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Carpenters Center catches Globe's eye Posted by on

The Boston Globe and today featured a story about the Carpenters Center being built by the New England Regional Council of Carpenters.

Motorists stuck on the Southeast Expressway soon will have something besides radios and cellphones to grab their attention: trainees learning carpentry at the new Carpenters Center in Dorchester.

The striking $19 million, 75,000-square-foot home of the New England Regional Council of Carpenters is being readied for a Feb. 1 opening on the edge of the expressway. At drivers?? eye level, and less than 30 feet from the southbound travel lane, will be oversize windows that look in on the training center for area carpenters.
The entire story can be read here

NERCC's Carpenters Center catches Globe's eye Posted by on

The Boston Globe and today featured a story about the Carpenters Center being built by the New England Regional Council of Carpenters.

Motorists stuck on the Southeast Expressway soon will have something besides radios and cellphones to grab their attention: trainees learning carpentry at the new Carpenters Center in Dorchester.

The striking $19 million, 75,000-square-foot home of the New England Regional Council of Carpenters is being readied for a Feb. 1 opening on the edge of the expressway. At drivers?? eye level, and less than 30 feet from the southbound travel lane, will be oversize windows that look in on the training center for area carpenters.
The entire story can be read here

TAGS: Media, Nercc

Carpenters Going Green: Point Breakdown Category 3- Energy and Atmosphere Posted by on

8 Points

1. Optimize Energy Performance Exceed the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers ASHRAE 90.1 Energy Standard by 10.5%
2. Optimize Energy Performance Exceed ASHRAE 90.1 by 14%
3. Optimize Energy Performance Exceed ASHRAE 90.1 by 17.5%
4. Optimize Energy Performance Exceed ASHRAE 90.1 by 21%
5. Optimize Energy Performance Exceed ASHRAE 90.1 by 24.5%
6. Optimize Energy Performance Exceed ASHRAE 90.1 by 28%
7. Optimize Energy Performance Exceed ASHRAE 90.1 by 31.5%

The Carpenters Center was modeled in order to predict how much the design of the building would save money in energy use per year. Comparing it to a typical building using the ASHRAE 90.1-2004 Energy Standard, the project uses 31.5% less energy then a typical building

8. Enhanced Refrigerant Management - all HVAC units for this project are specified to use R-410a refrigerant, and therefore do not use either Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) or Hydrofluorocarbons (HCFC) refrigerants.

Then and now Posted by on

February 2009

December 2009

Carpenters Going Green: Point Breakdown Category 2- Water Efficiency Posted by on

3 Points Attained

1.Water Efficient Landscaping ?C The project is required to reduce water consumption by 50%. The planting plan at the Carpenters Center involves using native trees, shrubs, and groundcovers that have low water needs. The plan reduces potable water consumption by 73.5%.

2.Water Use Reduction ?C 20% Reduction from baseline water use

3.Water Use Reduction ?C 30% Reduction from baseline water use. The Carpenters Center has low-flow toilets, low-flow urinals, and low-flow faucets with sensors throughout the building.

A similar building with an occupancy of 200 persons using conventional fixtures and water closets uses 478,400 gallons of potable water per year. This project will only use 294,320 gallons per year ?C a 38% savings per year.

Kerry Sponsors Bill Aimed at Misclassification of Workers Posted by on

Full story here??

Sen. John F. Kerry, D-Mass., introduced legislation this week that would toughen standards for employers in transportation and other industries that use independent contractors.

The bill introduced Dec. 15 is aimed at tightening a provision in the tax law that businesses argue simplifies the tax code but critics say allows employers to misclassify workers and avoid payments of benefits and unemployment taxes.

Kerry is targeting Section 530 of the Revenue Act of 1978, known as the ??Safe Harbor?? provision. The provision allows employers to classify workers as contractors for employment tax purposes without undergoing a common law test of their status, unless the employer??s classification has no ??reasonable basis?? or fails certain requirements.

Kerry??s bill, the Taxpayer Responsibility, Accountability and Consistency Act of 2009, would require companies to file reports with the Internal Revenue Service on each corporate provider of property and service to whom they pay more than $600 a year.

It would make additional changes to Section 530 to reduce abuses, Kerry and the bill??s co-sponsors, all Democrats, said. ??This is about leveling the playing field and ensuring that America's workers receive the protections and pay they deserve,?? he said.

Carpenters to rally for jobs Posted by on

Carpenters will rally on Thursday, December 17th at 4:00 pm at Bronstein Park in Manchester, NH, located on the corner of Hanover and Beech Street, in the hopes of jump-starting a large project at Manchester??s Job Corps Center.

The project was brought to a halt in November when North Branch Construction, Inc. and the Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. (ABC) filed a bid protest that put an end to the project.

Any and all members are encouraged to attend the rally. Labor leaders, elected officials, youth leaders, and clergy and will be speaking at the event. Hot soup will be served.

For more information about the rally, contact John Jackson at 603-365-0426.

To learn more, visit

Carpenters Going Green: Point Breakdown Category 1- Sustainable Sites Posted by on

8 Points Attained

1. Site Selection - the site was formerly developed and consists entirely of an existing building and paving.

2. Development Density and Community Connectivity - a dense urban site. Within a .5 mile radius of the building??s main entrance there are at least 2 zones that can be designated as residential zones and many basic services within pedestrian access. Basic services include retail, grocery, banks, restaurants, places of worship, schools and a fire station.

3. Public Transportation Access - located .4 miles from Andrews Station and .3 miles from JFK/UMass. MBTA bus stop in front of building.

4. Bicycle Storage and Changing Rooms -providing covered and secured bicycle storage for a minimum of 5% of the peak building users. The bike racks are located in bike storage room on Level 1 of the garage. One showering facility is required for the 167 occupents - located on level 2 of building.

5. Low-Emission & Fuel Efficient Vehicles - providing preferred parking spaces for low-emitting and fuel-efficient vehicles for 5% of the total parking capacity. Spaces will be signed for low-emitting and fuel-efficient vehicles and will be close to main entrance.

6. Stormwater Design ?C the project will capture and treat 90% of the average annual rainfall and remove 80% of total suspended solids. There are five 8?? diameter drywells surrounded in crushed stone that will act as a retention system with capacity for infiltration.

7. Heat Island Effect ?C Non-Roof - 50% of the site hardscape (roads, sidewalks, courtyards and parking lots) have a Solar Reflectance Index (SRI) of at least 29. 63.9% of the project??s hardscape meets that minimum by using a light grey concrete (parking garage deck).

8. Heat Island Effect ?C Roof - A white high albedo roof for the entire surface ?C Carlisle SynTec??s Sure-weld TPO white membrane roofing. The roof has a Solar Reflectance Index of 110, which exceeds minimum requirement of SRI 78.

CT papers cover Stop Work orders Posted by on

The State of Connecticut continues its fight against misclassification of employees and has issued five more Stop Work orders on a job in Fairfield. The orders were posted at the Patterson Club, a new country club being built by general contractor AP Construction.

NERCC Organizer Ted Duarte and Bob Kravitz, owner of union company Whitehawk Construction Services, were quoted in news stories about the action taken by the Connecticut Labor Department:

Bob Kravitz, owner of Whitehawk Construction Services LLC, of Canton, said he bid to do the millwork installation at the Patterson Club, but didn't get the job.

And it was the millwork installers who were cited by the state at the Patterson Club.

"I bid on a number of packages," Kravitz said of his attempt to win the work. He said the selection process included showing the potential client the jobs he's done at Yale University.

"But then the trail went cold," he said. And the job went to someone else.

Kravitz said this is not the first time it's happened. He's lost jobs before to nonunion shops. Sometimes he ends up with the work anyway, he said, because the job gets botched. But, he said, it's never as big a job as it would have been if he'd gotten the project in the first place.
How misclassification works and why it hurts union carpenters and contractors is explained very well in the article, making it a good independent information source to forward to elected officials and others involved in the construction industry. It is available online here.

Gangi featured speaking on stimulus Posted by on

Carpenters Local 111 Business Manager Joe Gangi attended an event with Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Congresswoman Niki Tsongas yesterday to discuss the impact stimulus money is having on job creation. Gangi was interviewed for the report on New England Cable News:

Unions being heard in health care debate Posted by on

Unions are fighting hard on Capitol Hill to prevent a tax on many union health plans from becoming a final part of a national overhaul of the health care system. The Associated Press covered the issue last week saying

At issue for the labor unions is a proposed 40 percent excise tax on insurance companies, keyed to premiums paid on health care plans costing more than $8,500 annually for individuals and $23,000 for families. The tax would raise some $150 billion over 10 years to help pay for the Democrats' nearly $1 trillion health care bill. The legislation, which appears to be edging closer to passage, would revamp the U.S. health care system with new requirements on individuals and employers designed to extend health coverage to more than 30 million uninsured Americans.

The plan would essentially tax people who have been buying their health care in order to pay for those who have not. Similar measures are already in place in many states in the country to provide funds for a ??free care pool?? or ??uncompensated care pool?? whereby medical providers are reimbursed by the state for services given to those who do not have coverage.

Union contractor makes valuable donation Posted by on

Jay Cashman, Inc. has been a union contractor for many, many years. The business--based in Quincy, Massachusetts and with offices in Boston, New York and Florida--does heavy civil and marine construction throughout the United States. Jay Cashman also acts as a developer and generous member of the business community and has been a sponsor of the "Carpenters Cure Fore Ovarian Cancer Classic."

His latest act of philanthropy was to donate more than 27 acres of company-owned land in Stoughton to a YMCA which it surrounds.

Company must pay for insurance, unemployment fraud Posted by on

A Massachusetts roofing company pled guilty Friday to 20 counts of unemployment fraud, four counts of larceny over $250, 60 counts of aiding or assiting in fraudlent tax returns and three counts of workers compensation fraud. Richard Copeland, owner of Copeland Contracting, Inc. (CCI) was given three-and-a-half years of probation and will pay $146,851 in restitution, according to a press release from the Attorney General's office. He was also ordered to complete 100 hours of community service.

From the release:

During the period of November 2003 through January 2008, Copeland held workers?? compensation policies with three different insurance companies. During that time, Copeland avoided paying the proper premium for these policies by misclassifying the type of work his employees performed. Copeland classified his employees as carpenters instead of roofers. During this five-year time period, three workers suffered serious injuries on work sites where CCI was doing business. When the injured workers filed workers?? compensation claims with CCI??s insurance companies, the insurance companies discovered that none of the injured employees were listed on CCI??s payroll. One of the insurance companies then contacted the Massachusetts Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) as a result of the discrepancies between the payroll records and an injured worker??s claim.
The case was investigated by the Attorney General's Insurance and Unemployment Fraud Division as well as the state Insurance Fraud Bureau.

Carpenters Center Going Green Posted by on

The green building movement arose out of the desire for more energy efficient and environmentally friendly building practices. It is a way to minimize both resource consumption and the impact building has on the environment. Green construction methods can be integrated into buildings at any stage, from design and construction, to renovation and demolition.

Green design and building practices significantly reduce or eliminate negative environmental impacts and create sustainable buildings. The most common standard for building green is the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). The LEED Green Building Rating System, developed by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), is a nationally accepted standard for the design, construction and operation of green buildings. According to the USGBC website there are 35,000 projects currently participating in the LEED system, comprising over 4.5 billion square feet of construction space in all 50 states and 91 countries.

LEED for New Construction is a rating system where building projects earn points for satisfying criteria designed to address specific environmental impacts inherent in the design, construction, operations and management of a building.

These points are grouped into six environmental categories:
1. Sustainable Sites, 14 point maximum
2. Water Efficiency, 5 point maximum
3. Energy and Atmosphere, 17 point maximum
4. Materials and Resources, 13 point maximum
5. Indoor Environmental Quality, 15 point maximum
6. Innovation & Design Process, 5 point maximum.

Points are achieved by meeting or exceeding specified requirements in each category. LEED for New Construction ratings are then awarded according to the following scale: Certified, 26-32 points; Silver, 33-38 points; Gold, 39-51 points; Platinum, 52-69 points.

Upon completion, the Carpenters Center will be on target to qualify for LEED Certified status, aiming to receive all 32 of the 26-32 points required.

In the coming weeks, the point breakdown for the certification of the Carpenters Center will be outlined in this blog.

Exterior Systems 90% complete Posted by on

The process of installing exterior panels is 90% complete. The final sections, which will be completed in the coming weeks, include the Alucobond paneling located at the loading dock and a section of panels at the northern most part of the building.

Crews have finished installing the cedar accents on the exterior of the building. They are now installing cedar in the main lobby pavilion. These accents will be found in the area adjacent to the main stairs and on the terrace, adjacent to the pavilion.

Facts about the cedar being installed at the Carpenters Center (as previously posted)

  • The western red cedar has a custom tongue and groove shape, giving it a unique appearance and stronger interlocking connection than typical tongue and groove products.
  • The cedar is from 100 year old trees and has roughly 15 rings per inch, making it a long-lasting product with an expected lifetime of 50 years.
  • The cedar sealant is a water-soluble silicone based water-proofer that is less harsh on the environment than oil based products and emits no VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds).

Obama focuses on job creation Posted by on

Though early talk about a federal stimulus bill centered on economic growth and recovery, some felt too much was invested in tax cuts. And while Wall Street seems to be doing better, the talk of jobs has turned troublesome. More and more, mentions are being made of a "jobless recovery," a startling turn for those who imagined the stimulus bill serving as a job creating machine as the WWII spending efforts are remembered.

So it comes as welcome news that President Barack Obama is now talking about investment in actual job creation. His proposal would take advantage of unused money intended for bailouts of banks and financial institutions. There is resistance from the right, but Obama seems determined to try to use that unused money to both pay down some debt, but stimulate job growth.

In a speech at the Brookings Institution, Obama said he wants to give small businesses tax breaks for new hires and equipment purchases. He also wants to expand American Recovery and Reinvestment Act programs and spend some $50 billion more on roads, bridges, aviation and water projects.

Finally, Obama would offer consumers rebates for retro-fitting their homes to consume less energy.

A new fan of Cape Wind Posted by on

National Grid has reached an agreement to buy power from Cape Wind when the project is built.

Crews are busy completing work on third floor Posted by on

Painting, with the exception of the final coat and touch ups, which will both happen after the flooring is installed, is complete on the third floor. Ceiling installation is also complete on the third floor, the lights have also been installed.

The third floor bathrooms are nearly complete. Floorlayers working for SMR Flooring have completed the installation of slate tile on the floors and ceramic tile on the wet walls. Plumbers with E.M. Duggan have installed the toilets.

All of the case work and cabinetry on third floor is complete. This installation, along with the wood paneling was done by carpenters working for Archer Corp. Both the case work/cabinetry and the wood paneling were manufactured by Millwork One in Providence, RI. The paneling was installed in the hallway off the reception area, inside the large conference room and break room and along the hallway near the conference room at the southeast corner of the building.

All interior glass has been measured and will be installed in the coming weeks.

Green area renamed Posted by on

The Carpenters Union worked in conjunction with neighbors in the area to spruce up the pedestrian cut-though located on the corner of Dorchester Ave. and Howell Street.

The park has been renamed Paul??s Triangle in memory of long time Howell Street resident and community advocate Paul Markilis. Mr. Markilis?? family still resides on the street.

The neighborhood surrounding the park and the Carpenters Center is known as the ??Polish Triangle.?? In this area, Dorchester Avenue, Boston Street and Columbia road converge, literally, into a triangle that extends out into South Boston.

The triangular design of the pergola built by the Carpenters Union is part of an effort to brand the Polish Triangle neighborhood.

Desmond Rohan, neighbor and member of the McCormick Civic Association, which is involved in various beautification efforts throughout the community, including Paul??s Triangle, recently thanked the Carpenters Union saying, ??Your efforts will certainly make it possible to continue improving the area and without your support we would not have made the progress we have to date.??

The McCormack Civic Association, through the support of local merchants and businesses, recently hung wreaths for the holiday season along Dorchester Ave. To learn more about this group, visit their website at

Step one: diagnose the problem Posted by on

Efforts by Union Carpenters or other advocates to uncover bad deeds often run into a wall of ignorance or denial. But two prominently featured stories on today shine a bright light on some significant issues in the construction industry and elsewhere that clearly need some attention.

The first relates to public work being awarded to contractors despite their previous violations of various laws and their failure to disclose those violations as required by law.

The story focuses on stimulus money given to companies for paving projects, but the lack of oversight is clearly a problem that carries into other projects at the state and local level. At it's worst, the problem is intentional, as awarding authorities ignore likely or confirmed violations of prequalification or bidding laws in order to hire the contractor that simply has the lowest price.

A clear example of this can be found in Hanover, where the town awarded a public school project to Callahan Construction, despite multiple warnings from the Attorney General's office that the company had misled the town. At issue there was the company's attempt to prequalify for the project by taking credit for similar work that was done by another company. Though they claim to be a successor, they did not disclose financial problems they would've been required to include in documents if that were the case.

The second is about the massive settlement Wal-Mart just reached with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. This time out, the company is paying $40 million to almost 90,000 workers for illegally lowering workers pay by refusing to pay overtime, manipulating time cards and making workers skip legally mandated breaks.

Yes, 90,000 workers. Hardly a mistake with paperwork. And don't make the mistake of thinking Wal-Mart is being a good corporate citizen by settling the suit; it was filed in 2001!

0.88 Posted by on

As of November 30th, construction of the Carpenters Center is 88% complete!                           

Union trades workers resent backlash Posted by on

Full story here....

A majority of Americans now say unions are bad for the nation, according to Gallup polls. And the loss of two big trade shows at McCormick Place, for which the expense of union help was blamed, is bound to provoke more grumbling about organized labor in Chicago, traditionally one of the most loyal of union towns.

At the office building construction site at the corner of Michigan Avenue and Monroe Street, the talk among union workers the other day was tinged with bitterness. Many of the workers said they think they get a bad rap.

But at Gage, a fashionable cafe just a block from the pounding hammers and buzzing saws, Steve Thompson, a cyber-executive, said he considered $40-an-hour pay ??unreasonable?? for the crowd in steel-toe boots, ??given their education and training.??

To workers in the trades, that kind of talk is as familiar as the freezing wind that slaps their faces on outdoor job sites, sometimes while working on a six-inch wide steel beam on the 75th floor.

Union Carpenters praised in Maine Posted by on

Union Carpenters were given a public pat on the back last week for work they're doing with area residents to winterize their homes. A woman who was the recipient of the good will effort wrote to the Portland Press Herald to give an enthusiastic thanks.

Worcester Crowne Plaza hits tough times Posted by on

The Worcester Crowne Plaza, which ran into some trouble (here and here) recently over construction issues at their hotel, has been taken into receivership. The Worcester Telegram-Gazette reports the owner defaulted on a $16.3 million mortgage.

"A receiver has taken control of the Crowne Plaza Hotel at Lincoln Square weeks after the hotel??s owner, Lodgian Inc., defaulted on $16.3 million in mortgage debt, according to a filing yesterday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Lodgian, based in Atlanta, reported that David Buddemeyer of Driftwood Hospitality Management LLC took possession of the hotel Nov. 19. Mr. Buddemeyer is now ??holding, operating, managing and maintaining?? the property on behalf of Wells Fargo Bank, a trustee for holders of certain Wachovia Bank Commercial Mortgage Trust certificates, Lodgian reported.

Mr. Buddemeyer was appointed receiver in a Nov. 20 order by Judge F. Dennis Saylor in U.S. District Court in Worcester, according to court filings."
"The Worcester Telegram-Gazette reported in June that the hotel would face a financial backlash as a result of it's construction decisions.
As a result of the controversy, three unions have pulled their conferences from the Crowne Plaza, and one prominent local politician said he??ll try to block the statewide Democratic convention from using the hotel.

The New England Regional Council of Carpenters, of which Local 107 is a member, has pulled the apprenticeship conference scheduled for October. The conference, which draws 500 people over three days, has been held at the Crowne Plaza for a decade. Its organizers are looking for another venue in Worcester for the event, according to Mr. Thompson.

The AFL-CIO of Massachusetts had scheduled its statewide conference at the Crowne Plaza in September, according to Joseph P. Carlson, president of the AFL-CIO of Central Massachusetts.

The AFL-CIO conference, which will draw 300 to 350 attendees over three days, will now be held at the Newton Marriott. Mr. Carlson said that in addition to losing conference fees and meals for all the attendees over three days, the hotel will probably lose 1,000 to 1,200 hotel room stays as well.

??It??s foolishness that the Crowne Plaza couldn??t find local people to do this work,?? Mr. Carlson said. ??We??re showing our displeasure by taking our dollars somewhere else.?? Mr. Carlson, who lives in Worcester, said it was a ??real shame?? that the city lost the conference.

The Massachusetts Nursing Association had scheduled to run several training programs at the hotel in September, but has moved them to another hotel in Worcester. In addition, the union is moving its 2010 statewide convention from the Crowne Plaza to another Worcester hotel. That three-day conference usually draws 300 to 350 people from around the state.

??We can??t utilize that facility when it is not supporting our fellow worker members,?? said Lynne Starbard, president of the MNA??s Central Massachusetts branch.

The Crowne Plaza would have been one of three or four likely hosts for the Democratic state convention to be held in Worcester next June.

Worcester County Sheriff Guy W. Glodis said he will attempt to convince Democrats not to use the Crowne Plaza for the convention. He said he will pledge not to hold any fundraisers or functions at the hotel ??until this issue is resolved.??

??It just doesn??t make any sense, and it sends the wrong message,?? he said. ??It??s not a union-nonunion issue. It??s an issue of workers, of local people looking for work.??

Neighborhood improvement project Posted by on

The Carpenters Union has joined efforts with neighbors in the community to spruce up the pedestrian cut-through located on the corner of Dorchester Ave. and Howell Street.

A set of stairs were installed in the green area connecting Dorchester Ave to Washburn Street. Members of Piledrivers Local 56 fabricated the treads in the piledrivers shop. The the treads were cut to size, holes were predrilled, and the hardware to hold the treads in place was fabricated at the shop.

RDA Construction donated the greenheart timber used for the stair treads. This eco-friendly timber is used in dock and pier construction. The dense timber won??t rot when placed directly on the ground, as water cannot permeate it.

Other volunteers assembled a pergola in the green area. The douglas fir was donated by the Carpenters Union.

Callahan cries to the press Posted by on

After a Superior Court Judge ruled that Callahan would not be able to proceed with construction of a Hanover high school because they purposely misled the town as to their qualifications, Callahan is trying to play the victim.

If they were so concerned about the taxpayers and students of Hanover, why did they feel the need to mislead them during the prequalification process?

TAGS: Callahan

Shillman House coverage Posted by on

The Boston Globe and Metrowest Daily News both provide coverage of NERCC-led protests at the Shillman House groundbreaking.

Neither delves into the problems associated with Dellbrook or other contractors on the site. Or questions the reported involvement of Ed Fish as a financial backer of son and Dellbrook principle Mike Fish.

Nor do the stories mention that Dellbrook's bid was more than $5 million lower than all union AND nonunion bids, raising questions about how they get to those prices without breaking laws.

Both stories allow for comments to be posted. Members are encouraged to do so.

Callahan, Hanover make news Posted by on

You might think with that much money at stake,when a contractor misled them, Hanover elected officials would be a little more upset with Callahan, rather than ignoring all the warnings and continuing to use them. Wouldn't you?

Shame on Callahan and shame on Hanover

TAGS: Callahan

Miclassification getting publicized in Maine Posted by on

The Maine Public Broadcasting Network reported on misclassification in the state last week, with both audio and text stories available on their website.

It's interesting how the business community always wants to claim enforcement should take a backseat to education. As if the employers didn't know they were breaking the law already.

Perhaps the contractor association should have started educating it's members some time ago?

Judge tells Hanover: stop Callahan project Posted by on

A judge has issued an injunction in two cases against the Town of Hanover preventing Callahan Construction from continuing work on a $37 million high school. The ruling finds the suits clearly established a reasonable likelihood that Callahan had engaged in fraud in prequalification documents, that the public interest favored issuing an injunction, and that any additional costs to the Town resulting from an injunction "would be the product of the Town's own doing."

Two lawsuits were filed against Hanover—one by an HVAC contractor, the other by ten residents of Hanover. Kirt Fordyce, a retired union carpenter and Business Agent from Local 424, was the lead complainant in the resident suit. The suits were filed after the town awarded the job to Callahan despite their having claimed to have completed work that was done by another company.

The Attorney General’s Office advised Hanover to refrain from awarding the job, pending their review of the bid protest. Hanover ignored that request and awarded the job to Callahan. The town then also ignored a later finding by the Attorney General that Callahan had misled the town during the bid process and allowed the job to continue.

Superior Court Justice Richard Chin noted in his decision that: “Had the Town adhered to the AGO’s (Attorney General’s Office’s) decision and rejected Callahan’s bid, the Town could have availed itself of the bids of other prequalified contractors. By virtue of the bid protests, the AGO’s requests that work on the project be suspended, and the AGO’s ultimate decision, the Town was on notice that it could later be forced to rescind its contract with Callahan. However, it ignored this risk, awarded the contract to Callahan, and gave the contractor permission to commence work on the project. The Town cannot now be permitted to benefit from this ill-advised decision.”

The second and third lowest bidders for the project were union general contractors J&J Construction and Fontaine Brothers, respectively.

TAGS: Callahan

NH 1099 crackdown makes news Posted by on

It took years of lobbying and campaigning to get the State of New Hampshire to recognize and address the problem with employee misclassification, specifically within the construction industry. But through the hard work of union carpenters and NERCC staff, progress was made and those labors are now bearing fruit.

The State of New Hampshire has a comprehensive, multi-agency task force set up to share information and more efficiently pursue businesses who misclassify employees as so-called independent contractors. The result is millions of dollars in lost tax revenue, workers put at risk when they are injured on the job or laid off, and a huge disadvantage to honest contractors who are bidding against cheaters.

The Manchester Union Leader published a story about the efforts of the state in today's paper. Members are encouraged to read the story and weigh in with their thoughts in the comments section immediately following the story. Remember these are public forums, so be direct, but respectful of others. Site editors reserve the right to remove comments they find objectionable.

Rally against Dellbrook, Shawnlee and Turner Brothers Posted by on

Carpenters will be holding a rally on Monday November 23 at 9:30 am at 49 Edmands Road in Framingham to protest the use of three of the more notorious contractors in the region. The 150-unit Shillman House will be built by Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly with $2.9 million dollars in stimulus money. Those public dollars will be turned over to general contractor Dellbrook, woodframe contractor Shawnlee and Turner Brothers Concrete, all of which have been hired.

Any and all members are encouraged to attend the rally, which will include members of SEIU Local 615, the Jewish Labor Committee and Jobs with Justice. For more information, contact Charlie Ryan of Carpenters Local 475 at 508-486-0040.

Interior Paint Colors Posted by on

Painters with H.W. Ellis Painting Company, Inc. have been working in the interior of the building. The following is a selection of Benjamin Moore paint colors being used at the Carpenters Center.

Sugar Cookie                                   Desert Twilight

Light Khaki                                      Nantucket Gray

Thyme                                                Mink

Snow White Eggshell

Happy Birthday, Carpenters Local 40! Posted by on

The Cambridge-based Local Union was born 90 years ago today!!

Mass construction job numbers Posted by on

Quincy Patriot Ledger Business Editor Jon Chesto tweets a link to a state release on jobs.

The bad news has reversed, but not in any meaningful way. From the release...

Construction gained 100 jobs in October, this sector's first monthly gain since February. At 108,400, Construction employment is down 22,100 or a 16.9 percent rate of job loss over the year.

As a NH subcontractor working on the Stowe project... Posted by on

As a NH subcontractor working on the Stowe project, it seems that I wouldn't have a job today without AIG. At least AIG is out there stimulating the economy! I am certainly glad my tax dollars are finally benefiting ME and my family. Too bad my NH Congressman, Paul Hodes, is touting his vote of "No" for TARP. Now is see that it is working and I am that proof.

Barr, Inc. embarasses Conn. Posted by on

Two states down, four to go?

The bad news about Barr, Inc. is spreading like wildfire. Earlier this year they were the subject of a Fox 25 Boston piece about contractors who do a poor job, but negotiate their way into good grades in the review process. A state investigation that included review of five failing grades on public projects led to the company being debarred from bidding public work in Massachusetts.

Now Barr, Inc. is showing the Connecticut Department of Transportation the problems they can bring to an awarding authority.

The Connecticut Department of Transportation had full knowledge of the fact that Barr, Inc was debarred in Massachusetts. In fact, the company is also under investigation in Connecticut for violating prevailing wage laws on another public project. Still, the DOT moved forward with awarding Barr, Inc. a $1 million project to rebuild a covered walking bridge over the Salmon River. As a result of activity on that project, Barr, Inc. has now been fined for failure to pay proper wages to workers. The events have led to very public and harsh criticism of the Department of Transportation for hiring Barr, Inc. despite their previous problems. Both the Hartford Courant and Connecticut's News Channel 8 featured the story.

"Frankly, this is the height of incompetence," said state Sen. Edith Prague, D-Columbia, who arranged a news conference Monday to discuss the contract. "Didn't we learn from the problems we had with the drains on I-84? We've had enough shoddy work in this state."

State Sen. Donald DeFronzo, co-chairman of the legislature's transportation committee, said that although it was "probably technically permissible" to award Barr the contract, "it was, at best, a very risky decision." DeFronzo, a New Britain Democrat, said "the transportation committee is going to look hard at this particular job and ask the department for frequent performance updates."

DeFronzo and Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said that Barr was a "poster child" for the need to give the commissioners of transportation, labor and administrative services the clear authority to remove or suspend a contractor from the pre-qualification list ?? from which state vendors are drawn ?? when one of them is disqualified in another state.

Please note that Barr, Inc. is a Connecticut-based firm unrelated to union contractor Barr and Barr.

Compare and contrast Posted by on

A popular line thrown out by those looking to denigrate unions is that "they may have had a purpose years ago, but not anymore." They also like to say that there is no difference between union and nonunion construction.

The lie is clear when you look at many aspects of the industry, from training to benefits to safety and working conditions. But all too often a client says they are only concerned about the bottom line. To which the simple answer is: yes, of course.

Consider a common example: a hospital needs to do an addition or renovate existing space. Is the bid price the most important consideration? What about the financial risk of hiring an unqualified or substandard company and the impact that would have on the bottom line of the entire facility, not just the construction project?

Here's where the union advantage trumps a nonunion bid that appears to be a few percent lower: The United Brotherhood of Carpenters has developed a training program for apprentices and journey level workers called "Best Practices in Health-Care Construction in Occupied Facilities." It was developed through a cooperative effort of national leaders in health care, construction management and union training programs.

Once developed, the program was taught to hundreds of UBC Trainers who took the program back to their local areas and held classes with carpenters in the field.

The curriculum, in part, includes teaching "awareness of hazards, including asbestos, lead, mold, silica, and other materials, as well as blood-borne pathogens and other hospital-specific concerns. Trainees learn how to identify and classify work areas to maintain an environment that can minimize risks, illness, and injury. Specialized clothing and equipment are part of the package."

Sure, the program costs money, but because the investment is made on a national level between labor and management partners, it provides a tremendous bang for the buck. Local health care facilities gain piece of mind that not only are union workers earning a decent wage, they're provided decent health care benefits that allow them to get treatment in the very facilities they're building AND they've got the cutting edge skills to ensure health care providers offer the best care during and after the project is complete.

Nonunion contractors may save a few dollars on the bid documents, but lack of training, questionable access to reliable, skilled workers and a "slap dash" approach put projects and health at risk. Consider one contractor hired on several hospital jobs in New England who seems to show little regard for limiting the risk of infection.

It would be interesting to study not only the cost over-runs due to shoddy work but the number of infections reported in the hospital before, during and after the highlighted projects. More educational would be to then compare those numbers to ones from hospitals who used union carpenters that completed the "Best Practices" program developed by the Carpenters Union.

Project Update from the Owner's Rep. Posted by on

NH raises profile of protests against Kal-Vin/GNPB/Northrock Posted by on

"Anybody driving along Route 1 in Portsmouth NH this morning couldn't help notice a large banner being held in front of the new fire station that is under construction. The message on the banner pointed readers to website called anyonebutkalvin so that local tax payers could find out how their taxes are feeding the underground economy. Can this be true? A publicly funded project that the local taxpayers fund, associated with the ?? Underground Economy??? How can this be possible and what exactly does this mean?"

Read the entire story at

First Trade Union Bank releases 3dQ numbers Posted by on

First Trade Union Bank , a full-service bank with offices in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New York, recently reported earnings for the three months ended September 30, 2009.

First Trade reported net income of $1.4 million for the three months ended September 30, 2009, a 137.8% increase over the comparable time period last year. Total interest income was reported at $9.4 million, a 27.6% increase over the comparable time period last year. Net interest income before provision expense of $6.1 million represented a 47.9% increase over the comparable time period last year.

Total operating expenses were reported at $4.0 million for the three months ended September 30, 2009. This represented a 43.6%, or $1.2 million, increase over the comparable time period last year. This increase can be mainly attributed to a one-time FDIC assessment of $350 thousand, an increase in employee salaries and benefits, and increased legal and professional services expenses.

Total assets of $690 million as of September 30, 2009 represented a 29.4%, or $157 million, increase over the comparable time period last year. Total loans and total deposits grew 26.4% and 39.5%, respectively, as of September 30, 2009, when compared to the same time period in 2008. Asset quality remained strong, as the Bank reported annualized net charge-offs of 0.07% for the three months ended September 30, 2009. First Trade continues to remain well-capitalized under all regulatory definitions.

??We are proud of our accomplishments in the third quarter of 2009,?? said Michael A. Butler, First Trade??s President & CEO. ??Our client-focused approach to banking has allowed us to achieve some success despite less than optimal economic conditions.??

About First Trade Union Bank
With assets over $690 million, First Trade Union Bank is a well-capitalized community bank offering a full complement of business and consumer products and services. First Trade has a long-standing reputation for middle market, small business, unions and government entities as its core clients. They have a profound understanding of their role in the business community: to provide a complete offering of products and services that respond to the needs of their clients, delivered in a way that encompasses the highest level of personal service in-person, online, or by phone. First Trade is deep in category experience and committed to providing the attentive service that today's businesses and consumers require. First Trade also offers 24-hour ATM service, telephone banking, and the most advanced technologies in internet banking for consumer and business customers. Customers can readily access traditional, personalized branch banking at their offices in Boston, MA, Warwick, RI and Hauppauge, NY. First Trade maintains its corporate offices in Boston, MA. First Trade is a member of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and is an Equal Housing/Equal Opportunity Lender. For further information call 800-242-0272 or visit the Bank's website at

Video Update Posted by on

Video Update - Second Floor Flooring Posted by on

See the post below for more information.

Floorcoverers work on second floor Posted by on

On the second floor of the building a unique project is ongoing with a crew of floorlayers from Local 2168 working for Allegheny Contract Flooring. The second floor of the building, while flat, was not level, due to the quantity of drains throughout the floor from the laundry facility that used to be housed in the building.

A process called Flooding is being implemented throughout the second floor to level the floor in preparation for flooring installation that will happen in the coming months.

The crew working for Allegheny Contract will see this process through from start to finish. First, the floor is prepped using a diamatic grinder (seen below). A bonding agent primer is painted on the prepped floor. The primer bonds to the existing floor and the new self leveling cement that will be poured on top.

Crews then begin the intricate process of determining the measurements necessary to level the floor. First, they strike a grid chalk line in four or three foot squares, depending on the size of the room. They are given a benchmark, which tells them where the zero mark lies for the elevation of the floor. Orange tabs are placed along the grid system and are later cut to the necessary lengths to reach that zero mark.

Using the leveler (seen below), a reading is given to determine how high up the floor needs to be to reach the zero mark. The worker seen here takes that measurement and writes it on the ground next to the orange tab. Each tab is then cut to the correct height, which will later help determine how much cement needs to be poured over a particular section of the floor.

The pallets of portland-based cement mix can be seen below. On this particular day, Allegheny Contract was working on an 8,000 square foot area that would require around 18 pallets of Portland cement mixture.

The crew works simultaneously to flood the floor. Workers pour cement into the mixer, which then runs through a hose into another room where the floor is flooded.

The floor will be dry enough to walk across within approximately 4 hours. While the floor won??t immediately be able to handle point loads, crews will be able to work in areas where the floor has been poured within 24 hours, as long as they protect the floors and use ladders.

Wow, that is amazing. Good to know the homework w... Posted by on

Wow, that is amazing. Good to know the homework was done beforehand to make sure it complies with the standards.

Carpenters help community remember fallen heroes Posted by on

In September, volunteers from the Carpenters union helped construct the "Moving Wall," a replica of the monument in Washington, D.C. honoring service men and women lost in Vietnam. The effort included several union carpenters that are also military veterans.

Carpenters show support for Coakley Posted by on

Union Carpenters rally for jobs Posted by on

Menino looms large along the Expressway Posted by on

Check out the Boston Globe's coverage on

75%! Posted by on

As of October 31st, construction of the Carpenters Center is 75% complete!