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Stamford project up to 11 "Stop Work" orders Posted by on

Carpenters in Stamford this week held a demonstration at the site of a construction project where "Stop Work" orders were issued by the state because of apparent violations of laws related to workers' compensation insurance and payroll. The Stamford Advocate published a story on the action and underlying issue in their print edition.

Falcon Construction, based in Floral Park, New York, was cited by the Connecticut Department of Labor last week while working on a 209-unit building that is part of the Park Square West IV project. Union staff had previously talked to workers employed on the site who had given them information that led them to believe that the company was misclassifying them as independent contractors.

Dan Ravizza, a researcher with the New England Regional Council of Carpenters, was quoted in the story saying the "Stop Work" order was "the direct evidence of labor practice violations committed by Falcon Construction. I'm mainly concerned for the taxpayers in this situation. When the contractor is skipping out on payroll taxes, that revenue is made up by the taxpayer."

Another, now completed, portion of the Park Square West IV project was the subject of ten "Stop Work" orders.

Morganti Group of Danbury is the general contractor on the project. Trinity Financial of Boston is the developer. Neither responded to the paper’s inquiries to explain the violations on their project.





Carpenters Appreciation Night is around the corner Posted by on

70 BIG prizes, 3 ways to watch LIVE on March 11! Come to the Carpenters Center in Dorchester, watch from the comfort of your home or hang out at one of FIFTEEN viewing events throughout New England. All members welcome at all locations. Additional door prizes available at all live events with 25+ members! For details, click here.





Carpenters recruit by showing off training center Posted by on

There's welcome news for construction contractors in New England worried about a current or looming skilled labor shortage. Today, more than 900 students currently enrolled in vocational high schools or programs are visiting the New England Carpenters Training Center in Millbury, Massachusetts today.

During their visit, they're learning more about the comprehensive training programs available in the diverse carpentry trade. They're also seeing some of the most sophisticated facilities in the country, combining state-of-the-art shop and work space with classrooms, dormitory, dining and recreation space.

Though some students may have experience in limited aspects of the industry, today's tour gives them a comprehensive view of the trade, work conditions and career opportunities available to trained, motivated and supprted trades workers.

A lack of skilled trades workers is consistently cited in surveys by employers as a limiting factor for company growth and their ability to deliver consistent quality work. Contractors signatory to the Carpenters union have the advantage of joint training programs and fairly negotiated wage and benefit packages that attract the most qualified applicants.

For more information on training programs visit nercc.org/training





Public Citizen Illustrates Negative Effects of TPP's Threat to "Buy American" Posted by on

 

Billions of dollars belonging to U.S. citizens could be shipped overseas if the Trans-Pacific Partnership’s threat to the “Buy American” program is enacted. Learn more on the UBC site here





Senate Republicans' Latest Attack on Davis-Bacon: A Sign of the Future? Posted by on

Republican Senator Mike Lee from Utah has filed Senate Bill S2617 which, if passed, would pave the way to repeal the Davis-Bacon Act. That would put millions of carpenters at risk of being paid less than the prevailing wage. Visit the UBC's website here to learn where your government representatives stand on Davis-Bacon, and vote for those who support the basic right of earning a fair wage.





Congressman Himes (CT) calls for infrastructure repairs Posted by on

There could not have been a more fitting site for a more important issue. Last week, Congressman Jim Himes was joined by state elected officials, labor leaders and business leaders at the Yankee Doodle Bridge in Norwalk, calling for a long-term solution to crumbling infrastructure.

The Yankee Doodle, which carries traffic on Interstate 95 over the Norwalk River, is the most structurally deficient bridge in the state. It was originally built in 1958 and awaits $15 million in repairs, slated to start in 2017. It is one of thousands of road and bridge projects whose maintenance or replacement have been put off to the point of posing an extreme danger to the public.

The National Highway Trust Fund received approval for a $10.8 billion infusion from the United States House of Representatives last week, but has not been acted on by the Senate. The allocation would only temporarily prevent the fund from becoming insolvent next month. It would not solve the problem of creating a long-term solution for funding road and bridge repairs in the United States, which are vital not only to public safety, but economic growth.

Road and bridge repair and construction leads to direct employment of tens of thousands of construction workers nation-wide, many of whom would face unemployment if the Highway Trust Fund runs out of money. Members of the UBC as well as other building trades unions, employers and supporters are being urged to visit Hard Hats for Highways (http://hardhatsforhighways.org/) and send an e-hardhat letter to congress to urge them to enact a long-term plan.

Coverage of the event at the Yankee Doodle Bridge can be found at the Stamford Advocate, the Norwalk Hour and It's Relevant.
 





Carpenters win right to choose representation at Electric Boat Posted by on

Carpenters in Local 1302 at Electric Boat in Groton, Connecticut have successfully beat back an effort by the Metal Trades Council (AFL-CIO) to eliminate their rights and fold them into other unions. This is the first situation in the country where carpenters have stood up, fought back and defeated this piece of the national AFL-CIO's campaign against the UBC.

In 2011, the national AFL-CIO's Metal Trades Department issued a directive to Metal Trades Councils across the country to remove UBC-affiliated locals from their council and prohibit them from continuing to represent the interests of their carpenter members. In February this year, the Metal Trades Council barred Local 1302 from participating in contract negotiations with Electric Boat. The new collective bargaining agreement reached in April removed any reference to the Carpenters union. Shortly thereafter, the MTC stripped Local 1302 of its ability to represent carpenters in the adjustment of their grievances and began a campaign to have carpenters join local unions affiliated with the Laborers, Boilermakers and Painters.

"We tried to get a solidarity agreement with the Metal Trades Council, but it got shot down by their national people," said Bob Tardif, Chief Steward of Local 1302. "Once they shut us out of negotiations, we started to look at our options and talk to the New England Regional Council of Carpenters. We wanted to keep our identity and Mark (Erlich) said that whatever resources we needed, we would have."

As a result of a petition filed by NERCC and Local 1302, a Regional Director of the National Labor Relations Board has issued a decision allowing carpenters at Electric Boat to have a "severance election." The election gives carpenters the right to choose the Carpenters union to bargain with the shipyard, separate from the Metal Trades Council, which represents all other trades workers. Voting for the Carpenters union will allow Local 1302 carpenters to continue their 70-year history of membership and representation by the Carpenters union, rather than be dispersed to other unions.

The election is scheduled for later this month, though the Metal Trades Council and Electric Boat may appeal the decision to the full National Labor Relations Board in Washington, D.C.

"If the vote isn't unanimous, it will probably be really close to unanimous," said Tardif. "Right now, we're all really proud to be members of the Council and get the support we've really needed, from the Executive Board, the Delegates and everyone else.

Congratulations to the courageous union carpenters of Local 1302 for standing together and winning this important fight .





Bay State Drywall carpenters win union election Posted by on

 In an election held last night in Southeastern Massachusetts by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), carpenters employed by Bay State Drywall voted for union representation from the Carpenters union by a 10-8 margin. The Freetown-based company is one of a group of contractors in the Fall River-New Bedford area, sometimes referred to as "drywall alley," that draw carpenters from the substantial Portuguese population. During peak season, they typically employ 40-50 carpenters and have been one of the larger nonunion companies in the market.

Representatives from the New England Regional Council of Carpenters have become familiar faces to Bay State employees over the years thanks to countless jobsite visits, which created a level of trust. When there were disputes with the owners over restoring pay cuts made during slow times, the workers decided to go forward with a union election.

Negotiation of an agreement with Bay State cannot start until after the NLRB resolves a union challenge to the uncounted ballots of six employees that Bay State had argued should be included in the election. Those employees are primarily tapers and the Council has taken the position that they do not fall under the definition of a carpenter bargaining unit. A Board ruling on the matter may take as long as two months.

"I'm proud of the carpenters who had the courage to stand up to the company and proud of our staff that led the organizing drive," said Mark Erlich, NERCC Executive Secretary-Treasurer. "NLRB elections are not that common in the construction industry and this victory sends a message that we will use every tool at our disposal to represent working carpenters in New England."





CTA signs union agreement Posted by on

CTA Construction signed a collective bargaining agreement with the New England Regional Council of Carpenters on July 2nd. The contract represents a culmination of a long campaign by the Council and extensive discussions over the past few years between the two organizations.

CTA was founded in 2000 by Lyle Coghlin and Pat Tompkins. Over the past fourteen years, the company has emerged as one of the larger public construction contractors in Massachusetts, with an annual volume of $138 million in 2013. CTA was listed as the 12th largest general contractor in the 2012 Boston Business Journal's Book of Lists and is currently ranked as the 376th biggest firm in ENR's national survey.

"We are pleased that CTA is now a union contractor," commented Mark Erlich, NERCC's Executive Secretary-Treasurer. "We believe that access to a higher caliber of subcontractors and skilled carpenters will allow the company to grow even further."
 





NERCC to be recognized at White House Summit Posted by on

The efforts of the New England Regional Council of Carpenters, as part of the Policy Group on Tradeswomen’s Issues to increase women’s participation in the construction trades, are being recognized nationally at the White House Summit on Working Families this Monday. NERCC Business Representative Liz Skidmore will represent the NERCC and the PGTI at the event, which is being hosted by the White House and the Department of Labor and the Center for American Progress. Both President Obama and Vice President Biden will be attending the event.

The White House planning committee for the Summit asked the National Task Force on Tradeswomen's Issues for two "Best Practices" for getting more women into the trades. The Task Force presented them with the Minnesota Vikings stadium project, which set hiring goals and has hired a lot of women, and the work being done in New England by NERCC and the Policy Group on Tradeswomen's Issues (PGTI), which is convened by Skidmore, Susan Moir of UMass Boston Labor Resource Center, Brian Doherty of the Boston Building Trades and Janet Jones of the Dorchester Roxbury Labor Committee.

The PGTI has established a multi-stakeholder strategy of bringing key players together over time to build relationships, share expertise, identify and implement solutions. The group has met at the Carpenters Center every other month for six years and includes city, state and federal officials; General and sub-contractors, academics, compliance officers, tradeswomen, and union leaders. During this time they have published two reports: Unfinished Business, an analysis of all research done on tradeswomen in the last 25 years in the US with policy recommendations and Finishing the Job, a how-to manual for meeting hiring goals on specific construction projects. 

Women's employment has risen from 3% to 6% of all hours worked in Boston over the last few years, a statistic made even more significant when considering the simultaneous increase in the number or work hours over the past two years.

Additional work being done by PGTI that has earned them recognition as a national best practice includes moving from 35 years of supply-only (recruitment and pre-apprenticeship training) to a supply and demand strategy that includes the supply work and adds demand - working to improve compliance with hiring goals. As a result of their work, the Integrated Science Center at UMass Boston building project, which is the first project in Boston that has met hiring goals for all three established goals (residents, minorities and women) over the course of the project.

PGTI has also compiled compliance numbers online in searchable, downloadable databases by a number of entities including the City of Boston, UMass Boston (for their $700 mil PLA), and the MA Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards. These databases are now being used by GCs and project owners to review past compliance history and in evaluating which contractors to hire.

As stated on the summit’s website, “the White House Summit will convene businesses, economists, labor leaders, policymakers, advocates and citizen to discuss policy solutions that can make a real difference in the lives of working families and ensure America’s global competitiveness in the coming decades.”

Learn more about the work of the PGTI by visiting their website here. To follow the events happening during the White House Summit on Working Families click here.





Take your career to the next level Posted by on

 The NERCC has developed a uniquely tailored program with Wentworth Institute of Technology's College of Professional and Continuing Education which allows members to earn college degrees at a discounted tuition rate and a schedule that fits the needs of working carpenters.

On June 25th members can participate in a lunchtime webinar to learn more about the program.Click here to learn more about the program including curriculum requirements, academic schedule, and the application process. 





Union proves worth to nonunion carpenters again Posted by on

Union representatives recently go together with more than 15 carpenters who were employed by J&V Construction to collect checks for back wages. Each of the men was issued a check for between $20,000-24,000.

The union had spoken to the men when they were working at UConn, building the new basketball training center earlier this year. After learning they were owed significant money from their employer, they encouraged and helped them file wage claims with the state.

For the individual carpenters, the checks represent a big win; significant money they had earned, but thought they'd never get. For the union and the rest of the industry, the checks are another reminder that knowing your rights and standing together to protect them is a worthwhile venture. Congratulations to these carpenters and the union representatives who helped them get justice.





Governor Malloy speaks to rank-and-file Posted by on

At a recent event held at the UAW in Farmington, CT, Governor Dannel Malloy spoke with rank-and-file carpenters and other tradespeople to talk about the industry and issues at the state house.

The Governor spoke specifically about PLA projects and upcoming work that he has secured to get the construction industry moving in Connecticut.One project in particular involves the announcement of a "historic agreement" made with United Technologies Corporation (UTC), which plans to invest billions in research, development, facilities and capital expenditures around the state over the next five years. Plans include construction of a new headquarters for Pratt & Whitney, a unit of UTC, which will create an estimated 1,500 construction jobs.

Governor Malloy has been supportive of construction projects and PLAs noting that, “project labor agreements ensure that we have the best trained workforce in place for our more important projects."

 

 





NERCC awards $59,650 in scholarships Posted by on

The New England Regional Council of Carpenters announced that it has awarded $59,650 to 152 applicants as part of the 2014 Scholarship Contest.

The NERCC Scholarship Fund is supported by settlement agreements between the union and contractors and other contributions. Its function is to help members and dependents who are attending school with the ever-increasing costs of a college education. Students must be enrolled in post-high school program and maintain a “C” average in at least three, three-credit courses to apply. All applicants must complete an essay, which is read and scored by a panel of judges who do not know the identity of the writers.

Applicants were required to write an essay of between 500 and 1000 words on the following topic: Union workers at Boeing Co. in Seattle recently vote on a proposed contract that eliminated their pension plans in exchange for guarantees of future jobs. What are your thoughts on this controversy vis-à-vis the role of the company and the role of the unions? If you were a union member there, how would you have voted and why?

A $5,000 first prize was given to Kaitlyn Benoit, daughter of Floorcoverers Local 2168’s Daniel Benoit. A second prize of $3,000 was awarded to Joseph Cunningham, whose father, Peter Cunningham, is a member of Carpenters Local 33.

Congrats to all of the scholarship recipients! 





More cheaters caught in CT Posted by on

The Connecticut Department of Labor has issued six "Stop Work" orders so far this week, two on a Stamford project and three more at an Apple store in West Hartford. All six were the result of subcontractors not having legally required workers' compensation insurance coverage in place.

Shane Gordon Drywall, of Stamford, Marcelo Drywall of Bridgeport and Arco Steel Company, of West Caldwell, New Jersey were each hit with the orders yesterday at 66 Summer Street in Stamford. The companies were working for Trinity Financial on Phase 2 of the Park Square West project, which includes 194 residential units.

Some workers on the project recently reported to union representatives that they were employed by Intext, a company that was already caught for misclassifying workers as independent contractors in April at UConn.

In West Hartford, three subcontractors identified in press reports only as being from out of state were issued stop work orders while working for California-based general contractor Dickinson Cameron. Gary Pechie, head of the Wage and Workplace Standards Division of the Department of Labor reported that contractors had ignored the orders and continued work. He has issued $1,000-a-day fines and scheduled a meeting with Apple officials.
 





CT DOL issues 3 "Stop Work" orders Posted by on

The Connecticut Labor Department has issued “Stop Work” orders against three construction companies at a shopping center construction site at 230 Industrial Park in Old Saybrook, for failing to provide the required state workers’ compensation coverage or unemployment coverage for their employees.

Two contractors, Alvin Quality Masonry LLC and Industrial Technical Services Inc. were issued “Stop Work” orders after inspectors from the Wage and Workplace Standards Division determined that the contractors, working on the Big Y supermarket project, did not have workers’ compensation or unemployment insurance coverage for employees. G&F Group LLC was issued a stop work order on the Kohl’s building project for failure to have workers’ compensation or unemployment insurance coverage and for misclassifying its employees as independent contractors.

“Stop Work” orders result in the halting of all activity at a cited company’s worksite, as well as a $300 civil penalty for each day the company does not carry workers’ compensation coverage as required by law.

The New Haven Register, The Day, The Bristol Press,  Insurance News Net and Shoreline Times reported on the story.

To view a PDF of these articles, click here.





NECTF hosts graduation ceremony Posted by on

On May 1st, the New England Carpenters Training Center hosted a graduation ceremony for the 2013 New England Carpenters Training Fund Apprentice Graduates. 129 members, representing 20 locals, completed their training in the apprenticeship program in 2013. Mark Erlich, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the New England Regional Council of Carpenters was the Keynote speaker.

Four members were specially recognized with awards given out at the ceremony. Local 107 member Corey Wagner, Local 94 member Alex Palmisciano and Local 56 member Thomas Stone each received the Golden Hammer Award. This award is given out each year to one member from each of the trades represented in that year’s graduating class. It is awarded to the graduate demonstrating outstanding craftsmanship and dedication to the profession.

Local 33 member Emerson Ocampo received the Zachary Constant Award, recognizing the graduating apprentice who displays an all-around commitment to the craft, the union and the community.

Congratulations to all of the graduates!





"Groundhog" Day at UConn? Posted by on

At least one contractor that was ordered in late February to stop working on the $32 million expansion of the UConn basketball complex because they didn't have a workers' compensation policy returned to the project. Union carpenters and students of the university have started to inform the public with a large banner in front of the project and stories in the Hartford Courant and the campus newspaper.

Intext Building Systems, Inc. of Glastonbury and JV Construction of East Hartford were issued "Stop Work" orders from the Connecticut Labor Department after a visit to the site. There were issues with workers being misclassified as "independent contractors" and some of the 19 workers could not identify their employers.

J&V Construction was found to have owed $368,000 in back wages to workers and is still barred form the site, but Intext has taken on their workers, raising questions about whether there are still issues.

Chris Gallo, a member of Carpenters Local 24 who went to work on the site after the "Stop Work" orders were issued told the Courant "It's absolutely horrible- The whole job was just a mess. We go there in the middle of it, and we get it all straightened out, and we find out the guys who messed it up are back again. How would you feel? I'm losing my job because of it. Hopefully they get a building they're looking for."





Reminder - Scholarship Applications due April 11th Posted by on

Applications are now being accepted for the 2014 New England Regional Council Scholarship Program. Last year 106 students applied and a total of $52,000 was awarded, including the top prize scholarship of $5,000.

Please review eligibility guidelines before applying. Guidelines and applications may be downloaded from nercc.org/scholarship and are available at locals union affiliates. The deadline for applications to be returned to NERCC is APRIL 11, 2014, 5:00 p.m. No exceptions! If you have any questions about the application, please call Malerie Anderson at (617) 307-5112. Winners will be notified in June.





A project to be proud of Posted by on

Union carpenters are playing a part in healing communities in Connecticut. Members of Local 43 are working with union contractors C & R Concrete and Giordano Construction on a playground in Hartford, which kicked off this weekend. It is being done in conjunction with the Sandy Ground Project, which will build 26 playgrounds, one for each of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012.

The playground is being built in memory of Ana Grace Marquez-Greene at Elizabeth Park. Ana's parents grew up and started their family in the area. The New Haven Register published a nice piece on the effort.

Work is expected to be completed in time for an April 4 groundbreaking, which was Ana's birthday.





B.U.H. Construction ordered to pay back wages, rehire employees Posted by on

Pennsylvania-based B.U.H. Construction has been ordered by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to pay back wages of two carpenters and offer reinstatement to their former jobs or equivalent positions. The company was found to be in violation of the National Labor Relations Act.

The original complaint filed by NERCC alleged that BUH Construction engaged in certain unfair labor practices by threatening three carpenters on a job at Walmart in Brooklyn, CT, and subsequently terminating two of those carpenters because it refused to pay them at the agreed-upon wage rate of $20 an hour.

In early April 2013, carpenters received pay checks that were short on hours and at a wage rate that was significantly lower than the agree upon rate. CT organizers helped the workers file wage claim forms with the Department of Labor. The carpenters were subsequently fired from the job. B.U.H. challenged the workers’ rights to unemployment benefits, claiming that they quit. Unemployment reviewed the evidence and ruled in favor of the workers. B.U.H. appealed the decision and after a formal hearing, the Unemployment Board of Review ruled in favor of the workers.

An NLRB Charge was filed against B.U.H. Construction on April 23, 2013. The basis of the charge was that workers were engaged in concerted activity when they tried to resolve issues with their pay checks and were terminated. The NERCC filed charges with the NLRB alleging that B.U.H. had violated the National Labor Relations Act when they threatened to reduce the carpenters’ wages and discharge the employees because they engaged in protected concerted activities.

In July the NLRB made a settlement offer to B.U.H. Construction, which the company rejected. A trial was held in November and the final ruling came down in early February. The ruling states that the two workers are to be made whole for any lost wages and they are to be rehired by B.U.H. Construction. B.U.H. had one month to appeal the decision.

 





CT Governor Malloy's budget gets Carpenter support Posted by on

Dave Jarvis, an organizer with the New England Regional Council of Carpenters, appeared before the Connecticut General Assembly’s Appropriations Committee to testify in support of Governor Dan Malloy’s recently submitted Fiscal Year 2015 Mid-Term Budget.

Governor Malloy’s Mid-Term budget includes funding for six additional employees at the Department of Labor to investigate complaints and ensure employers comply with wage and workplace standards.

Jarvis urged members to support the Governor’s proposal to beef up wage and workplace enforcement as the Connecticut construction industry continues to be plagued by employers—many from out of state--who fail to properly pay their workers’ wages, misclassify their workers as independent contractors or pay them cash “off the books.”

Last year alone, the Wage and Workplace Division of the Connecticut Department of Labor handled more than 3,500 claims and recovered over $6.5 million in unpaid wages to 1,701 Connecticut workers. The Wage and Workplace Division also issued 181 Stop Work Orders to employers at construction sites who were found to be in violation of workers’ compensation and labor laws.

“It’s nearly impossible for Connecticut contractors who obey our state labor, tax and worker’s compensation laws to compete against unscrupulous companies that break these laws to gain a bidding advantage,” said Jarvis. He added, “Construction is becoming a magnet for predatory employers. The Wage and Workplace Division is on the front lines of protecting Connecticut workers and employers from these predatory contractors.”





Scholarship applications available Posted by on

The New England Regional Council of Carpenters Scholarship program has been opened for 2014. The program is supported by settlement agreements between the union and contractors and other contributions. Last year, more than $52,000 was awarded to 106 members and dependents furthering their post high school education, including top scholarships of $5,000 and $3,000.

Please review eligibility guidelines before applying. Guidelines and applications may be downloaded from nercc.org/scholarship and are available at locals union affiliates. The deadline for applications to be returned to NERCC is APRIL 11, 2014, 5:00 p.m. No exceptions! If you have any questions about the application, please call Malerie Anderson at (617) 307-5112. Winners will be notified in June.





2013 Carpentry Expo Posted by on

The 2013 Carpentry Expo was held last week at the New England Carpenters Training Center in Millbury, MA. Over 1,000 students, representing 43 high schools attended the event. Students, along with their teachers, were given guided tours of the training facility by members of the NERCC staff. 44 NERCC apprentices participated in the event working on projects throughout the facility. These live demonstrations gave the students a better look at what a career as a union carpenter might look like.

Live demonstrations included: Infection Control Risk Assessment, Interior Systems, Flooring, Residential Wood Framing, Scaffolding Erector Certification, Cabinet Installation, Door Hardware, Finish Carpentry, Welding, Concrete Formwork, Insulated Concrete Forms, Pile Driving, Under Water Welding, Exterior Siding, and Stair Layout and Framing.





NERCC Election Results Posted by on

 Following are results from today's elections for positions on the New England Regional Council of Carpenters Executive Board. The elections were held as part of a Special Call meeting of Delegates to the New England Regional Council of Carpenters. Nominations were posted on this blog earlier in the day.

Executive Secretary-Treasurer: Mark Erlich, unopposed. One vote was cast by the Chair. Erlich elected.

President: Richard Monarca, unopposed. One vote was cast by the Chair. Monarca elected.

Vice President: Al Peciaro, 75 votes. Rick Anderson, 24 votes. Peciaro elected.

Warden: Jack Donahue, unopposed. One vote was cast by the Chair. Donahue elected.

Conductor: John Murphy, unopposed. One vote was cast by the Chair. Murphy elected.

Trustees (Three positions): Brian Richardson, 84 votes. David Palmisciano, 66 votes. Paul Lander, 63 votes. George Meadows, 35 votes. Paul Hughes, 24 votes. Richardson, Palmisciano and Lander elected.

Executive Committee (Five positions)

Thomas Flynn, Bruce Lydem, Gary DeCosta, John Leavitt and John Cunningham ran unopposed. One vote was cast by the Chair. Flynn, Lydem, DeCosta, Leavitt and Cunningham were elected.

Elected candidates were sworn into office following the reading of the results by the Election Committee and will each serve a four-year term, expiring in September 2017





NERCC election Posted by on

Nominations and election for the Executive Board of the New England Regional Council of Carpenters are being held today at a Special Call Delegates Meeting at the New England Carpenters Training Center. The following nominations have been made:
 

Executive Secretary-Treasurer
Mark Erlich, Local Union 40, nominated by Dan Kuhs, Local Union 56. Seconded by Bill Callahan, Local Union 24.

President
Richard Monarca, Local Union 24, nominated by Andy Hendrickson, Local Union 24. Seconded by John Murphy, Local Union 33.

Vice President
--Al Peciaro, Local Union 33, nominated by Brian Richardson, Local Union 56. Seconded by Michael Robinson, Local Union 24.
--Rick Anderson, Local Union 624, self-nominated. Seconded by Joe Power, Local 40.

Warden
--Local Union Jack Donahue, Local 107, nominated by Ray Bissonnette of Local Union 107. Seconded by Fred Taylor, Local 107.

Conductor
--John Murphy, Local Union 33, nominated by Tom Flynn, Local Union 67. Seconded by Richard Monarca, Local Union 24.

Trustees (3) 
--George Meadows, Local Union 43, nominated by Bill Baker, Local Union 43. Seconded by Tim Moriarty, Local Union 43.
--Brian Richardson, Local Union 56, nominated by Ted Duarte, Local Union 210. Seconded by Mynor Perez, Local Union 2168.
--Paul Lander, Local Union 94, nominated by Chris Shannon, Local Union 67. Seconded by Mike Antunes of Local Union 94.
--David Palmisciano, Local Union 94, nominated by Bill Holmes, Local Union 94. Seconded by Richard Monarca, Local Union 24.
--Paul Hughes, Local Union 218, self-nominated. Seconded by Jeff Donahue, Local Union 218.

Executive Committee (5)
--Thomas Flynn, Local Union 67, nominated by Victor Carrara of Local Union 67. Seconded by Brian Richardson, Local Union 56.
--Bruce Lydem, Local Union 24, nominated by David Jarvis, Local Union 24. Seconded by Mike Turner, Local Union 24
--Gary DeCosta, Local Union 1305, nominated by John Cunningham, Local Union 210. Seconded by John Cabral, Local Union 1305.
--John Leavitt, Local Union 1996, nominated by John Murphy, Local 33. Seconded by Jim Carey, Local 275.
--John Cunningham, Local Union 210, nominated by Gary DeCosta, Local Union 1305. Seconded by Ted Duarte, Local Union 210. 





New London enacting local hire, training ordinance Posted by on

The city council of New London, Connecticut has approved an ordinance that will require contractors bidding for city construction projects valued at more than $1 million to hire local workers and provide apprenticeship training. New London Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio has pledged to sign the ordinance when it reaches his desk.

The ordinance was proposed by the New England Regional Council of Carpenters and publicly supported by members and NERCC Business Representative Chris Bachant. It passed the Administration Committee before winning a vote of the City Council the following week.

"This ordinance allows a percentage of workers from New London or New London County be required to work on a job,'' Bachant told the New London Day. "And any company working on a city project must comply with the Connecticut apprenticeship program. This is an opportunity. It's not just a job. We're offering a career."

There was opposition to the ordinance among the city council and from the editorial page of New London Day. Following the vote of the full city council, Mayor Finizio published an opinion piece in the Day rebutting criticisms of the ordinance and restating his support.

"Low bidder rules for construction projects, without the protections that this ordinance provides, favor the success of bids that use lower quality and less trained workers. While a bid awarded may, in today's dollars, be less than a union construction bid, the buildings built are not of the same quality," Finizio wrote.

"A responsible contractor ordinance, combined with appropriate budgeting for routine maintenance, will lower costs to city taxpayers in the long term by building, and maintaining, better quality buildings."
 





Enforcement against cheating businesses jumps in Mass Posted by on

More than $21 million has been collected from employers in Massachusetts who violated labor laws in the last 18 months, according to the annual report of the Joint Enforcement Task Force on the Underground Economy and Employee Misclassification. The amount represents more than the total that was recovered in all previous years.

The joint task force was created in 2008 as a result efforts by the Carpenters union and others to educate Governor Deval Patrick, state legislators and leaders of several executive branch agencies who enforce laws and policies related to employee misclassification. Tens of millions of dollars in state and federal revenue are lost each year due to employee misclassification while employers who play by the rules are put at a competitive disadvantage and workers are stripped of essential protections such as workers' compensation coverage and eligibility for unemployment insurance, Social Security and Medicare.

The issue is especially acute in the construction industry, where the fairness of direct competitive bidding can easily be undermined by a bidder misclassifying employees as independent contractors to save 20-30% on labor cost. Perhaps the largest recent case involved more than $1.1 million in unreported wages found at the renovation of the Boston Marriot Copley Place, where one contractor was paying $4 an hour to employees who were recruited from a substance abuse program in Connecticut. Contractors were issued more than $100,000 in fines on the project.

"The work of the Task Force is invaluable in reducing the growth of the underground economy in the state's construction industry,” said Mark Erlich, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the New England Regional Council of Carpenters. “Taking on the illegal practices of wage theft, misclassification and tax and insurance fraud creates a more level playing field, which ultimately benefits legitimate employers, tradesmen and women and taxpayers."

The joint task force brings together various state agencies, including the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, the Attorney General’s Fair Labor Division, the Insurance Fraud Bureau and others.

Both the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald covered the issue.





The latest issue of New England Carpenter is on its way! Posted by on

Keep an eye on your mailbox, the latest issue of the New England Carpenter magazine will be arriving this week. The issue features a story about the economic recovery slowing spreading across New England as well as a cluster of stories about NERCC members and their involvement in the community. You can read the issue online and find additional content, including links to video content, by clicking here





Scholarship application deadline approaching Posted by on

 

Applications are now being accepted for the 2013 New England Regional Council Scholarship Program. Last year 148 students applied and a total of $50,000 was awarded, including the top prize scholarship of $5,000.

To be considered for an award, a completed application package must be received by 5:00 pm on April 12, 2013.

Please review the Eligibility and Guidelines for the program before completing the application. Applicants will be required to write an essay of between 500 and 1000 words on the following topic:

What impact does “Right to Work” legislation have on labor unions, economic development and the standard of living in a state that adopt the law?

To eliminate bias, the scholarship committee is blind to the identity of the applicant. Essays are numerically coded to prevent any reader from having knowledge of the writer. Winners of the top two prizes will be asked to read their essays at the June 2013 delegate meeting. Persons awarded first or second place in a prior year are ineligible for first or second place in subsequent years.





Raids flush out more crooked contractors in Connecticut Posted by on

A series of sweeps of construction sites in Connecticut this year has resulted in 27 "Stop Work" orders against contractors for misclassification of workers as "independent contractors." The results continue a disturbing trend in the state's construction industry. In the past year, the Connecticut Department of Labor reports that inspection and review of 108 construction projects and 299 contractors has resulted in 199 "Stop Work" work orders, an alarming rate of cheating.

"Some employers will misclassify workers as independent contractors with the intent of avoiding their obligations under federal and state employment law covering such matters as workers' compensation, unemployment taxes and payroll reporting," said state Labor Commissioner Sharon Palmer. "Unfortunately, when an employer fails to pay for the proper coverage for injuries suffered on the job, and a worker gets hurt, the state's taxpayers ultimately foot the bill."

Avoiding tax obligations gives cheating employers a significant advantage in competitive bidding and negotiated pricing within the construction industry and creates a funding gap for state and federal governments, among other problems.

Media coverage here.





NERCC thanks volunteers Posted by on

Earlier this month, the NERCC hosted an event at the Carpenters Center honoring the members and contractors who contributed their time, talents, and resources to the construction of the new National Teaching Hospital in Mirebalais, Haiti. Representatives from the hospital attended the event to thank the volunteers for their efforts. Dr. David Walton, Chief Operating Officer, and Jim Ansara, Director of Design & Construction, spoke at the event and shared updated pictures from the hospital, which was scheduled to open the next morning.

Representatives Martin Walsh and Linda Dorcena-Forry also attended the event, thanking all of the volunteers and contributors to the project and handing out citations to each of the members who volunteered on the project.

After the citations were awarded, there was a presentation of the video (below), “Helping Hammers: Carpenters in Haiti,” which outlines the massive donations of time, materials and skills that were needed for the project to succeed.

Congratulations to all the union members who applied their skills to this transformative project that will benefit thousands of people for years to come.

Scott Berry, Local 111; Michael Biasella, Local 40; Eric Bickford, Local 2168; Joe Bickford, Local 2168; Joe Broderick, Local 535; Peter Carroll. Local 111; John Colbert, Local 40; David Cormier, Local 43; Michael Costello, Local 40; Jorge DeBurgo, Local 2168; Ryan Donovan, Local 2168; Patrick Feeney, Jr., Local 67; Hans Gabriel, Local 40; Michael Jacques, Local 2168; Stephen Lavache, Local 40; David LeBlanc, Local 2168; Peter Leyden, Local 33; Bruce McKenna, Local 33; Stephen McKenna, Local 275; James Murray, Local 94; Mynor Perez, Local 2168; Michael Robinson, Local 210; Andrew Smith, Local 43; Timothy Sullivan, Local 24; and David Young, Local 2168.

Thanks to the following contractors who contributed to the project:
Contract Flooring Installations, Mark Richey Flooring, Shawmut Design and Construction, Shock Brothers, Central Ceilings, H. Carr & Sons, John Moriarty and Associates, Cheviot Corporation.

 





Bouchard retiring Posted by on

Bryan Bouchard, who serves as Business Manger of Local 1996 in Vermont, Regional Manager for Northern New England and a member of the New England Regional Council of Carpenters Executive Board has announced his retirement, effective March 11. Bouchard is a 36-year member of the UBC.


Executive Secretary-Treasurer Mark Erlich is appointing John Leavitt to fill Bouchard's unexpired term on the Executive Board as well as his role as Regional Manager for Northern New England.


"Bryan served the members on staff for the Carpenters Union for 26 years," Erlich said. "He has been a quiet but effective leader who always carried himself with dignity and integrity. He will be sorely missed by his members and the Council. We wish him a long and happy retirement."
 





State, Feds raid Stamford mega-sites Posted by on

The Connecticut Department of Labor was joined by the US Department of Labor, OSHA and local and state police in raids of at least four construction sites in Stamford last week in an unprecedented effort to crack down on payroll fraud. The Stamford Advocate covered the raids and published a column by Angela Carella calling for developers to clean up their businesses.

The raids targeted three sites being built by Building and Land Technology and another by Greenfield Partners. The sites have all previously been the target of numerous public complaints as well as demonstrations by union carpenters and other trades workers. The Harbor Point project being built by BL&T has also been the site of numerious enforcement actions. More than 34 "Stop Work" orders had been issued at the project prior to last week's raids.

Investigators talked to more than 200 workers, according to media reports, and will sort out possible violations in the coming weeks after reviewing those interviews.
 





Ice Fishing Derby Posted by on

The 5th Annual New England Carpenters Ice Fishing Derby will be held Sunday, February 17 from 7am-2pm at Singletary Lake in Millbury, Massachusetts.

Organizer Joe Broderick will be set up at 5am at the lake, which can be accessed by West Main Street in Millbury. Look for a banner with the carpenters emblem by the boat ramp. There is a $20 fee to enter. Twenty-five percent of proceeds will be donated to the Valley Tech Educational Fund

Power augers will not be allowed before 7am and no tickets will be sold after 9am. Awards and a shore drawing will be held at the boat ramp at 2pm. Prizes will be awarded to the heaviest fish of any species, with 40% of proceeds going to the winner, 25% to 2nd place and 10% to 3rd place. Ties will be broken by fish length. All fish must be brought in alive.

For questions, please call Joe Broderick of Local 535 at 781-983-1383.





Helping Hammers: Carpenters in Haiti Posted by on

On January 12, 2010, a catastrophic earthquake hit Haiti, devastating an already impoverished nation. With much of the country's medical infrastructure destroyed, plans that were in place to build a 110-bed community hospital had to be revamped. The Ministry of Health, along with Partners In Health, launched a far more ambitious plan to build a 320-bed state-of-the-art teaching hospital in Mirebalais, which is located thirty-five miles north of Port-au-Prince in the Central Plateau.

Haiti's building industry, however, was simply unable to meet the needs of the new building design. Massive donations of time, materials and skills would be needed for the project to succeed. Union carpenters and contractors stepped up to the challenge to help secure materials and volunteer their time and labor to help build the hospital while teaching Haitian workers valuable craft skills 

To learn more, check out the piece NERCC Executive Secretary-Treasurer Mark Erlich wrote for Commonwealth magazine about this amazing project following a trip to Haiti in 2012.





Got Training? Posted by on

Registration is now open!

Registration is now open for 2013 Spring Semester. All training is provided FREE to UBC members. Classes are filled on a first-come, first-served basis, so register early!

To register, log onto the training website NECTF.org by using your UBC number (found on your union card) and your date of birth.

Check out nercc.org/training2013 for more info. 

 





2013 NERCC Scholarship Now Accepting Applications Posted by on

 

Applications are now being accepted for the 2013 New England Regional Council Scholarship Program. Last year 148 students applied and a total of $50,000 was awarded, including the top prize scholarship of $5,000.

To be considered for an award, a completed application package must be received by 5:00 pm on April 12, 2013.

Please review the Eligibility and Guidelines for the program before completing the application. Applicants will be required to write an essay of between 500 and 1000 words on the following topic:

What impact does “Right to Work” legislation have on labor unions, economic development and the standard of living in a state that adopt the law?

To eliminate bias, the scholarship committee is blind to the identity of the applicant. Essays are numerically coded to prevent any reader from having knowledge of the writer. Winners of the top two prizes will be asked to read their essays at the June 2013 delegate meeting. Persons awarded first or second place in a prior year are ineligible for first or second place in subsequent years.





Meet Our Community - Kevin Smith Posted by on

The following video story about Local 210 Brother Kevin Smith was recently posted in the Meet Our Community section of nercc.org. To see more stories like this, visit the Meet Our Community page. 

 

 





The Carpenters Union gets the job done! Posted by on

First they helped it win approval, now they're helping it become a reality. Union carpenters in Bridgeport are now building the Fairchild Wheeler Multi-Magnet School, a combination of facilities and programs that are bringing excitement and hope to a troubled area. The building will be LEED Gold Certified and offer Aeronautics, Information Technology and Zoological/Ecological programs underwritten by corporate sponsors. The 340,000 square foot building is the largest school project in Connecticut's history and is employing hundreds of local trades workers.

 

See more of this project and others in NERCC's Project Portfolio.

 

 





Misclassification crackdown, publicity Posted by on

Misclassification has been a serious problem in the construction industry for years, and something against which the Carpenters union has led the fight locally, regionally and nationally. Union efforts resulted first in greater understanding and awareness among elected officials and now regularly lead to enforcement and publicity on the issue that is either directly a result of union action or an indirect result of efforts initiated by the union.

Two items broke this week that reinforce that point. In Worcester, Telegram and Gazette columnist Clive McFarlane wrote about efforts by NERCC Organizer Manny Gines to chase down employers who cheat by misclassifying workers as independent contractors or cheat them out of their wages.

McFarlane's column ties into an announcement earlier in the week by the Executive Office of Labor in Massachusetts that more they had found more than 2,300 workers misclassified by just three employers. Though the three companies were not involved in the construction industry, the eye-popping $11 million in unreported wages and millions of dollars the state should have received for unemployment insurance payments generated new stories that put the issue in front of the general public.





Clean sweep in New England Posted by on

To all staff and local unions:

Yesterday was a good day for union carpenters across New England. Amazingly, all of the Council’s endorsed candidates won election. Obama swept the six states, including winning swing-state New Hampshire by a larger-than-expected margin. In the critical races -- Warren in Massachusetts, Murphy in Connecticut, Hassan/Kuster/Shea-Porter in New Hampshire, King in Maine, Cicilline in Rhode Island – our picks were all winners!!

There is no doubt in my mind that some of the credit for these outcomes belongs to all of you and our members. We worked as hard as we ever have in an election season. We used all the tools available to us – new and old techniques – to educate and mobilize our members. And they responded. Door knocking, phone banks, rallies, visibilities, robo-dials, tele-Town Halls. We had a good story to tell…and we told it well and often.

But it’s important to keep a clear-eyed perspective on where we stand the morning after Election Day 2012. In many ways, we “held serve”. We helped fend off the right wing Republican assault on the middle class. There should be a clear message to the nation’s anti-union forces that their philosophy is not welcome, that the voters do not buy an agenda that favors the wealthy over working families. Yet we still have a divided Congress; we still have a Republican Party that attacks unions. We have some new articulate champions but we also have some old foes. Paul Ryan is still chair of the House Budget Committee and there are no signs yet that the House leadership is prepared to move forward in terms of solving our country’s problems as opposed to scoring political points.

So, as much as all of us deserve to take a deep breath and feel a justified sense of pride in our efforts, we will need to remain vigilant. The economy will not fix itself; it will require more federal and state action to invest in jobs and people. And it will require our continued involvement. Our members need to work; that’s why we endorsed the candidates who understood that the best social program is a job.

Thank you all for your efforts these past weeks and months. It was worth it. Congratulations.

Mark Erlich
Executive Secretary-Treasurer
New England Regional Council of Carpenters
 





Our Work - Fairchild Wheeler Multi-Magnet High School Posted by on

 

Lean more about the Fairchild Wheeler Muti-Magnet school project by clicking here to view it in our online portfolio





CT carpenters stand out for Murphy Posted by on

Last night in Hartford, carpenters participated a pre-debate visibility in support of Chris Murphy, the union's endorsed candidate for United States Senate.

 





Carpenters prepare for election push Posted by on

More than 75 carpenter stewards in Connecticut from Locals 24, 43 and 210 gathered last night to talk about upcoming elections in the state that could have a significant impact both locally and nationally. A United States Senate race between Congressman Chris Murphy and second-time candidate Linda McMahon of the WWE wrestling company is one of a handful of races in the country that could tilt the balance of power in the Senate. Members are also active in other races in the state.


After discussing issues of importance to union carpenters, the conversation turned to getting as many members active as possible. Stewards returned to jobsites today armed with information and schedules. The information is to educate fellow carpenters about the issues and the candidates, the schedules were for events at which members will reach out to even more members. Between now and Election Day on November 6, members will be participating in phone banks to contact registered members and talk to them about the importance of the election to their families, our union, the economy and the construction industry.
Members interested in participating in scheduled activity should contact their Local Union hall for dates and times.





Workers take the hit Posted by on

The Stamford Advocate ran another piece covering the areas standards demonstrations at the Harbor Point apartment complex. Contractors working for Harbor Point developer Building Land Technology (BLT) are working in Connecticut but not hiring Connecticut workers, not paying Connecticut wages and not meeting are safety standards.

The Connecticut Department of Labor's Wages & Workplace Standards Division has issued 34 "Stop Work Orders" to contractors working at Harbor Point over the last two years, continuing a string of bad practices and bad press for the city and the project's developer, BLT.

"It's disheartening to see so many out-of-state workers on the job at Harbor Point because the unemployment rate in the construction industry in Connecticut is twenty percent to thirty percent,"said Tim Sullivan, Local 210 Organizer .

Read the entire article here





CT Apprenticeship receives training grant Posted by on

The Connecticut Carpenters Apprenticeship and Training Program received grant money as part of Eastern Connecticut’s implementation of the CT Green Jobs Funnel Initiative. The money will be used to hold a 24-hour Safe and Green: Best Practices in Health Care Construction in Occupied Facilities Training Program combined with a 16-hour Green Tradesmen Training Program.

The grant money will allow up to twelve NERCC members to take the course. As part of the requirements of the grant, the members must be residents of a municipality in Eastern Connecticut.

The course will involve four days of classroom work and one day of hands-on training. Topics to be covered include: the challenges of performing safe and green construction in a healthcare facility; an overview of the various types of healthcare facilities and the uniquely hazardous environments they present; controlling contaminants; guidelines, precautions, and infection control measures; and mold remediation and removal.

The class is scheduled to begin on August 13th.





National talk host digs into Stamford Posted by on

National television talk show host Cenk Uygur this week hosted NERCC Representative Tim Sullivan on his show "The Young Turks" to talk about events at Stamford's Harbor Point development. The two talked about how the project is undermining area standards for carpenters' wages and benefits and how instead of local citizens voting on the project, votes were cast by a single lawyer representing a handful of corporations. That's right, corporations voting, not citizens.

 





Carpenters demonstrate against Allstate Posted by on

Carpenters in Norwalk, Connecticut held an area standards demonstration to raise awareness about the practices of Allstate Interiors, based out of New York. The drywall contractor is working at Maplewood at Strawberry Hill. The $17-mllion project is converting a former elementary school into an assisted-living facility for the elderly.

Allstate does not meet area standards for wages and benefits. Workers  have reported making as little as $10-$12 an hour on construction projects. 

The Norwalk Hour covered the rally.





CT DOL issues 13 "Stop Work" orders Posted by on

The Connecticut Department of Labor issued “Stop Work” orders against 13 construction companies in recent weeks for misclassifying workers as “independent contractors.” The orders were issued in multiple communities where contractors were found to have misclassified workers for the purpose of avoiding their obligations to carry workers’ compensation and paying federal and state unemployment taxes, including unemployment.

One of the "Stop Work" orders was issued against NLP Contractors at the New London Plaza. Union carpenters have been protesting at the site, where renovations are being done and where North Carolina-based SandovalConstruction has already been issued a "Stop Work " order. (earlier post)

The Hartford Courant, New London Day, Republican AmericanDanbury Patch and Greenwich Patch reported on the story. Sites where contractors issued "Stop Work" orders were issued were located in Danbury, Greenwich, New London, Preston, Naugatuck and Simsbury.

“Stop Work” orders result in the halting of all activity at a cited company’s worksite, as well as a $300 civil penalty for each day the company does not carry workers’ compensation coverage as required by law.

According to a release on the "Stop Work" orders by the Department of Labor: “in the past 12 months the agency has inspected 167 construction projects and reviewed the records of 688 contractors. A total of 281 “Stop Work” orders have been issued during this time, with 116 identified as being issued to out?\of?\state contractors. Since October 2007, a total of 735 “Stop Work” orders have been issued with $285,000 collected in civil penalties for the misclassification of workers. Additionally, referrals have been made to the Department of Revenue Services and the Labor Department’s Tax Division audit unit for further investigation.”
 

This blog post was updated form a previous post on 5/16 to include links to additional media coverage and information about the New London Plaza site.