Posted by on December 29, 2011 at 11:55 AM
Hats off to Local 94 members Eric Furtado and Robert Andrioli who volunteered their time and labor to build a handicap ramp at a VFW Post in Providence, Rhode Island.
The Post is being reopened by local-area veterans. Creating handicap access to the facility was a crucial component of these preparations.
Posted by on December 29, 2011 at 10:01 AM
Union carpenters turned out for a selectman’s meeting in Ware, MA in opposition of the town’s decision to move forward with the hiring of PDS Engineering & Construction, Inc.. The Town of Ware accepted the bid of PDS for the general contract for its Fire Department, despite the omission of information in bid documents.
The New England Carpenters Labor Management Program filed the bid protest arguing that PDS made material omissions of four lawsuits from its Update Statement. The Update Statement covers matters between the contractor's last DCAM application for certification and the date of the bid. Bidders are instructed that they "must report all requested information not previously reported on that [most recent] application for Prime/General Certificate of Eligibility."
The AG’s office found that that PDS should have disclosed an ongoing personal injury lawsuit on its Update Statement. Normally such a decision would have required automatic rejection of PDS. However, based on the Supreme Judicial Court's decision in Fordyce v. Hanover, 457 Mass. 248 (2010), this finding the AG’s office determined that the Town of Ware has the discretion to accept the bid of PDS, despite the omission of information in their original bid.
Ware- A Springfield carpenters’ union opposes the town’s decision to award the general contract for a new fire station to PDS Engineering & Construction Inc., the lowest bidder, because the Connecticut company did not reveal in bid documents that it was involved in seven lawsuits.
The New England Regional Council of Carpenters Local 108 filed a bid protest with the state Attorney General’s office, which issued a report saying PDS notified the town of three ongoing suits but failed to mention four others, including one from a woman who claims she was injured by an improperly installed precast wheel stop.
Posted by on December 28, 2011 at 11:15 AM
The Lowell Sun reported on bannering by union carpenters, who were highlighting both quality issues with CTA and their questionable selection of subcontractors, at the Tewksbury Town Hall.
This is not the first time the company has appeared in the Lowell Sun. CTA received bad press in late October in regards to a school project in Billerica, MA.
Posted by on December 20, 2011 at 10:31 AM
Elected officials, community leaders and members of the construction community gathered to cut a ceremonial ribbon for the new Taunton Courthouse Friday. The new, 147,000 square foot LEED Certified building was completed well ahead of schedule and $6 million under budget by Daniel O'Connell's Sons using a Project Labor Agreement.
The building houses the Taunton District Court; Bristol County Juvenile Court; Bristol County Probate and Family court and the Southeast Housing Court.
Included among the attendees were: Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray, State Seantor Mark Pacheco, Secretary of Administration and Finance Jay Gonzales and Carole Cornelison, Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Capital Asset Management.
Photos are courtesy of Ron Rheaume. For more photos and infomration regarding this project, visit Daniel Connell's Sons online portfolio.
Posted by on December 16, 2011 at 10:29 AM
John Cunningham, Business Manager for Carpenters Local 210, has written an opinion piece, published in the Stamford Advocate today highlighting some very dangerous trends in the area's construction industry. A young trades worker was killed when he was blown off a roof in a very preventable accident. He and his brothers were owed more than $6,000 in wages, according to reports. Stop Work Orders issued against contractors who don't carry workers' compensation insurance for their crews or who misclassify workers to avoid payroll taxes and their share of other "safety net" programs are becoming more and more common. Major projects being done by major developers are involved.
The last few months should serve as something of a wake-up call for everyone from workers to elected officials and everyone in between. It is especially necessary that general contractors, construction managers and developers begin to pay more attention to what is actually happening on their sites.
Union carpenters have also begun to make more noise in the streets, demonstrating and asking people to pay a more attention to these very serious issues. The industry needs basic standards for how work is done and how workers are treated. Contractors who only focus on getting jobs, investors interested in only profits and elected officials interested in only ribbon cuttings and job creation statistics can not be relied on to follow through. Union carpenters intend to lead the fight.
Posted by on December 16, 2011 at 10:07 AM
December 16, 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Mark Erlich
Carpenters continue mass demonstrations at Marriott Copley
Members of the New England Regional Council of Carpenters, Painters District Council #35 and other Boston Building Trades unions will be demonstrating at the Marriott Copley Place this Saturday, December 17 from 11am-1pm to call attention to substandard conditions for construction workers renovating 1100 hotel rooms. Demonstrations featuring as many as 200 members have been held two to three times a week for the last month and will continue indefinitely.
Host Hotels, the owner of the downtown hotel, hired Baystate Services, Inc as a general contractor. Baystate and its subcontractors pay substandard wages, and minimal or no benefits. In addition, many of the subcontractors illegally misclassify their employees as "independent contractors", a violation of state and federal tax and insurance laws. Three subcontractors on the site, RB Wallcovering, of Jacksonville Beach, Florida, Jayson Connor, a Marshfield, MA flooring contractor and Installation Plus, a Corona, CA contractor were issued Stop Work Orders (attached) by the Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents within the last five weeks for failure to properly cover employees with workers’ compensation insurance.
“Host Hotels is part of an unfortunate trend to drive standards down and jeopardize middle-class careers in construction," says Mark Erlich, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the New England Regional Council of Carpenters. "Host is taking advantage of the recession to bring in low-waged out-of-state workers and hiring contractors that participate in the growing underground economy.”
“If guests used the same logic as Host Hotels—that price was the only issue for making a decision—would any of them stay at the Copley Marriott?" asks Jeffrey Sullivan, Business Manager of Painters District Council 35. "Guests pay up to $400 a night while these trades workers make as little as $12 an hour. With room occupancy in Boston back to pre-recession levels, Host has no excuse for these kinds of choices."
Video of past demonstrations can be viewed in the nercc.org video gallery under the “Workers Rights” heading.
Posted by on December 13, 2011 at 03:21 PM
Connecticut State Police last week arrested John Dosky on multiple felony charges of nonpayment of wages for work performed at the Chelsea Piers project, according to the Stamford Advocate. Dosky is the owner of American Building Group, for whom Javiar Salinas was working when he was killed in late October after being blown off a 50-foot roof by wind. Salinas was not wearing a harness or any safety equipment and no ABG employees were given safety training.
Salinas and his brothers are owed close to $8,000 from Dosky and American Building Group, which was one of three companies on the site issued Stop Work Orders after the accident for misclassifying workers as independent contractors.
Chelsea Piers is a high profile sports complex being built on 28 acres of land that formerly housed offices and manufacturing for the Clairol company. Just hours before Salinas' death, NBC Sports announced plans to move 450 jobs to the site.
Union carpenters have been demonstrating regularly at the Chelsea Piers site and plan to be front and center for Dosky's court appearance on Wednesday.
Posted by on December 13, 2011 at 02:44 PM
Union carpenters joined by union painters, electricians and members of UNITE/HERE (hotel workers) will continue to demonstrate against the undermining of area standards at the Boston Copley Marriott hotel. Bay State Interiors has been hired to renovate rooms and does not pay carpenters area standard wages and benefits on all of its projects. More than 200 workers turned out at a demonstration last week and another 100 attended a demonstration Tuesday. Demonstrations will be scheduled regularly each week, including this Wednesday from 3:00-5 p.m. and Saturday December 17, 2011, 11:00am-1:00pm.
Posted by on December 12, 2011 at 03:39 PM
Still trying to explain away their use of a debarred contractor on a school project in Billerica, CTA construction is now getting bad press in nearby Burlington, Massachusetts. The Burlington Patch reported on bannering by union carpenters in front of the Memorial School, who were highlighting both quality issues with CTA and their questionable selection of subcontractors.
In addition to their decision to hire Action Floors both in Billerica and Burlington, CTA also let out work in Burlington to Advanced Walls and Ceilings, a company that has twice been cited and fined by the state for failing to adhere to wage laws.
Action Floors and CTA came under fire in Billerica when the engineering firm hired to work on the project sent a scathing letter criticizing supervision of the project and the poor work done as a result.
Posted by on December 08, 2011 at 02:38 PM
Earlier this week, President Barack Obama gave a speech in Osawatomie, Kansas. The full text of the speech is available here on the Washington Post’s site. It’s worth reading at least a bit of it because it’s widely believed it contains the major themes Obama plans to feature in his re-election bid next year. That should be good news for most Americans.
The speech references President Teddy Roosevelt, who not coincidentally gave a significant speech in Osawatomie himself, and compares some of the philosophies and battles Roosevelt took on when he was president to current day issues to which Obama seems to be rededicating his efforts. The speech references both Tea Party and Occupy movements, taking advantage of the change in the national political dialogue perhaps begun by the former and energized by the later. The themes and principles Obama espouses and recalls from Roosevelt will sound familiar to most union members, making it that much more meaningful that they are coming from the President of the United States.
Posted by on December 06, 2011 at 12:38 PM
Demonstration for area standards at the Boston Copley Marriott.
Posted by on December 06, 2011 at 11:45 AM
If you think a crackdown on illegal immigrants will help Americans by opening up job opportunities, you may be right. But it's not going to help most unemployed Americans. What it might do is reveal some of the real reasons immigration reform has been stalled: employers really like very cheap, very vulnerable workers. Have you heard what’s going on in Alabama, where immigrant farm workers have fled after a tough new immigration law was passed? Here’s a hint: it isn’t lower unemployment and higher wages.
Posted by on December 06, 2011 at 08:17 AM
Misclassification of workers is rampant in the construction industry. If you are a union carpenter, you and your fellow Brothers and Sisters are being denied work opportunities because of this issue. It is used as a tactic by nonunion subcontractors who do it to artificially lower their bids. Union contractors--and nonunion ones that play by the rules--are put at at significant competitive disadvantage.
Click below to see a story done by CBS News about how misclassification is being used in the trucking industry. Though it is a different industry, the story gives a very clear idea of how and why employers use this kind of scheme in the construction industry.
Posted by on December 02, 2011 at 12:17 PM
Union Carpenters in the Stamford, Connecticut area turned out in force yesterday to call public attention to problems at Chelsea Piers, where a worker was blown off a 50-foot unfinished roof in October. The worker, Javier Salinas, was not wearing a harness or other safety equipment when a strong wind blew him off, causing multiple blunt force trauma, causing his death. The accident was completely and easily preventable and Salinas' death was tragic and needless.
AP Construction hired American Building Group, for whom Salinas and two of his brothers were working. Following the accident, American Building Group and two other subcontractors on the site were issued "Stop Work Orders" for misclassifying workers as independent contractors or nonpayment of wages. American Buidling Group promised to make a donation for Salinas' funeral, but reneged.Sadly, two of the workers owed money were Javier Salinas' brothers, who were owed more than $6,000.They wre going to use that money to provide a decent burial for Javier.
The Stamford Advocate covered the protest, quoting union members.
Chris Bachant, a union carpenter from Waterford, stood near the McDonald's parking lot and held a large sign addressed to AP Construction that questioned whether the company "manages" profits or safety.
"It doesn't matter to me whether someone is non-union or union," he said. "I don't want to see someone get hurt."
Ted Duarte, a union organizer at the New England Regional Council of Carpenters, said the unethical and illegal methods used by some contractors to shave operating costs end up hurting licensed, unionized construction workers, who must undergo safety training and keep up their certifications. The practices undercut local contractors, he said.
"If you play by the rules, you're not playing on a level playing field," Duarte said.
Posted by on December 01, 2011 at 11:23 AM
A news story on a FOX affiliate in Wisconsin focused on the need for craft training in the state. The state's education superintendent visited a training center for the North Central States Regional Council of Carpenters, a UBC affiliate, where apprentices are learning AND earning. Union apprentice Evan Gibbs is highlighted in the piece, talking about how he came to be an apprentice and what it will mean for his future.
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