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Carpenters show career options Posted by on

Rhode Island Carpenters Local 94 and affiliated apprenticeship and training programs are participating in Rhode Island Construction Career Days today and tomorrow. Union representatives and training instructors are talking to thousands of high school and middle school students about careers in carpentry and affiliated trades.

Students are getting a chance to see and hear what things are like from some union carpenter apprentices who might've been in their shoes not too long ago. Brothers Christopher Costa, Floorcoverers Local 2168, Stephen Dias Carpenters Local 94, Shawn Rios, Carpenters Local 40 and Matthew Higgins and Emerson Ocampo, both from Carpenters Local 33 are showing off their skills with the screw gun and drywall and some concrete forms.





More bad guys nabbed in New London Posted by on

From the New London Day:

New London - The state Department of Labor issued nine stop work orders Friday to several subcontractors at the Bates Woods housing construction site for violating labor laws.

Members of the New England Regional Council of Carpenters were protesting at the Jefferson Avenue site Tuesday after the state charged that the subcontractors were either employing independent contractors to avoid paying workers' compensation insurance or they were under-reporting the number of people on their payrolls.
Read the full story here.





Mobilize to restore the American Dream Posted by on

Union members in the Greater Boston area are gathering this week to send a message that they aim to defend and promote the American Dream. A rally is being held TODAY at 4:00 PM in Boston's Financial District to call on corporate CEOs and those who have prospered to create good jobs and pay their fare share for essential government services. The rally will be held at 125 High Street, near the intersection of High and Oliver Street. More than 30 labor and community groups will be attending.

It's time for middle-class Americans to be treated with the respect and dignity they deserve. You may have heard that despite more than $5 billion in profits, General Electric is paying $0 in taxes this year. Did you know that State Street Bank is also paying nothing in taxes, despite making $1.55 billion in profits? Their CEO, Joseph Hooley made $12.9 million while laying off hundreds of Massachusetts workers. Banks and financial institutions need to stop stockpiling profits and start investing in projects that create jobs and get the economy moving again.

PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD AND ENCOURAGE OTHER MEMBERS TO ATTEND.




It's always the best and the worst of times...for some Posted by on

When Wall Street drove the American economy into a ditch, the federal government stepped in to help companies that were deemed "too big to fail." Regardless of the complicated, reckless schemes that seemed destined to collapse, the corporate heads kept their stock bonuses. How could these companies recover, after all, if the excessive salary and bonus system was denied the "best" talent?

As for the companies, they enjoyed the luxury of putting off their tax obligations. Now, after TARP money and stimulus money has been spread around and profits for banks and investment companies are headed back through the roof (along with salaries and bonuses) those companies are using the tough times to avoid paying taxes.

A few weeks ago, it became public that GE had made $5.2 billion in domestic profits, but paid no tax. Similar stories about other companies followed.

Today, the Boston Globe is reporting that State Street Bank used accounting strategies to get a $885 million tax refund only two years after getting a $2 billion taxpayer funded bailout. That's an $885 million REFUND in a year when their CEO, Jay Hooley, was paid $12.9 million.

So when they were in trouble, State Street got taxpayer money and paid no tax. Now that they're doing well, they claim past losses and pay no tax. Nice system, huh?




Carpenters Center wins award from the Association of Energy Engineers New England Posted by on

As reported in the New England Real Estate Journal

The Association of Energy Engineers New England selected the Carpenters Center, the new headquarters for the New England Regional Council of Carpenters (NERCC), as a recipient for their annual Chapter Energy Project Award. This award honors projects with energy-conscious design. The Carpenters Center was recognized for its outstanding use of energy and energy savings.

RDK Engineers joined forces with architect and design firm ADD Inc and provided mechanical, electrical, plumbing, fire protection, audio-visual, and commissioning services for the new center located between 1-93 and Dorchester Ave. With the creation of this new three-story building, fully equipped with a 30-foot LED sign that is used to promote the carpentry trade, motorists on the Southeast Expressway have a new landmark to appreciate on their commutes in and out of Boston. The facility was converted from an abandoned two-story commercial building to a three-story, 75,000 s/f center which will train 2,000 students per year. In addition to student classrooms, the renovated space also contains state-of-the-art offices, a conveniently located bank, and an eye-care center for union members. The center also includes energy-efficient lighting features such as incandescent lights with motion sensors and automatic shut-off.

"RDK Engineers has long been committed to sustainable and energy-efficient design practices," said RDK principal Pat Murphy. "The RDK project team truly enjoyed partnering with the New England Regional Council of Carpenters and ADD Inc on a center that was designed to suit the needs of everyone in the Carpenters' Union. We are proud to have been a part of this unique opportunity."

You also read this story on the NEREJ website.





Concentration of wealth in the US Posted by on

Vanity Fair has posted an interesting article on income inequality in the United States. It is based on the alarming fact that 1% of the population in the United States control 40% of the nation's wealth. Below is a taste. You can read the entire piece here.

Americans have been watching protests against oppressive regimes that concentrate massive wealth in the hands of an elite few. Yet in our own democracy, 1 percent of the people take nearly a quarter of the nation??s income??an inequality even the wealthy will come to regret.

It??s no use pretending that what has obviously happened has not in fact happened. The upper 1 percent of Americans are now taking in nearly a quarter of the nation??s income every year. In terms of wealth rather than income, the top 1 percent control 40 percent. Their lot in life has improved considerably. Twenty-five years ago, the corresponding figures were 12 percent and 33 percent. One response might be to celebrate the ingenuity and drive that brought good fortune to these people, and to contend that a rising tide lifts all boats. That response would be misguided. While the top 1 percent have seen their incomes rise 18 percent over the past decade, those in the middle have actually seen their incomes fall. For men with only high-school degrees, the decline has been precipitous??12 percent in the last quarter-century alone. All the growth in recent decades??and more??has gone to those at the top. In terms of income equality, America lags behind any country in the old, ossified Europe that President George W. Bush used to deride. Among our closest counterparts are Russia with its oligarchs and Iran. While many of the old centers of inequality in Latin America, such as Brazil, have been striving in recent years, rather successfully, to improve the plight of the poor and reduce gaps in income, America has allowed inequality to grow.


TAGS: Economy



Carpenters Center wins Chapter Energy Project Award Posted by on

As reported in the New England Real Estate Journal

The Association of Energy Engineers New England selected the Carpenters Center, the new headquarters for the New England Regional Council of Carpenters (NERCC), as a recipient for their annual Chapter Energy Project Award. This award honors projects with energy-conscious design. The Carpenters Center was recognized for its outstanding use of energy and energy savings.

RDK Engineers joined forces with architect and design firm ADD Inc and provided mechanical, electrical, plumbing, fire protection, audio-visual, and commissioning services for the new center located between 1-93 and Dorchester Ave. With the creation of this new three-story building, fully equipped with a 30-foot LED sign that is used to promote the carpentry trade, motorists on the Southeast Expressway have a new landmark to appreciate on their commutes in and out of Boston. The facility was converted from an abandoned two-story commercial building to a three-story, 75,000 s/f center which will train 2,000 students per year. In addition to student classrooms, the renovated space also contains state-of-the-art offices, a conveniently located bank, and an eye-care center for union members. The center also includes energy-efficient lighting features such as incandescent lights with motion sensors and automatic shut-off.

"RDK Engineers has long been committed to sustainable and energy-efficient design practices," said RDK principal Pat Murphy. "The RDK project team truly enjoyed partnering with the New England Regional Council of Carpenters and ADD Inc on a center that was designed to suit the needs of everyone in the Carpenters' Union. We are proud to have been a part of this unique opportunity."

You also read this story on the NEREJ website.





Savoie named to two state boards Posted by on

Local 94 Organizer/Business Representative Tom Savoie has been appointed to serve on advisory boards by Governor Lincoln Chafee and the Providence City Council.
Governor Chafee named Savoie a member of the Rhode Island Healthcare Reform Commission. The Commission is being led by Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Roberts.

??Healthcare is both an important part of our economy in Rhode Island and is a critical cost for Rhode Island businesses and families,?? said Chafee. ??Ensuring access to high quality, sustainable, affordable healthcare for all Rhode Islanders is one of the most important priorities that we face as a state. Your participation on the R.I. Healthcare Reform Commission will move our state toward attaining these critical goals.??

The Providence City Council tapped Savoie to join a group that will study and make recommendations on implementing the ??First Source?? ordinance. The ordinance requires businesses receiving grants, incentives, or subsidies from the City to give hiring preference to Providence residents. Since its implementation, there have been concerns about obstacles that limit the program??s success. Savoie and a group of labor, business and community leaders will make suggestions about how to overcome those obstacles.


TAGS: Rhode Island



DOL crossing borders to root out pay scams Posted by on

The United States Department of Labor's district office in Hartford has announced an initiative to aggressively pursue wage and hour violations on construction sites in Rhode Island and Connecticut.

"Due to the competitive nature of the construction industry, some contractor and subcontractors cut corners with respect to wages, hours and employment conditions," said Neil Patrick, the Wage and Hour Division's district director in Hartford. "The Wage and Hour Division is developing new strategies to better identify and remedy widespread labor violations so workers are protected against exploitation and law-abiding employers are not placed at a competitive disadvantage when they play by the rules and pay fair wages."

NERCC staff in the two states have been pushing for increased enforcement as harsh economic conditions in the construction industry have made it more tempting for project owners and general contractors to look the other way at violations. Several meetings have been held with state and federal enforcement agencies in the last year where multi-state investigations have been a main point of discussion.

Because so many general contractors and subcontractors move across city and state borders, coordinated efforts are essential to make a significant impact on contractors and the industry as a whole.

The DOL plans to look at general contractor and subcontractors on projects in Connecticut and Rhode Island to uncover patterns of cheating. The Wage and Hour Division conducted nearly 300 investigations in the construction industry in the last ten years, recouping $5.6 million for almost 3,300 workers.

"These numbers how that we need to change industry behavior across the board, not simply on an employer-by-employer basis," Patrick said. "Paying workers the proper wages is the employer's responsibility. We particularly want to encourage general contractors to require and ensure Fair Labor Standards Act compliance by all of their subcontractors.??





McCarron writes on misclassificiation Posted by on

Doug McCarron, General President of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America has written a piece on misclassification and tax fraud in the construction industry that was just published by the Construction Labor Report. It can be read here.





Maine labor mural goes back up...sort of Posted by on

If you've followed Maine Governor Paul LePage's mission to remove the mural from the Department of Labor's office which depicts scenes from Maine's history, you'll want to see this.



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