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Lowell Sun publishes Erlich piece Posted by on

A little over a week ago, the Lowell Sun ran an opinion piece by Ron Cogliano, head of the Massachusetts ABC, a nonunion contractor association. The piece was spurred by NERCC bannering activity and negative media against CTA Construction. Cogliano used his piece to try to defend CTA and bash unions. Unfortunately, all of the negative information about CTA was completely true, as several newspapers have reported. Today, a piece by Mark Erlich sets the record straight for Cogliano and the rest of the Sun's readers.

Erlich's piece, as well as others about CTA and Pulte is being shared with attendees at this weeks Massachusetts Municipal Association's Annual Meeting and Trade Show in Boston, where the New England Carpenters Labor Management Program annually sets up a booth.


TAGS: Local 26



Carpenters demonstrating against Baker Concrete Posted by on

Union Carpenters in southwestern Connecticut held an area standards demonstration yesterday at Commons Park on Crosby Street in Stamford to bring attention the business practices of Baker Concrete. The Ohio-based company does not meet area standards for wages and benefits for carpenters on all of their projects.

Baker is currently performing concrete work as part of the massive development at Harbor Point. The owner and development of the project is Building and Land Technology (BLT). Baker Concrete is the latest in a string of questionable subcontractors used on BLT developments. Subcontractors on BLT projects have been the subject of at least eight "Stop Work Orders" for misclassifying workers and other violations. One subcontractor, Heritage Drywall, was ordered to pay more than $100,000 in owed wages and penalties on a BLT project.

Ted Duarte, a Representative of the New England Regional Council of Carpenters said trades workers and community members will be demonstrating because Baker Concrete's attempts to undermine area standards is not only bad for the area construction industry but the regional economy.

“Most workers on this project are from out of state and that’s obviously not a good thing for area residents," he said. "It's taking jobs from local people, taking money out of the local economy and undermining standards for local workers in the future."

The demonstration was covered by local media, including the Stamford Advocate and video of Duarte commenting at the site of the demonstration were posted on YouTube (see below)





State investigating use of shelter workers at Boston Marriott Posted by on

A prominent article in the Boston Globe today revealed that state investigators are looking into the use and treatment of out-of-state shelter workers in the renovation of rooms at the Boston Copley Marriott. Union carpenters, painters and other union members have been demonstrating twice a week for months at the site against Baystate Interiors, Inc. of Woburn for undermining area standard for carpenters' wages and benefits.

Baystate is renovating several floors of rooms at the pricey downtown hotel owned by Host Hotels and using a California-based company named Installations Plus. Installations is using workers from a missionary shelter in Philadelphia to do work at the Marriott and allegedly violating wage and hour laws to do it.

The workers come from a drug and alcohol rehabilitation shelter in Philadelphia run by Victory Outreach International, an evangelical group based in the San Diego area.

“Our concern is that Host Hotels is trying to take advantage of the recession by bringing in out-of-state laborers to do work that has traditionally been done by local union tradespeople,’’ said Mark Erlich, president of the New England Regional Council of Carpenters.

The investigation is not the first trouble enforcement authorities have found on the site. The subcontractors working on the project--including Installations Plus--have been issued "Stop Work Orders" and paid fines for not having proper workers' compensation insurance.

Click here to view a NERCC-produced video about the demonstrations at the Boston Copley Marriott.





Carpenters demonstrating against Baker Concrete Posted by on

Union Carpenters in southwestern Connecticut were demonstrating today at Commons Park on Crosby Street in Stamford to bring attention the business practices of Baker Concrete. The Ohio-based company does not meet area standards for wages and benefits for carpenters on all of their projects.

Baker is currently performing concrete work as part of the massive development at Harbor Point. The owner and development of the project is Building and Land Technology (BLT). Baker Concrete is the latest in a string of questionable subcontractors used on BLT developments. Subcontractors on BLT projects have been the subject of at least eight "Stop Work Orders" for misclassifying workers and other violations. One subcontractor, Heritage Drywall, was ordered to pay more than $100,000 in owed wages and penalties on a BLT project.

Ted Duarte, a Representative of the New England Regional Council of Carpenters said trades workers and community members will be demonstrating because Baker Concrete's attempts to undermine area standards is not only bad for the area construction industry but the regional economy.
“Most workers on this project are from out of state and that’s obviously not a good thing for area residents," he said. "It's taking jobs from local people, taking money out of the local economy and undermining standards for local workers in the future."
 





Pulte subs ordered to pay more than $500k Posted by on

Multiple enforcement agencies in Massachusetts today announced that five subcontractors employed by Pulte on sites in Eastern Massachusetts have been ordered to pay workers more than $400,000 in owed wages and make payments totaling $141,000 to cover unpaid taxes.

The order is the result of investigations that began after workers complained to Representatives of the New England Regional Council of Carpenters that they had been unpaid for extended periods of time. Workers went on strike at several Pulte locations and filed complaints with the state.

"The investigation fined five separate subcontractors, but the real culprit is Pulte Homes, a multi-billion dollar national homebuilder," said Mark Erlich, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the New England Regional Council of Carpenters. "Those subs are interchangeable and were just doing Pulte's bidding. Cheating is Pulte's business model and, unfortunately, that approach is far too common in the residential construction industry."

Subcontractors that were part of the order include:
--AM Construction Services and its President, Adimar Demoura, age 32 of Framingham, allegedly failed to pay four workers a total of $15,331.50 for framing work done on private residential projects in Braintree and Plymouth. They were also fined $22,500 in penalties.
--Five Stars Construction and its President, Alexandre Miranda, age 40 of Trumbull, Connecticut, allegedly failed to pay two workers a total of $30,700 for framing work done on a private condominium project in Natick. They were also fined $30,000 in penalties.
--Nunes Brothers Construction and its President, Tiago Aguiar M. Nunes, age 28 of Brooklyn, New York, allegedly failed to pay 23 workers a total of $99,086.75 for framing work done on private condominium and single-family homes projects in Braintree, Plymouth, Natick, and Northbridge. They were also fined $112,500 in penalties.
--Seven Seas Group and its President, Jackson Croscup, age 55 of Fall River, allegedly failed to pay five workers a total of $10,333 for framing work done on a private condominium project in Natick. They were also fined $20,075 in penalties.
--Two Brothers Construction and its President, Wellington DeLima Borges, age 41 of East Natick, allegedly failed to pay six workers a total of $34,751.50 for framing work done on a private home development project in Plymouth. They were also fined $34,500 in penalties.

Investigating the complaints were Attorney General Martha Coakley’s Office (AGO), the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development (EOLWD), and the Joint Enforcement Task Force on the Underground Economy and Employee Misclassification (JTF). The JTF was established by Governor Deval Patrick through Executive Order #499 in March 2008 to coordinate multiple state agencies’ efforts to stamp out fraudulent employment activities by enforcing the state’s labor, licensing, and tax laws.

“All workers in the Commonwealth deserve to be paid for the wages they have earned, including their overtime,” said Attorney General Coakley. “We will continue to work together and take appropriate action to stop these unlawful business practices, level the playing field for companies and protect workers.”

“The Commonwealth is committed to insuring that all businesses carry both workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance coverage,” said Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development Joanne F. Goldstein. “We will not tolerate employers or developers who proceed without this coverage, which puts employees at risk and employers who play by the rules at a competitive disadvantage. The Joint Task Force will continue to take all necessary action to protect legitimate employers, employees and the taxpayers of the Commonwealth.”





Murphy winning favor among CT Carpenters Posted by on

As he campaigns to move from the United States House of Representatives to the Senate this year, Connecticut's Chris Murphy has been renewing and strengthening his relationship with union carpenters. Murphy was recently endorsed by the Working Families Party and hit the streets to push for more infrastructure fudning.

Murphy recently attended an event in New Milford with union carpenters other trades workers and construction employers highlight the need to fund repairs to the structurally deficient Veteran's Bridge and other neglected structures. The project would provide an economic boost through job creation. It would also start to tackle major infrastructure deficiencies that are dangerous, stifle growth and lead to more costly repairs later.

Funding to repair the Veteran's Bridge in New Milford is in place, but proposed cuts could lead to eliminating commitments to many projects, including the Veteran's Bridge, according to an article by the Danbury News-Times.

Local 24 Carpenter and Representative Chris Bachant is quoted in the article supporting Murphy's efforts to fudn more infrastruture construction, especially if local workers can made the beneficiaries.

Chris Bachant, a Waterford resident and union carpenter who was one of several dozen people to attend the event, said "things are very tough right now" in the construction industry.

"It's fantastic what Murphy is promoting," Bachant said. "But I think we need to go one step further and make sure that local people are hired for these jobs."

A recent bridge construction project near his home, Bachant said, was awarded to a company from Minnesota.

The entire story can be read here.





Ice Fishing Derby Scheduled Posted by on

The Fifth Annual "Great 2012 New England Carpenters Ice Fishing Derby" has been scheduled for Sunday, February 12 at the Norton, Mass reservoir on Route 140. Organizers will be set up for registration with a NERCC banner by 5am. Power augers will not be allowed before 7 am, with awards and a shore drawing behind held at 2:10. Prizes will be awarded for the three heaviest fish of any species brought in alive. Registration is $20.

Part of the proceeds from the event will be donated to the Blackstone Valley Technical School Educational Fund.

For more information, contact Joe Broderick of Carpenters Local 535.
 





Our Work - Neponset River Bridge Posted by on

 

Learn more about this project by clicking here to view it in our online portfolio





2012 NERCC Scholarship Accepting Applications Posted by on

Applications are now being accepted for the 2012 New England Regional Council Scholarship Program. Last year 143 students applied and a total of $55,000 was awarded, including top scholarships of $5,000 and $3,000.

To be considered for an award, a completed application package must be received by 5:00 pm on April 13, 2012.

For details about the application process, click here.


TAGS: Members



Boston.com features union project Posted by on

Work by the members of Carpenters Local 275 and Turner Construction at the soon-to-be-open Wellesley High School was featured at the top center of Boston.com today. The online arm of the Boston Globe posted close to 20 large photos detailing various aspects of the project.

You can view the images here.





Expanding Travel Options Posted by on

Carpenters in Portland, Maine, recently completed a substantial portion of a $75 million expansion project at the Portland International Jetport.

 

Turner Construction was the General Contractor on the 145,000 square-foot expansion project. The new terminal features four new departure gates, five security checkpoints, a sky bridge that connects the adjacent parking garage to the concourse, and a new roadway system with separate roads for inbound and outbound traffic. It will greatly expand the capacity for travel to and from Maine.

The project, which broke ground in May 2010, added nearly 80 jobs for union carpenters. Funding for the project came from existing fees being charged to passengers as well as stimulus money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
“This project came at a crucial time for our Local,” notes John Leavitt, the Business Agent for Local 1996. “We had several jobs fall through due to lack of funding. This project got a lot of members back on track.”

Built in 1968 and renovated twice, Portland Jetport was an ordinary looking commercial building, a mix of carpet, tile and concrete. The expansion project incorporated many modern design features including granite, wood, and lots of glass. The design is reflective of, and speaks to, the Jetport’s location in Maine.

The jetport has many environmentally friendly features, including a geothermal heating and cooling system, which will cut heating oil consumption by 50,000 gallons a year.
It is one of the greenest terminals in the nation. The airport plans to apply for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certification. If it receives this certification, it
will be one of just two Gold certified airports in the nation.

Although the jetport opened its new expanded terminal in early October, the project is ongoing and it expected to continue in to the beginning part of 2012. Carpenters are currently on site working on renovations to the original terminal, upgrading the facility to help it match the look and feel of the expansion section.





Indiana carpenters confront tough times Posted by on

Fifty millworkers who are members of UBC Local 8093 working for Indiana Limestone Company have been on strike through the holidays after unanimously rejecting a concessionary contract. Difficult economic times have forced many Americans and union members to watch wages and working conditions slip backwards. And though they have not blindly agreed to every concession demanded of employers, union members and Americans have been flexible and realistic in working with employers to strike a balance between business viability and protecting a decent standard of living.

What's at play in Indiana, though, may have less to do with recent economic conditions than it does with the move my many American businesses from family run and privately owned to investor owned or publicly traded.

A piece by Joseph Varga for LaborNotes explains.

Resilience is the new player in Indiana’s limestone industry. Like Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital, Resilience specializes in “flipping” mid-range “stressed” companies like Indiana Limestone. The private equity firm buys them up, strips them down, lowers their labor costs, and sells them to investors.

It’s the same process that has occurred throughout the country for the past 30 years, turning family-owned businesses into “lean and mean” concerns, in the process destroying good union jobs and shrinking the tax base in communities that are struggling to survive.

While company officials make the usual statements about being fair-minded corporate citizens, the fact is that there had been only one other brief strike in Indiana Limestone’s long history, while in two years Resilience had made it clear it was only about lowering costs in order to resell.

According to the article, among the concessions sought by Resilience are elimination of "just cause" standards for discipline and an end to safety meetings, though the work done can be extremely dangerous.

Varga's piece goes on to detail the context in which the strike is taking place. The state has been at the forefront of battles over rescinding collective bargaining rights and enacting so-called "right to work" laws. It has also seen some pushback from workers--both union and nonunion--as well as younger citizens who have become involved in the "occupy" movement.

New understandings and alliances have been forming between the workers and young people eager to get involved and make a lasting difference in the future.

There's no happy ending to the story, at least yet. And there may not be. But one can't help feeling there could be better results in the future if the conversations between workers and their neighbors continue, creating a better understanding of each other and the common problems they face.





New Year's resolution in New Hampshire Posted by on

The Nashua Telegraph yesterday published a piece by Mark Mackenzie, President of the New Hampshire AFL-CIO calling for a New Year's resolution to help workers in 2012. The piece was a good summary of what workers want and deserve, but aren't gettingin today's America. Click through to read the piece and consider sharing it with others.





Our Work - New England Carpenters Training Center Posted by on

 

Learn more about this project by clicking here to view it in our online portfolio





California to attack underground economy Posted by on

Fed up with billions of dollars in lost tax revenue and a business community that is increasingly upset by being put at a competitive disadvantage, California is vowing to make a major push to crackdown on businesses that misclassify workers as independent contractors to avoid paying unemployment insurance, workers compensation coverage and other required feeds. The Los Angeles Times reports.




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