd Congressional District for fourteen years and has become a solid favorite of union carpenters.
The next night, carpenters in at least three areas of Massachusetts were getting ready for election night.
Close to 100 members of Carpenters Local 108 braved the rain to show their support for 2nd District Congressman Richie Neal. Representing a District that covers the lower third of the state from Milford to Springfield, Neal has been hitting the campaign trail and the television airwaves hard to earn another term with union carpenters lending their full support.
At the same time, members in Southeastern Massachusetts were dialing their Brother and Sister union carpenters encouraging them to cast their votes on Tuesday for Deval Patrick. From 3-7pm, a small group of members made more than 1,400 calls using the union's user-friendly calling system.
In Boston, Mayor Tom Menino visited with Members of Carpenters Local 33 urging them to gear up for a final push to re-elect Governor Deval Patrick. Responding to a recent article that highlighted some policy differences between the Mayor and the Governor over the last four years, Menino said it's true that he doesn't always agree with the Governor. "I don't always agree with my wife, either, but we've had a very long and happy relationship."
Menino said Charlie Baker and Republicans continually calling to cut taxes was "cheap rhetoric." "Don't buy it," he said. "Every city, town and state has to have revenue. Without taxes, you can't have schools. You can't have police officers. You can't have a fire department."
"This election is about jobs. This election is about you and your kids and family and how you're going to take care of them in the future. Last year a lot of union members voted for Scott Brown. The truth is a lot of these candidates sound wonderful, but they taste terrible. They don't care about you and your families and a lot of the people that support them would like nothing better than to see unions disappear."
Menino wrapped up by asking members to vote, encourage their family and friends to vote and to try to give two hours of their time between now and the time the polls close on Tuesday to make a difference in the campaign.
The New England Regional Council of Carpenters was exhibiting today at the 24th annual New England Business Expo. The show was being held at the DCU Center in Worcester, MA.
The annual New England Business Expo brings together businesses from the region to market their products and services, increase visibility, and network with other professionals.
Attendees walked the show floor and had the opportunity to speak with various business vendors. They also attend professional business seminars in a wide variety of topic areas all intended to "jumpstart the imagination, re-energize and refocus your efforts" in the work place.
Representatives from the Carpenters Union were on hand, promoting union carpenters and contractors- the best joint venture in the industry.
While working at the trade show, Organizer Manny Gines was invited to do an interview with the AM Latino radio station La Nueva Mega, found on the dial at 890, 1310, and 1400.
Gines was interviewed by host Andres Perez. He spoke about the Carpenters Union and their efforts to protect all workers' rights. He added that the Carpenters Union offers the "best training in the United States. We also promote safety, productivity, and quality in the workplace. We fight and stand up for all labor issues and social justice."
The day was a huge success for the union, as representatives educated and built relationships between the union and attendees who we hope will use union carpenters for their future projects.
NERCC and the New England Carpenters Labor Management Program are at the Mainebiz Momentum Convention in Augusta, Maine this week to talk about how union carpenters and contractors are the best joint venture in the cosntruciton industry. While there, they got a visit from Maine Senator Susan Collins. Collins was interested in what the Carpenters union has been up to and is scheduling a meeting to have more detailed coversations after the elections.
If you're in Maine, stop by the show and visit with us at Booth #316. Pictured, from left to right are: Molly Walsh of the Communications Department, Maine Senator Susan Collins and Maine Local 1996 Business Agent John Leavitt.
The Boston Carpenters Apprenticeship and Training Program recently held a cookout at the Carpenters Center to thank members who have participated in the Mentoring Program.
The Mentoring Program, which is Directed by Local 33 Brother Peter Flynn connects experienced journey level carpenters to apprentices. Through phone calls and face-to-face meetings, the mentors reach out to younger members offering encouragement, advice and support. Mentors are contacted at least four times a year, after they attend formal training sessions to check in on their work reports, attendance at union meetings and adherence to apprentice program guidelines.
Construction can be a tough way to make a living, especially for younger carpenters facing one of the most difficult economic periods in generations. The program takes special steps to pair up women apprentices with women members and journey level carpenters that are military veterans with apprentices who have come in to the union through the Helmets to Hardhats program.
"The calls give the mentor the chance to pass on their experience in dealing with the types of challenging times that we're in right now," said Flynn. "the response has been extremely positive, both from the apprentices who appreciate the calls and the mentors."
Enforcement agencies in Connecticut and Massachusetts this week moved against contractors who have been violating laws in ways that undermine the ability of honest union carpenters and contractors to compete.
The Department of Labor in Connecticut performed a random on-site inspection of an AvalonBay job in Wilton, Connecticut, finding an out of state subcontractor who didn't have workers' compensation coverage. The employees of the company were sent home and will not be allowed to work on the site until they can prove proper coverage.
A representative of AvalonBay told the Norwalk Hour he expected the problem to be remedied soon, but did not indicate how they were able to work on the job without coverage in the first place.
Workers comp coverage should be of significant concern for AvalonBay, given their history in New England. Not long after OSHA had issued a series of citations for serious violations of fall protection regulations on jobs being built for AvalonBay, a 27-year old carpenter named Oscar Pintado fell to his death on an AvalonBay job in Woburn, Mass. He was working for a framing contractor which managed 150 wood framers. All of them, including Pintado, were listed as "independent contractors," meaning they were not covered by workers' compensation. His family was not eligible for any benefits or compensation.
In Massachusetts, the Attorney General's office reached a settlement agreement with Vincent Locke and his company V. Locke Contracting, Inc. over a string of violations for which they will pay a total of $100,000 in fines and restitution to workers.
After receiving a complaint that workers were not being paid the proper prevailing wage, Attorney General Martha Coakley's office began an investigation. Locke and V. Locke agreed to a settlement which cites them for intentionally violating the Prevailing Wage Law by failing to pay the prevailing wage to 35 employees. They are also being cited for violating Prevailing Wage Records Keeping Laws, violating the Independent contractor law by misclassifying employees as independent contractors and violating Overtime Law. Each of the citations cover violations that occurred from January 2008 through the investigation.
Locke and his company have agreed to make payments totaling $90,000 to workers and to pay the state $2,500 for each of the four citations. They will also be debarred from bidding on or performing any public work for a period of six months.
Also yesterday, Coakley's office reported that two subcontractors working on the Hanover High School project for Callahan, Inc. have been cited for violations of wage and wage reporting laws. Action Floors has been issued a $2,000 penalty for intentionally failing to submit true and accurate certified payroll while Superior Foundations was found to have intentionally failing to pay proper prevailing wages on the Hanover High School project. Superior was also cited for prevailing wage violations while working on the Swansea Police Station. Superior has been issued a $2,000 penalty for the violations and order to pay $3,802.94 in restitution to workers who were cheated.
The Hanover High School project has been a source of controversy for years. After fighting to win local approval to fund construction of a new building, local authorities came under fire for ignoring or excusing misleading statements Callahan, Inc made to justify it's qualifications for the project. The Town successfully fought to have put aside opinions by the Attorney General's office and a suit brought by union carpenters in Hanover that the project should be rebid. Treasurer Tim Cahill, who's office was in control of funding for the project, refused repeated requests to intervene.
The picture's a bit blurry, but union carpenters have been clear in their support for Congressman Barney Frank. Why? Because he's never shied away from supporting working class people and issues important to union members.
When six carpenters weren't paid the wages they were owed working on a Wicked Pizza at the upscale Legacy Place shopping center in Dedham, Mass., they turned to the Carpenters union for help. Though they weren't union members, anytime a contractor can get away without paying carpenters, it undermines industry standards and union members. As fellow carpenters, helping them is also just the right thing to do.
So NERCC Organizers Marty Coyle and Manny Gines organized a demonstration with other staff that quickly got the attention of the mall's management. Security scrambled on a Segway in a golf cart and a pickup truck. Police were called not once, but twice, even when the demonstration moved to the busy, but public sidewalk along busy Route 1.
Elite Drywall employed the carpenters on the Wicked Pizza project and on another job in New Hampshire. After promising to deliver checks to the carpenters, they simply strung them along until the carpenters walked off on strike. They've since filed wage complaints in Massachusetts and New Hampshire to recover the $15,000 they are owed.
The Massachusetts Joint Task Force on the Underground Economy and the Employee Misclassification (JTF) has released its annual report for 2010, showing a dramatic increase in collected taxes owed and penalties issued. The report, summarizing the second year of work by the JTF, lists $6.5 million was collected through cooperative enforcement, up from $1.4 million last year. The total includes $2 million in new unemployment insurance taxes $1.5 million in overdue taxes collected through 196 audit investigations and $1.87 million in fines as a result of 3,676 stop work orders issued for lack of workers' compensation insurance. The JTF was formed by an Executive Order of Governor Deval Patrick early March of 2008. There are now more than a dozen state agencies sharing information relevant to the underground economy and cooperating in enforcement efforts. The full annual report is available online here.
Workers who feel they are being misclassified can request assistance here.
Apprentices in Eastern Massachusetts and many journey level carpenters who have taken upgrade training are familiar with Tim Tudor and his interest in energy efficient building. For several years he's taught classes focusing on energy efficient building, renovation and weatherization in Millbury and Boston in addition to woodframe training. Now his neighbors on Cape Cod are learning how serious he is about green building. Tudor was featured in a piece last week in the Cape Cod Times for his participation in a program that provides rebates to home owners who take steps to reduce their energy use.
The goal of the program is to reduce energy consumption by 50%. Tudor is aiming for a 70% reduction, which would net him a $17,000 rebate. Tudor is doing a comprehensive rehab of his home--called a deep energy retrofit--including new cellulose insulation in the walls, and insulating panels on the exterior of the roof and walls. The roof will be raised by 12-inch thick panels while the walls will have 4-inch thick panels covered by siding.
Other work includes changing doors and windows and taking other steps to reduce the air flow through the house. You can read more about Tudor's project on the Cape Cod Time's site here.
Photos from CapeCodTimes.com. Click image for more photots.
Union carpenters are doing their part to protect working standards in Connecticut by supporting former Stamford Mayor Dannel Malloy's bid for the Governor's office. Malloy is locked in a tight race with businessman Tom Foley.
The latest show of support from union carpenters was in New London where members joined with officers of the New London Police Department and other uions at a rally prior to the most recent televised debate.
Malloy and his running mate Nancy Wyman addressed the enthusiastic crowd as did George Jepsen, a long-time Carpenters union favorite who is running for Attorney General and Second District Congressman Joe Courtney.
In the second edition of White House White Board, Austan Goolsbee, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, looks back at the President’s record on the economy through the perspective of the last three years in private sector employment.
"Here’s the bottom line: when President Obama came into office in January of 2009, we were in the middle of the worst economic crisis this country has seen since the Great Depression. Through the Recovery Act, tax credits for working families and small businesses, and investments in the industries of the future, we are getting back on the right track. We went from losing nearly 800,000 jobs in a single month as the President came into office to our ninth straight month of private sector job growth last month. We still have a lot of work to do. Times are still tough for millions of Americans who are out of work, and we’re not going to rest until those folks can find a job. "
The Northshore Mall, along with the Simon Youth Foundation, held a ribbon cutting ceremony today at the newly opened Peabody Learning Academy. City and school officials, students, along with representatives from Simon Malls, union leaders, and several of the Boston insurance firms supporting the project, gathered for the ceremony.
This Education Resource Center (ERC) is the first of its kind in New England. The project was organized by the Simon Youth Foundation, the nonprofit arm of Simon Property Group, which is part owner and manager of the mall.
The Simon Youth Foundation takes advantage of empty space in company-owned malls to house these satellite schools. The school districts provide the teachers, equipment, and pay the utilities. The Simon Youth Foundation covers the rent and more importantly facilities partnerships with other organizations – in this case, the Carpenters Union.
The Simon Youth Foundation currently serves more than 2,500 students through 25 ERCs located in 12 states, and last year gave $1.4 million in scholarships to graduates. The ERCs have served over 19,000 students since the inception of the program in 1998.
One supervisor and two teachers, all from the Peabody school district, staff the ERC to assist students who are on the verge of dropping out, or who have already left, to reverse course and earn their high school diploma. There are currently nineteen students enrolled at the Peabody Learning Academy.
The program provides a rigorous academic program, especially in the areas of reading, writing, and mathematics, within a nontraditional learning environment. The program offers students the opportunity to earn a high school diploma and also provides career counseling for school-to-college and school-to-work transitions.
Volunteers from the Carpenters Union did all of the metal stud/drywall work at the facility as well as the suspended ceilings, doors and hardware, and all of the case work including kitchen cabinets and wood trim.
Each of the speakers at the ribbon cutting ceremony took time to thank all of the trades unions for volunteering 100% of the labor for the project.
The Carpenters Union was especially recognized for the being the first trade to step on board with the project.
“Very early on I approached Ken Amero and Nick DiGiovanni from the Carpenters Union and asked if [the Carpenters] could make a contribution of labor to the project. They were the first from the labor side to embrace this project,” said Mark Whiting, Area General Manager of the Northshore Mall.
“It was a collaborative effort to bring this job together and we really appreciate their level of dedication.”
Dr. Richard Markoff, the Executive Vice President of the Simon Youth Foundation, as he commended all those involved with spearheading the project. When asked specifically about the help the ERC received from the Carpenters Union he said, “Those volunteers get our unceasing gratitude, I cannot say enough about their tremendous support, which helped make this dream a reality. Their time and effort is going to help so many kids turn their lives around.”
A plaque will hang at the Peabody Learning Academy to recognize and thank the New England Carpenters Union and the volunteers that made the project possible.
Patrick fires up Carpenters Center A friendship was renewed this week at the Carpenters Center as Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick visited with more than 450 union carpenters to talk about his first term in office and his re-election campaign. He was greeted enthusiastically by members both eager to continue the relationship and fearful of what might happen if Republican Charlie Baker were elected.
Four years ago Patrick joined Organizers from the Carpenters union on a visit to a nonunion site on the North Shore. Despite the rain and threat of arrest, Patrick dove right in, learning firsthand how some contractors in the industry cheat workers out of their wages or basic protections like unemployment or workers' compensation coverage. After his election, Patrick went to work on the underground economy, establishing a Task Force of multiple state agencies to share information and cooperate on enforcement efforts.
Both Patrick and NERCC Executive Secretary-Treasurer Mark Erlich recounted the experience and how it shaped the Patrick administration.
Erlich got the crowd fired up talking about the beating the construction industry has taken over the last two years, it's struggle to recover and the contrasting the positions of Governor Patrick and Charlie Baker on important issues:
"Corporate profits are up, the banks are flush with cash, but they will not lend, they will not spend and, as a result, we don't build," Erlich said. "But that's what Deval Patrick has done. Charlie Baker and Tim Cahill want to slash and burn and eliminate any further investment in public construction.We know what the consequences of that would be"
"Governor Deval Patrick has made it clear that he supports a state prevailing wage law.Charlie Baker opposes it. Governor Deval Patrick re-established the Secretary of Labor position and has put the talented Joanne Goldstein in that position. Baker demonizes unions on tv ads and everywhere else and Tim Cahill could care less if unions played a role in state government.
"Governor Deval Patrick opposed cutting unemployment benefits from 30 to 26 weeks because he recognized the pain that people are experiencing in the depths of this recession.Charlie Baker supported the cuts and Tim Cahill told a talk radio host that Massachusetts benefits are too high and jobless workers collect too long.
"Governor Deval Patrick supports Project Labor Agreements, Charlie Baker opposes them.
"Governor Deval Patrick has made record numbers of labor appointments to important state boards and agencies. You can bet that would not happen under a Baker or Cahill administration."
Govenor Patrick then took the microphone and highighted his efforts to serve not just the bottom line of the budget, but the citizens and the future of the Commonwealth.
"Government is about people, not abstract policy ideas," he said, before talking about groups of unemployed workers he has met who are frustrated, but not necessarily angry, the way they are made out to be by talk radio shows.
"They're not angry, they're scared," Patrick said. "They're not looking at the Governor or the Mayor or others and saying it's their fault. they're not looking to government to solve their problems. They jsut want to know that you see them. That you're worried about them, and that you're doing what you can for them. The whole confidence in the American Dream is up for grabs."
"Charlie Baker doesn't see you. He doesn't see the people behind the choices we have to make. To him, the budget is a math problem. For me, it's about people, human beings. And the hard and difficult and compelling balance that we have to strike.
Patrick then confronted an issue that has been at the forefront of carpenters minds this election season: a casino bill. Saying he proposed the first casino bill and appreciated the help of union carpenters and others to push it forward, he said he wouldn't sign the existing bill because it served connected special interests on Beacon Hill, not workers.
He pledged to continue and win the fight with "a good bill, a jobs creating bill because it will emphasize where the jobs are, which is in the destination resort style casinos and not just wheeling in slot machines to tracks that are connected and are powerful interests on Beacon Hill.
Patrick took questions from several union members, then lingered to shake hands and have one-on-one conversations with members about the election and the construction industry.
"I think Governor Patrick showed that he's interested and concerned with our issues and our members," said Political Director Tom Flynn. "He has a difficult election, but I think he convinced a lot of carpenters to support him and help on his campaign because he's on their side. I think he motivated a lot of union carpenters."
On Friday, October 1st, the New England Carpenters Union hosted the annual Apprenticeship Expo. Students and instructors from thirty-eight schools attended the event. NERCC staff gave each school a guided tour of the training facility to give the students a firsthand look at the work of professional union carpenters.
It was a record turnout for this year’s Apprenticeship Expo, with over 900 students in attendance. The Expo drew these record numbers in spite of the heavy rains that forced some logistical changes to be made to the set up of the event. Additionally, before the first group of students arrived, the training center, along with the rest of the town of Millbury, lost power due to a downed transformer. Training Center staff quickly jumped in to action, preparing generators to power the facility. Luckily, the town’s power was restored in time for the Expo to begin, and the day continued on without a hitch. The Expo was a huge success.
Students attending the event learned about career opportunities in the Carpenters Union. While touring the facilities they were able to see union carpenters showcase their skills in the following areas: Green Construction/Lead Awareness, Best Practices in Health Care Construction, Scaffold Erector Construction, Rough Terrain & Aerial Lift, General Carpentry, Concrete Forms, Interior Systems/Drywall, Interior Finish/Cabinet Install, Floorcovering, Piledriving, Commercial Diving, Mill Cabinet, Alucobond Panel Installation, and Millwright.
Robert Archambault, a teacher from Chicopee Comprehensive High School, brought a small group of students to this year’s Expo. It was the second year his school had attended the event. "This is a great opportunity for our students. It's a real life look at the opportunities available to them after they graduate and what will be expected of them as union carpenters. You can't get better than this."
The following schools attended this year’s Expo: Blackstone Valley Blue Hills Regional Vocational Technical High School Bristol-Plymouth Regional Technical School Cape Cod Regional Technical High School Carpenters Dream Works Chicopee High School Franklin County Tech School Greater Lawrence School Greater Lowell Technical High School Job Corps Connecticut Keefe Technical School Lawrence CPA Leominster Center Tech Ed Lower Pioneer Valley Lynn Vocational Technical High School Madison Park Technical Vocational High School Minute Man Career and Technical High School Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School Nashoba Regional Vocational Technical School Northeast Metropolitan Regional Vocational School North Shore Regional Vocational Old Colony Regional Vocational Technical High School Pathfinder Regional Vocational Technical High School Plymouth South High School Quincy High School Shawsheen Valley Tech High Shriver Job Corps, Devens, MA Silver Lake Regional High School Southeastern Regional Vocational Technical High School Smith Vocational High School South High School South Shore Regional Vocational Technical High School Tantasqua Regional High School Tri County Regional Vocational Technical High School Upper Cape Cod Regional Technical School Westfield Voc Tech High School Westover Job Corps Wm J Dean Vocational Tech High School – Holyoke, MA