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Flag raising at the Carpenters Center Posted by on

Eleven members of the UBC who are also military veterans gathered at the Carpenters Center this morning to raise a new flag and remember those who have given their lives to serve our country. The flag was flown over the US Capitol and was raised in observance of this weekend's Memorial Day holiday.

Joining NERCC Executive-Secretary Treasurer Mark Erlich were: Shayne Cossette (LU 67), Martin Higgins(LU 67), Steve Tewksbury (LU 67), Justin Blackman (LU 40), Stephen Smith (LU 67), Corey Rinalda (LU 33)Dave Robicheau (LU 40), William Murray (LU 33), Patrick Cummings LU 67), Doug Wilkins (LU 33), and Patrick McBrine (LU 33).

Erlich presented the flag to Cossette and Higgings, who attached the flag and raised it in front of the building.





Important bill getting vote in DC Posted by on

The United States House of Representatives today will vote on a bill known as ??Promoting American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act of 2010?? (HR 4213). The bill would provide limited, targeted relief measures to pension systems which suffered massive losses suffered in the economic crisis of 2008. It would also provide extensions for unemployment insurance and COBRA benefits.

The Economic Policy Institute estimates that the extension of unemployment and COBRA help stimulate the economy. Their very persuasive report states that ??Each $1 billion of unemployment compensation generates an estimated $1.63 billion to $2.15 billion of additional gross domestic product.??

The bill would protect the jobs and pension benefits of millions of American workers who rely on multiemployer defined benefit pension plans??like union plans--for their retirement security. Under current law, plans must meet funding targets that include unnecessarily high contribution rates and deeper than necessary benefit cuts that cannot be restored under current law. The bill would allow the long-term goals of the plans to be met without sacrificing the short-term consideration of cost containment and job creation.

Representatives Jim Himes of Connecticut and Mike Michaud of Maine are expected to vote against this legislation. It is important that members in those districts contact Representatives Himes and Michaud (and here) and ask them to support this important bill to protect American workers, jobs and our pensions.

If passed in the House, the bill would quickly move to the Senate, where Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine and Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown will cast critical votes. Please contact them and ask them to support the bill.




Local 1996 Participates in Day of Caring Posted by on

As reported in the Portland Herald Press

PORTLAND ?? Two dozen volunteers descended on the Children's Museum and Theater of Maine on Thursday. They went to work weeding flower beds, freshening the paint on a scaled-down pirate ship, applying finish to picnic tables and dismantling the aging Taj Mahal clubhouse.

"We have plenty of stuff for them to do," said Matt Chamberlain, a member of the museum's exhibits and operations staff.

The volunteers were among more than 1,000 people from various companies and organizations who turned out for the United Way of Greater Portland's 18th annual Day of Caring.

After gathering for a kickoff breakfast at Back Cove, the volunteers fanned out to 90 projects at 60 nonprofit organizations. They did chores ranging from yard work to public relations consulting to painting. And yes, they did windows.

Day of Caring was a small event when it started in the early 1990s, with only about 10 projects, said Suzanne McCormick, president and CEO of the United Way of Greater Portland.

"Over the years," she said, "the nonprofits have come to depend on this day for their capital improvements," and the event has grown.

At a playground for PROP's child care program, several men from Local 1996 of the New England Regional Council of Carpenters took apart an old play structure. The agency has wanted to do the job for several years, but every year something more pressing has come up, said Kevin Dean, who supervises PROP's child and family services field staff.

"It's pretty simple for us," said Dana Goldsmith, the local's training coordinator for northern New England. "At the onset, we didn't know what we were going to be facing. A few of us brought our own tools."

About 70 volunteers helped the Salvation Army sort food that had been collected by the National Association of Letter Carriers.

When the volunteers arrived at the warehouse, they found mail totes containing 50,000 pounds of food, said Capt. Penny Shaffer of the Salvation Army in Portland. The volunteers worked in assembly-line fashion, sorting and boxing the donated food.

"People are coming with a willing spirit to do whatever needs to be done," Shaffer said.

After most of the volunteers had finished, three teens from Long Creek Youth Development Center were still loading boxes -- marked for categories like "BEANS," "MAC & CHEESE," "BAKING" and "SAUCE" -- into a trailer attached to a pickup truck.

"I just asked who wanted to go. Today's our first time here," said Jeff Bachelder, juvenile program manager for the unit, which is geared toward boys who are nearing release and includes regular community service activities.

In the museum's back yard, L.L. Bean human resources employees shared their adventures of the morning.

Heidi Baughman, a department coordinator, revamped the museum's birthday room with light yellow and turquoise paint.

"We're having a blast today," she said.

Tim Wachtl, an interviewer, helped to take down the Taj Mahal. The volunteers took off the foam dome and knocked off pieces with sledgehammers.

"We found out we're not men of steel," he said.

The influx of volunteers at the museum meant that its backyard -- a difficult spot to maintain because of its exposure to the elements -- would get some dramatic improvements quickly, said Chamberlain, the staff member.

Normally, the three members of the exhibit and operations staff would have to chip away at such a project, sometimes with help from one or two volunteers. But by lunchtime Thursday, Chamberlain was optimistic that the work would be finished in time for a members party on the deck in the evening.

"Whenever we get a group like this, it's really a big help," he said.





This building is truly amazing. I can't wait ... Posted by on

This building is truly amazing. I can't wait to continue working on my Wentworth degree here at the center! Kudos to everyone who helped make this happen.




Training Posted by on

Approximately 4,500 members in our training facilities each year are experienced carpenters upgrading or expanding their skill sets.




Economic indicators continue to be mixed Posted by on

While Massachusetts was proudly touting the largest monthly increase in jobs added in 17 years, a region-wide economic forecast predicted unemployment has yet to peak and that full recovery of jobs won't happen for some time.

The New England Economic Partnership released it's biannual report today in Boston. The study predicts that unemployment for New England will peak at 9.3%, but not until the start of 2011, according to the Associated Press.

The full study is not yet available on the organization's web site.




Spreading the truth Posted by on

Union Carpenters took to the streets this week to spread a little truth about some unsavory contractors trying to do business in the City of Boston.




Training First and Foremost Posted by on

With 22,000 well-trained men and women across New England, we guarantee a deep pool of qualified workers for every type of project. Our apprenticeship proram continues to generate the workforce of the future. More than 6,000 carpenters are taught each year by nearly 100 expert instructors at our training facilities throughout New England. Those apprentices graduate prepared for a career, not just a job.





Exposed at Work: an evening of stories, theater and conversation Posted by on

MassCOSH (Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health)*
SCALE (Somerville Center for Adult Learning Experiences) *
The Welcome Project

Present:
Exposed at Work
An evening of
stories, theater and conversation
  • Hear the stories of immigrant neighbors who gather at dawn, seeking day labor construction jobs to earn their livelihood.
  • Experience "They Don't Tell You Anything!" -- an original play by Meryl Becker, performed by the SCALE Theater Group, exploring the dilemmas of day laborers in Somerville in2010.
  • Be part of the conversation as audience and actors explore what we can do to ensure no one must sacrifice their health and safety to earn a living.
  • Friday, May 21, 2010 at 7:30 pmThe Black Box Theater, Elizabeth Peabody House277 Broadway, Somerville, MA 02145

    **Free**

    Interpretation provided in Spanish, Haitian Creole, Hindi, Nepali, Mandarin Chinese and PortugueseCo-Sponsors: Brazilian Women's Group * Community Action Agency of Somerville (CAAS) * Somerville Community Corporation * City of Somerville * Massachusetts Alliance of Portuguese SpeakersSupported by: Massachusetts Cultural Council * Somerville Council for the Arts * Tufts University * Massachusetts Alliance of Portuguese SpeakersThis program was funded in part by Mass Humanities.








      UMass Lowell bypassed bidding laws, SJC rules Posted by on

      The state's highest court ruled that the University of Massachusetts at Lowell violated public construction bidding laws when it awarded a contract for new student housing.

      The ruling issued in early May reversed a Superior Court decision, but supported the opinion of the state Attorney General Martha Coakley??s office.

      The university had argued that because the developer selected for the project, Brasi Development Corp., would own the new dormitory while leasing it to the university, public bidding laws did not apply.

      Brasi had never built student housing and had not been certified by the Division of Capital Asset Management (DCAM) as a ??responsible?? public bidder.

      Academic Village Foundation, Inc., an unsuccessful bidder on the project, filed a bid protest notice with the Attorney General, asserting that there had been unfair collusion between the university and Brasi, and that, since Brasi had previously obtained zoning changes permitting it to build a dormitory for the university, Brasi had an unfair advantage in bidding on the current project.

      The Foundation for Fair Contracting of Massachusetts filed a separate bid protest on the ground that the proposed dormitory was not a lease, but rather a project to construct a public building, and that the bidding process had failed to comply with the competitive bidding statute.

      The Attorney General issued a combined decision concluding that the university??s Request for Proposals (RFP) was a proposal to construct a public building and therefore subject to the competitive bidding statue and the agreement between Brasi and the university was in violation of those laws.

      The university tried to terminate its contract with Brasi, however Brasi filed an action against the university and the Attorney General in Superior Court, seeking a decision to show the bid protest decision was incorrect and that the bidding laws did not apply because the dorms would be owned by Brasi and not the university.

      The Supreme Judicial Court sided with the Attorney General and held that the long term construction/lease agreement was subject to public bid laws, even if the building is owned by a private developer because it was "dependent on the continued use of university land.??.

      In a unanimous ruling, the Supreme Judicial Court said the 2008 deal ?? which has since been abandoned by the school ?? would have granted Brasi Development LLC easements on state property that required a competitive bidding process.





      Fines boosted for employers that misclassify workers Posted by on

      From CTMirror.com

      Gov. M. Jodi Rell signed into law today a bill that increases the fine for employers who illegally lower their costs by misclassifying employees as independent contractors.

      The bill was sought by Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and the Chief State's Attorney's Office to go after employers who misclassify employees to avoid paying contributions for unemployment compensation and workers' compensation.

      When introducing the proposal in March, Blumenthal said, "This is cheating, plain and simple."

      Blumenthal said the fact that Linda McMahon's World Wrestling Entertainment hires independent contractors as wrestlers had nothing to do with his timing or push for increased fines.

      "There is nothing political about our announcement," he said, a Democratic U.S. Senate candidate who eventually could face McMahon, the current leader among three Republicans in the race.

      The current fine for misclassification was $300 per incident. The fine now is $300 a day per violation.

      In a recent 12-month period, 300 stop-work orders were issued for employer misclassification, according to the Enforcement Commission on Employee Misclassification. For the 1,200 workers misclassified, the Department of Labor collected $90,000 in civil penalties.

      Blumenthal said the problem is costing the state millions every year from the state having to pick up the medical and workers compensation costs for employees deemed independent contractors.

      Department of Revenue Services BETA Unit audits related to worker misclassification assessed $1,222,869 in additional tax. For the current fiscal year, there have been 39 worker misclassification audits completed, resulting in additional tax of $780,219.

      In the construction business, companies that misclassify workers are able to underbid legitimate contractors, said Don Shubert of the Connecticut Construction Industry Association.





      Cape Wind decision could have domino effect Posted by on

      Last month's decision by US Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to allow the Cape Wind project to move forward is being seen by many as a green light to move forward on their own offshore wind projects. And though there are still issues that need to be resolved for each--manufacturing cost and convenience for the turbines; state or local approvals; power cost and distribution--there is new-found momentum.

      Many see wind as a significant piece of solving the energy puzzle in the United States, with the ability to produce as much as 20% of the nation's power needs. Wind doesn't pollute, no matter how much you spill. It doesn't need to be processed or mined under dangerous conditions and isn't subject to wild international price fluctuations.

      Building and maintaining a new energy production infrastructure will bring significant job creation, including domestic manufacturing of parts.

      Stateline.org has a nice summary of the question of "what now?" for the industry.




      Follow NERCC on Twitter Posted by on

      If you enjoy getting updates from NERCCBlog or on Facebook, try following NERCC on Twitter, @NERCC. Some of the things we tweet become posts on NERCCBlog, but not all of them. And Twitter can be used much more easily on your phone, either through applications or with an RSS feed into your email.

      Take a look and then follow.




      Mass trying to kickstart development Posted by on

      From today's Boston Globe.

      Governor Deval Patrick will spend up to $200 million in state funds this year to get 50 building projects around Massachusetts off the ground, hoping the money will lead to thousands of jobs for the moribund construction sector and significant additional economic activity.

      The money, a mix of already budgeted and new funding, will support construction of hundreds of new homes, stores, and offices.

      Among the projects are a 17-acre shopping complex in New Bedford, a new medical office building in Hingham for South Shore Hospital, and an expansion of offices at MathWorks, a Natick software maker.

      Patrick??s chief economic development aide, Gregory Bialecki, predicted the government aid will result in an additional $1 billion in spending by private developers.

      A map and short list of projects that have already gotten underway are available at the website for the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development.





      Carpenters Center celebrated by BISNOW Posted by on

      The Boston edition of BISNOW--an online publication serving the real estate and design industry--has featured the Carpenters Center in a recent edition. (free registration required)

      The building is described as being "impressive," "vibrant" and "well worth the wait." It praises the juxtaposition of "traditional and subtle with muted colors and glazed cubes meeting the street where small residences and stores predominate" and "its sweeping roof line, emphatic colors, and giant LED screen projecting messages to SE Xway drivers" all of which "speaks to their determination to be part of the future."





      Portland Jetport groundbreaking Posted by on

      Congratulations to union contractor Turner Construction and union carpenters in Maine. A groundbreaking was held today for the $75 million expansion of the Portland Jetport. The project will involve several phases that will add three gates, double the size of the existing terminal, add to baggage handling capacity and update and upgrade de-icing and security capabilities, among other improvements.

      The project will add scores of construction and permanent jobs without cost to the city. Funding is coming from existing fees being charged to passengers as well as stimulus money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

      Pictured at the groundbreaking, below, from left to right; Charlie Buuck of Turner Construction, John Leavitt, Business Manager for Carpenters Local 1996 and Pete Hamill of Turner Construction.

      Also at the groundbreaking were, below from left to right: Portland Mayor Nick Mavadonis, Portland City Councilor Dan Skolnick, Leavitt and Congressman Mike Michaud.


      TAGS: Jobs, Maine



      Carpenters Center celebrated by BISNOW Posted by on

      The Boston edition of BISNOW--an online publication serving the real estate and design industry--has featured the Carpenters Center in a recent edition. (free registration required)

      The building is described as being "impressive," "vibrant" and "well worth the wait." It praises the juxtaposition of "traditional and subtle with muted colors and glazed cubes meeting the street where small residences and stores predominate" and "its sweeping roof line, emphatic colors, and giant LED screen projecting messages to SE Xway drivers" all of which "speaks to their determination to be part of the future."





      OSHA stepping up penalties for "severe violators" Posted by on

      OSHA has announced that it is significantly increasing penalties against employers who commit severe or repeated offenses. A directive issued in late April, outlines increased inspections and enforcement for the "Severe Violator Enforcement Program." The program is the result of a year-long work group, which determined that existing penalties were "too low to have an adequate deterrent effect."

      According to an OSHA press release: "The current maximum penalty for a serious violation, one capable of causing death or serious physical harm, is only $7,000 and the maximum penalty for a willful violation is $70,000. The average penalty for a serious violation will increase from about $1,000 to an average $3,000 to $4,000. Monetary penalties for violations of the OSH Act have been increased only once in 40 years despite inflation. The Protecting America's Workers Act would raise these penalties, for the first time since 1990, to 12,000 and $250,000, respectively. Future penalty increases would also be tied to inflation."

      "For many employers, investing in job safety happens only when they have adequate incentives to comply with OSHA's requirements," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Dr. David Dr. Michaels. "Higher penalties and more aggressive, targeted enforcement will provide a greater deterrent and further encourage these employers to furnish safe and healthy workplaces for their employees.""


      TAGS: Osha, Safety



      Connecticut contract ratified by members Posted by on

      Members of the three carpentry Local Unions in Connecticut voted to ratify the proposed collective bargaining agreement in meetings held Friday night. More than 90% of voting members voted to approve the agreement and suggested allocations.

      New hourly rates went into effect May 2. For information about new rates, contact the Contractor Relations Department at the New England Regional Council of Carpenters or one of the Local Unions in Connecticut.

      The one-year agreement provides a $1.50 increase in the total wage and benefit package. Eighty cents will be added immediately with the remaining $0.70 being added in November.

      Further allocation is as follows: contributions to the pension fund are being increased by $0.75 per hour in May and $0.25 in November. Also in May, $0.03 per hour is being added to wages and $0.02 per hour will be added to contributions to the UBC Training Fund. In November, $0.45 is being added to hourly contributions to the health fund.





      Workers Memorial Day observed in Boston Posted by on

      On April 28th, 2010, families and friends of those who have died or been injured on the job, gathered in front of the State House on Beacon Hill in Boston, MA to commemorate those who have died and to rally for legislation demanding safer work conditions.




      Connecticut contract ratified by members Posted by on

      Members of the three carpentry Local Unions in Connecticut voted to ratify the proposed collective bargaining agreement in meetings held Friday night. More than 90% of voting members voted to approve the agreement and suggested allocations.

      New hourly rates went into effect May 2. For information about new rates, contact the Contractor Relations Department at the New England Regional Council of Carpenters or one of the Local Unions in Connecticut.

      The one-year agreement provides a $1.50 increase in the total wage and benefit package. Eighty cents will be added immediately with the remaining $0.70 being added in November.

      Further allocation is as follows: contributions to the pension fund are being increased by $0.75 per hour in May and $0.25 in November. Also in May, $0.03 per hour is being added to wages and $0.02 per hour will be added to contributions to the UBC Training Fund. In November, $0.45 is being added to hourly contributions to the health fund.




      As seen on the LED - Workers Memorial Day Rally Posted by on

      On April 28th, 2010, families and friends of those who have died or been injured on the job, gathered in front of the State House on Beacon Hill in Boston, MA to commemorate those who have died and to rally for legislation demanding safer work conditions.




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