Local 1305 member Dan Rego, who is a NERCC Organizer and Fall River City Councilor, is shaking things up in the Southeastern Massachusetts city. A few weeks ago, he raised concerns over issues with work being done by the Fall River Housing Authority. Since then, the sparks have started flying.
Rego spoke at a Housing Authority meeting and reported on conversations he had with workers on several FRHA projects in the city, some of which were receiving federal funding. Several workers had reported being misclassified as independent contractors, not being paid the legally mandated prevailing wage or not being paid at all. Rego told the Board that he had referred all of the allegations and evidence to proper state authorities.
The Housing Authority went into immediate executive session, during which they appointed their own independent investigator. The story quickly hit the Fall River Herald News. The paper then followed up with a vicious attack on Rego, questioning not only his motives, but actions by Rego and the union in the past to protect industry standards. This in a city where legal violations on public construction projects are not unheard of.
Congratulations on a job well done to eight union carpenters who pitched in a lot of time and effort to help the Rebuilding Together Boston Program on their National Rebuilding Day. The women members, who participated through the Sisters in the Brotherhood program, worked on three sites in the city, adding experienced, skilled hands to the effort.
Rebuilding Together Boston works on an annual basis to repair and renovate the homes of economically disadvantaged homeowners (including the elderly, veterans, families with children, single parent households, the physically challenged and others in need) as well as non-profit-owned facilities (community centers, schools, worship centers, etc.) in the City of Boston. RTB provides its services at no cost to recipients due to the generous support of foundations, corporations, individuals and vendors.
This year's projects on National Rebuilding Day included: six homes in Mattapan, Dorchester and Roxbury; Pine Street Inn Veterans’ housing, a residence for formerly homeless women, and the Nazareth Residence for Mothers and Children.
Members involved in the effort included: Joan Bennett, Local 33; Theresa Haymon, Local 33; Maureen Owen-Ewings, Local 67; Marcia Williams-White, Local 33; Karen Blandino, Local 67; Judy Sullivan, Local 67; Mikey Myles, Local 67 and Liz Skidmore, Local 118.
The Connecticut Department of Labor issued “Stop Work” orders against 13 construction companies in recent weeks for misclassifying workers as “independent contractors.” The orders were issued in multiple communities where contractors were found to have misclassified workers for the purpose of avoiding their obligations to carry workers’ compensation and paying federal and state unemployment taxes, including unemployment.
One of the "Stop Work" orders was issued against NLP Contractors at the New London Plaza. Union carpenters have been protesting at the site, where renovations are being done and where North Carolina-based SandovalConstruction has already been issued a "Stop Work " order. (earlier post)
“Stop Work” orders result in the halting of all activity at a cited company’s worksite, as well as a $300 civil penalty for each day the company does not carry workers’ compensation coverage as required by law.
According to a release on the "Stop Work" orders by the Department of Labor: “in the past 12 months the agency has inspected 167 construction projects and reviewed the records of 688 contractors. A total of 281 “Stop Work” orders have been issued during this time, with 116 identified as being issued to out‐of‐state contractors. Since October 2007, a total of 735 “Stop Work” orders have been issued with $285,000 collected in civil penalties for the misclassification of workers. Additionally, referrals have been made to the Department of Revenue Services and the Labor Department’s Tax Division audit unit for further investigation.”
This blog post was updated form a previous post on 5/16 to include links to additional media coverage and information about the New London Plaza site.
Dan Rego, a union carpenter and organizer who successfully ran for City Council in Fall River, is starting to shake things up in the Southeastern Massachusetts City. At a Monday night hearing for the Fall River Housing Authority, Rego raised questions about the agency's awarding of construction contracts and the payment and treatment of workers.
Carpenters Local 118 in New Hampshire recently announced that is has endorsed the candidacy of former state senator Maggie Hassan for Governor. The affiliate of the New England Regional Council of Carpenters was the first union to endorse her campaign. She will face fellow former state senator Jackie Cilley in a Democratic primary to replace retiring incumbent Democratic Governor John Lynch.
“There is too much at stake for any of us to sit on the sidelines in this election. We need to support a leader who can win in November and that leader is Maggie Hassan,” said Brother Joe Donahue. “We’ve worked with many candidates and public officials over the years and Maggie’s records as a State Senator and Senate Majority Leader is second to none in demonstrating a firm commitment to New Hampshire’s working families.”
“Maggie is a strong and consistent advocate for the issues important to working people in New Hampshire: protecting workers’ rights to collectively bargain, standing up against attempts to make New Hampshire a so-called “right to work” state, and increasing the minimum wage.”
“I’m honored to have earned the support of the Carpenters,” said Hassan. “They represent some of the best and brightest trades people in our state and I’m excited to have them on board our growing campaign. I’m also proud to have stood with them in their ongoing efforts to prevent the abuse of workers in the construction industry.”
Braintree, Massachusetts-based Northeast Interiors has been ordered by the state to pay $20,000 in fines and make restitution of almost $16,000 to twelve employees. The company cheated workers on three projects in Arlington, Swampscott and Salem.
Civil citations were issued against Northeast Interiors and owner Kevin Fish for failure to pay prevailing wages for work performed ($5,000), failure to submit true and accurate certified payroll records ($7,500) and failure to keep true and accurate payroll records ($7,500). Violations occured when the company was doing work at Arlington Menotomy Manner, Swampscott Thomson Building and Salem Rainbow Terrace.
New England Cable News last week reported on the work being done to rebuild Jackson Square in Boston. The piece includes an interview with the developer and also Charles Cofield. Cofield grew up in the area and is now working there as the carpenter steward and a member of Local 67.
Massachusetts Democratic Senate Candidate Elizabeth Warren was in Washington this week where she visited UBC headquarters and met with General President Doug McCarron, Secretary-Treasurer Andy Silins, UBC Political Director Tom Flynn, NERCC Executive Secretary-Treasurer Mark Erlich and NERCC Political Director Steve Joyce.
Warren will be meeting rank-and-file union members at a Town Hall meeting next week. The event will be held Wednesday, May 9 at 5:30 PM at 1199SEUI's Union hall on Mount Vernon Street in Dorchester. All carpenters are encouraged to attend and bring their families to this important event. Warren will talk to members about herself and where she stands on issues important to us.