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Helping Hammers: Boston Fire Department Moon Island Posted by on

As union carpenters, we understand the importance of training, from reaching our full potential as crafts workers to making sure we're as safe and whole going home as we were arriving at the job. For members of the Boston Fire Department, training is even more important. Day in and day out, they're working to save the lives and property of the people of Boston. That’s why Boston Firefighters Local 718 recently enlisted the help of the New England Carpenter Training Fund for our latest “Helping Hammers” endeavor.As part of their supervised training, union carpenter apprentices built a structure to be used in Rapid Intervention and Thermal Imaging Rescue training. It was built at the Boston Fire Training Academy on Moon Island in Quincy, MA, and will be invaluable to their ongoing firefighting and lifesaving training programs.





New study examines wage theft in Mass construction Posted by on

New research published by the University of Massachusetts Amherst Labor Center asserts how the illegal theft of workers’ wages, especially those of undocumented immigrant laborers, has reached epidemic levels in the residential construction industry in Massachusetts. In the working paper “The Epidemic of Wage Theft in Residential Construction in Massachusetts,” Tom Juravich, professor of sociology, with research assistants and co-authors Essie Ablavsky and Jake Williams, present three case studies examining the subcontractors for one of the nation’s largest homebuilding companies, regional drywall-hanging companies and affordable housing construction by a community development corporation.

Based on legal records, news reports and 27 in-depth interviews with construction workers, contractors, homeowners, union staff and community-based organizers, Juravich and his co-authors present evidence that contractors in residential construction responded to their financial losses from the Great Recession by the wholesale and illegal misclassification of their workers as independent contractors.

“By not paying taxes on workers’ wages and by not contributing to worker compensation funds, contractors reduced their building costs by 30 percent,” the paper states. “These contingent workers—the majority of who are undocumented immigrants—are routinely cheated out of their wages by contractors who pay late, do not compensate for overtime, and sometimes do not pay for work at all. Firms generate profits by victimizing some of the most vulnerable workers in Massachusetts, delivering poor quality homes to consumers, and leaving citizens of the commonwealth on the hook to make up for hundreds of millions in lost tax revenue.”

Juravich and his co-authors focused on residential construction in and around Worcester and Framingham, two modest-sized cities with populations of 182,000 and 68,100, respectively. “We chose this location, in part, because of the belief that innovation (and the violations that prompted them) often begin in smaller markets like this one before entering larger urban markets such as nearby Boston,” Juravich says. “In the case of construction, practices such as these emerge in these regional markets in residential construction, far away from the watchful eye of labor organizations and other regulatory bodies that tend to focus on larger cities and commercial construction projects.”

Juravich and his co-authors illustrate the tactics allegedly used by a major national homebuilder and its subcontractors, five of which were ordered to pay more than $400,000 in unpaid wages and penalties by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Attorney General’s office for wage theft violations in the state. The researchers say documentation shows that while the homebuilder financially benefited from this wage theft, the company was legally insulated from being charged with any wrongdoing and few of these wages and fines were ever collected, as many of its subcontractors simply closed their doors or reopened under new names.

They also highlight regional drywall firms that they say have a long history of illegal misclassification and wage theft in New England, demonstrating how easy it is to reorganize and resume operations under new names in order to avoid prosecution and to continue these practices.

“Because no existing mechanism prevents such firms from avoiding prosecution, we have seen an explosion of firms that employ illegal misclassification and wage theft in the drywall industry,” Juravich says. “This phenomenon deeply threatens the economic viability of legitimate contractors who play by the rules. Perhaps more troubling is that the growth of these companies who make their profits from illegal employment practices has begun to move beyond residential construction into more commercial and public types of construction.”

The paper suggests a number of policy recommendations for Massachusetts to combat illegal misclassification and wage theft, including strict enforcement of penalties and fines, public identification of violators, better permanent inter-agency coordination and a dramatic increase in workplace raids.

“We have seen how woefully inadequate the regulatory structure has been and watched the emergence of a whole new production regime in residential construction built upon a foundation wage theft,” Juravich says. “Without concerted change, these new methods of production will both intensify and spread to other forms of construction victimizing largely immigrant workers in the industry. The quality of construction will continue to decline delivering a poor value to homeowners while leaving the taxpayer on the hook to cover lost revenue and the medical cost of those not covered by workers’ compensation.”

Ultimately, however, the authors state that the real solution to the crisis lies with immigration reform.

“The single, most important policy action to combat wage theft and misclassification is genuine immigration reform,” they conclude in the paper. “Without real immigration reform that will provide a path to citizenship for the more than 10 million undocumented workers in the United States, it will be difficult to control forced misclassification of work and the theft of workers’ wages. As long as immigrants remain hidden in the shadows and largely excluded from regularized employment, unscrupulous employers will continue to exploit their vulnerability to increase their own profit.”





Rally to support union carpenters Monday Posted by on

A rally is scheduled for Monday, May 11 at 11am at the Statehouse in Boston to support MBTA workers--including dozens of union carpenters--who are fighting back against Governor Charlie Baker's attempts to eliminate the Taxpayer Protection Act.

Baker's hand-picked new board at the MBTA is looking to take advantage of the winter failures of private Commuter Rail operators Keolis to privatize the MBTA system. The Taxpayer Protection Act requires that any privatization efforts demonstrate a real benefit, not just elimination of jobs, wages and service levels.





Helping Hammers: Peddocks Island Chapel Restoration Posted by on

This past summer, apprentices with the New England Carpenters Training Fund ( NECTF) completed work on a unique project on Peddocks Island, one of the largest islands in Boston Harbor. Over a hundred apprentices traveled to the island over the course of a year for onsite hands-on training restoring the Peddocks Island Chapel.

Considered one of the most historic of the thirty-four Boston Harbor Islands, Peddocks has the longest shoreline of any of the islands and a very diverse landscape making it very attractive to visitors. With many of the island’s buildings in severe disrepair, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) implemented a plan to preserve the island’s history while keeping it safe for visitors. One of the most significant projects was the restoration of the most iconic feature of the island: the chapel located near the island’s main dock.

The scope of work needing to be done at the chapel was daunting, and the Boston Harbor Island Alliance reached out to the New England Regional Council of Carpenters and the NECTF asking for help with labor on the $1.8 million chapel restoration project.

The island experience offered a unique work opportunity for apprentices. While being taught general work conditions and site safety, apprentices also learned the logistics of planning to work in an isolated environment and how to adapt and adjust accordingly.

NERCC produced this documentary video of the work the apprentices completed at the chapel, including footage from various stages of the project and interviews with some of the people involved.

Peddocks Island is open to the public and accessible by private boat or by ferry. Visit Mass DCR or BostonHarborIslands.org to learn more.





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





State to review $17M tax giveaway Posted by on

In late September 2014 the Economic Assistance Coordinating Council (EACC) agreed to a panel review in response the New England Regional Council of Carpenters application to revoke state and local tax relief for Great Wolf. The EACC expects a status report from the panel review sometime in December. Read coverage of these recent events in the Worcester Telegram and Gazette and the Fitchburg Sentinel

Learn more at nercc.org/greatwolf





Free flu shots at Carpenters Center Posted by on

Carpenters Care is offering free flu shots at the Carpenters Center this month. Check out the schedule - no appointment necessary.





Protect Jobs in MA- Vote No on 3 Posted by on

Protect Jobs in MA - Vote NO on Question 3. A NO vote will protect projects like the Plainridge Park Casino - which is moving forward despite a Nov. 4 vote on whether to repeal the 2011 casino law that made the project possible.





Labor Guild releases Fall schedule Posted by on

The Labor Guild's School of Labor Management Relations has released its schedule of classes for the fall semester. Classes begin September 15th and run through November 10th. All classes are held in one of two periods between 7:00 - 9:30 PM.

Classes will return to SEIU 1199's Dorchester facility for the Fall 2014 term. Local 1199 is located in the Corcoran-Jennison Building, 150 Mount Vernon Street, Dorchester, at the Bayside Expo Business Center. 

A full class list is available at laborguild.com.

The mission of the Labor Guild is to provide engaging, high-quality, affordably-priced Labor-Management education. Each term, 8-10 courses are offered in a variety of topic areas including: labor law, negotiations, union goverance, leadership, public speaking,and economics. 

For more information, visit laborguild.com or call 781-340-7887.





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.





Rebuilding a community, not just a building Posted by on

In early 2009, an electrical fire damaged a Worcester building that served as a home to the Stone Soup Community Resource group, a collection of volunteer organizations. With plenty of community support, but scarce funding, the group faced an uncertain future. Local 107's Dave Minasian was an active member of Stone Soup and was able to organize help from friends in the union and the New England Carpenters Training Center to join an effort to make the space usable again.

YouthBuild Boston served as the general contractor on the project. YouthBuild helps low-income young adults between the ages of 16-24 work towards their GEDs, while learning job skills through training and pre-apprenticeship programs. In need of skilled labor to partner with, Local 107 member volunteers and apprentices working under the direction of NECTC instructors stepped up and became an integral part of the rebuild process.

The green rebuild included fire repairs, energy retrofit weatherization work, electrical and heating system updates, and wheelchair accessibility improvements.





The Carpenters and Boston Cares Posted by on

The New England Regional Council of Carpenters and the New England Carpenters Training Fund teamed up with Boston Cares, the region’s largest volunteer mobilizer, to help them with their campaign to build 500 beds for children in need in 2014.

Instructors from the NECTF helped complete the design for the toddler beds so that they can be easily assembled by volunteers with minimal training. In advance of each volunteer day, member apprentices mill the lumber and prep all of the stock. Corporate and individual volunteers then assemble the beds at various locations, including the Carpenters Center and New England Carpenters Training Center. 

According to the Mass. Coalition for the Homeless, more than 1,500 Greater Boston school children do not have a bed, which affects their self-esteem, ability to learn, and likelihood of graduating from high school. Boston Cares works with social workers at several non-profit partners to find homes for each bed.


Volunteers assemble beds at the New England Carpenter Training Center. 
 




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."
 





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. 





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! 





One Day in Boston - the Bed Project Posted by on

The New England Regional Council of Carpenters particapted in the One Day on Earth project on April 26th to film stories about the future of Boston.

On April 26, 2014, the NERCC and Boston Cares teamed up to work toward a goal of making 500 beds. At the Carpenters Training center in Dorchester, volunteers from both organizations came together to build 30 beds in about 2 hours. 

NERCC teamed up with Boston Cares earlier in the year to help with the Bed Project, see pictures from these additional volunteer efforts by clicking here

 

The Carpenters and Boston Cares | Bed Project from ellen webber on Vimeo.

One Day on Earth started in September of 2008 with the goal of creating a unique worldwide media event where thousands of participants would simultaneously film over a 24-hour period. On April 26th, 2014 hundreds of filmmakers, non-profit organizations, and inspired citizens documented stories and investigated 10 questions for the future of Boston as part of a city-wide, participatory media-creation event. The resulting media will be showcased in an interactive geo-tagged archive and a TV series on the future of the American city. In addition, local media partners will showcase the most powerful and inspiring videos created during the one-day filmmaking event.





Response to Globe column on housing Posted by on

Mark Erlich, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the New England Regional Council of Carpenters, issued the following in response to Shirley Leung's June 4 Boston Globe column about middle class housing development in the city.

"Shirley Leung’s June 4 column on the “deafening whisper campaign” that attributes the high cost of building middle class housing to overpaid union construction workers is a shallow and misguided analysis. Yes, there is a housing crisis and all hands need to be on deck to achieve the City’s goal of 20-30,000 new units. But labor makes up less than 25% of total housing production costs and is rising far more slowly than land, fees, and other soft costs.

"The reality on the ground is that hundreds of non-luxury units are under construction in East Boston, Allston-Brighton, and Jamaica Plain – all with union labor. Further, our members have built most of the non-profit development community’s affordable housing in Boston’s neighborhoods.

"Sadly, Leung has listened to a handful of whisperers comfortably located in up-market offices and condos who seek to eliminate the job opportunities of the very men and women who are the middle class Bostonians that the City’s housing policy is designed to accommodate."





Carpenters support event for low wage workers Posted by on

In the last year, fast food workers across the country have been building a campaign to raise wages in their industry. The campaign has given energy to efforts to raise the minimum wage nationally and in states and communities across America. But the fast food industry isn't the only one where massive profits are generated and an unreasonable gulf exists between the compensation given to employees in corporate offices and those on the front lines.

From health care to hospitality and construction to customer service, too many workers are being paid too little for working so hard. In Massachusetts, an upcoming event aims to elevate their cause.

The New England Regional Council of Carpenters is joining individuals in Boston and Springfield on June 12 to support low wage workers. Hosted by Massachusetts Jobs with Justice, the Low Wage Worker Day of Action will bring information and focus attention on people who work hard and still struggle to support themselves and their families. More than that, it will encourage workers to begin standing together and acting together in a way that will make a difference.

The event matches the efforts of the Carpenters union who monitor nonunion construction sites and build relationships with nonunion carpenters. All too often, nonunion carpenters are not provided the wages and benefits they deserve, given the level of skill required and risk present on today's construction sites.

In Boston, the event will be held at Copley Square, in Springfield it will be at the Mount Calvary Church at John Street and Plainfield Street (Rt 20A). Both events will take place from 4-6 pm. Union carpenters, friends and families are invited and encouraged to participate.





Rego honored at State House Posted by on

Congratulations to Local 1305 Representative Dan Rego for being honored with the Portuguese Heritage Award! Rego was given the award at a ceremony at the State House in Boston by the Portuguese American Legislative Caucus.

In addition to being a full-time Council Representative and active member of the community, Dan is a City Councilor in Fall River, where he lives with his family.





Carpenters endorse Coakley for Mass Gov Posted by on

The New England Regional Council of Carpenters today endorsed Martha Coakley for Governor of Massachusetts, citing her experience making government work on behalf of fairness for workers and honest business.

"As Attorney General, Martha Coakley has been an advocate for working families and consumers," said Mark Erlich, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the NERCC. "Her Fair Labor Division sought to limit the impact of the underground economy - protecting workers and leveling the playing field for employers that play by the rules. As a candidate for Governor, she recognizes that growing income inequality is one of the major problems facing our society. Coakley knows that advocating for workers and supporting unions is the best method to rebuild the middle class. The New England Regional Council of Carpenters is pleased to endorse Martha Coakley for Governor. We believe she will bring the lessons she has learned as Attorney General to the corner office and make Massachusetts a stronger and more equitable Commonwealth."

Coakley was proud to have the support of the Carpenters union, which boasts a strong reputation for campaign and political activism among its members.

“Together, we can create a fair economy on our terms, by leveling the playing field, protecting our workers and creating good jobs at fair wages with quality, affordable health care," Coakley said. "I am honored by NERCC's support and look forward to working with them to make Massachusetts prosperous and fair."

NERCC is the regional governing body of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters, one of North America’s largest building-trades unions, with nearly a half-million members in the construction and wood-products industries. NERCC advocates for all working carpenters, unionized or not, because they believe that all workers deserve fair wages, benefits, and safe working conditions.





NERCC endorses Tolman for Attorney General Posted by on

BOSTON -- The New England Regional Council of Carpenters will announce their endorsement of Warren Tolman for Attorney General at a gathering today at the NERCC Headquarters in Dorchester. The NERCC represents over 20,000 carpenters, pile drivers, shop & millmen, and floorcoverers working in the New England states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont, endorsed Tolman because of his vow to create a progressive, proactive Attorney General's Office that prioritizes protecting Massachusetts families.

"I'm honored to have the support of the hard-working men and women of the New England Regional Council of Carpenters," Tolman said. "Keeping the middle class intact and growing our economy means leveling the playing field for working families. As Attorney General, I will never waver in my commitment to standing with our workers."

"The position of Attorney General is critical for those of us in the construction industry since that office is charged with addressing the problems of wage theft, the underground economy, and the creation of a level playing field for all participants," said Mark Erlich, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the New England Carpenters Union. "We are confident that Warren Tolman will make an exceptional Attorney General. He brings thoughtfulness, a wealth of experience, and a zeal for public service to his candidacy. The New England Regional Council of Carpenters is pleased to endorse Warren and will work hard to support his campaign."

Earlier this month, Tolman announced the support of the Massachusetts Teachers Association and the State Council of the Service Employees International Union. Tolman has the support of all four former Attorneys General, Frank Bellotti, Scott Harshbarger, Jim Shannon, and Tom Reilly. Tolman has also announced the support of Senate President Therese Murray, former State Treasurer and Democratic Gubernatorial Nominee, Shannon O’Brien, his campaign leadership team of State Senator Linda Dorcena Forry and Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll, and the backing of former Massachusetts Democratic Party Chair John Walsh.

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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!





Multi-million dollar tax giveaway in Fitchburg under scrutiny Posted by on

The Carpenters union is calling on local and state officials to rescind tax breaks given to a company for a project on which they and seven others had already been ordered by state investigators to stop work for legal violations. The violations were found less than three months before the tax package was announced. Further evidence gathered by investigators, which should have triggered an investigation for tax fraud, was apparently ignored.

In December, Great Wolf Lodge and others were ordered to stop work on their Fitchburg project by the Department of Industrial Accidents after a site visit revealed they did not have workers' compensation policies in place for construction workers. One of the employers told investigators at the time that “he had four employees on site who are being paid in cash, they receive their direction and control from Mr. Viveiros, all tools and equipment belong to him.” Two weeks later, an Organizer for the New England Regional Council of Carpenters visited the site and found the same employment conditions for other contractors on site.

In March, the state announced approval of a group of tax break packages, including $17.2 million for the Great Wolf Lodge. Mark Erlich, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the New England Regional Council of Carpenters sent a letter of concern to Greg Bialecki, Secretary of the Executive Office of Housing and Development, which approved the tax breaks.

"The lack of oversight on a project involving $17 million in tax relief should be a matter of grave concern to the Patrick administration. The violations were committed before the tax relief was awarded. That relief should be rescinded," said Erlich in the letter. "Without any further action on Great Wolf, the Commonwealth is sending an unfortunate message to its taxpayers and legitimate contractors that recipients of tax relief are rewarded regardless of illegal business practices."

"Great Wolf promised in its application that it would not knowingly hire subcontractors or other third parties that did not have Massachusetts workers' compensation insurance. Great Wolf's Senior Director of Design and Construction acknowledged the "Stop Work" order to a newspaper."

Misclassification of workers as “independent contractors” is an illegal, but unfortunately common model used in the construction industry to provide unscrupulous contractors with a significant advantage in a highly competitive industry. Misclassification costs the state and federal government hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenue and strips workers of important workplace protection, as well as the right to unemployment and retirement benefits.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

Summary List of Stop Work Orders
1. Great Lake Services dba Great Wolf Lodge of New England (WI)
2. Colonial Tile and Flooring (Clinton, MA)
3. Timothy Michael Locklear (NC)
4. Villnave Construction Services (VCS) (NY)
5. Wisconsin Exteriors & Drywall (WI)
6. Butters Fetting Co. (WI)
7. States Drywall (WI)
8. Weber Group (IN)





Seems like a clear objective, right? Posted by on

Union Carpenters continued their show of support for the "Jobs Not Jails" campaign over the weekend in Boston. Among the members of Local 107 and 108 who attended a rally on the Boston Common were NERCC Council Reps Rocky Thompson and Manny Gines, who were visible in this story on Boston Channel 7s news coverage.

Carpenters Locals 107 and 108 endorsed the Jobs Not Jails campaign this month. It is calling for the Commonwealth to spend $2 billion building schools, roads, and other public projects rather than building and expanding prisons.

The group is looking for volunteers to hold up banners covered with 30,000 petition signatures around the State House from 11:00 AM- 1:00 PM next Wednesday, April 30th. For more information about the campaign, including ways to help, visit JobsNotJails.org.





Retirement Seminar scheduled for May 31 Posted by on

**Update: As of 5/8/14 this seminar has reached capacity and registration is now closed. Please check back in August for details on seminars coming up this Fall.

The New England Regional Council of Carpenters and the New England Carpenters Benefits Funds are hosting a complimentary seminar “Planning for Retirement” on May 31, 2014. The seminar will be held at the Sheraton Framingham Hotel and Conference Center located at 1657 Worcester Rd in Framingham (click here for directions) from 8:30-12:00 pm. 

Members can click here to register online or contact the Reservation Desk at 978-253-5100. 

Some of the topics that will be discussed at the seminar include...

Choosing your Pension, Annuity & Health Benefit Options...

  • Reviewing your eligibility for retirement
  • Customized Pension Benefit calculations
  • Understanding which of our Benefit Plan options fit best with your lifestyle
  • Explore your Annuity Benefit options
  • Explanation of our Retiree Health Benefit Plan
  • Overview of Social Security Benefits

Essentials for Estate Planning...

  • Protecting the assets you've accumulated
  • How to plan for the transfer of assets
  • Avoiding probate
  • Keeping your documents current

 





Apprentices prepare for Lemonade Day Posted by on

First-year apprentices at the Carpenters Center built lemonade stands this week in preparation for a visit from Lemonade Day Boston volunteers next week. Lemonade Day is a national event designed to empower young entrepreneurs. The New England Regional Council of Carpenters will play an important role in Lemonade Day Boston by hosting a Build-a-Stand workshop at the Carpenters Center. Young volunteers will get assistance from union carpenters in designing and building their lemonade stands for the May 3 event.

 

 

The event is scheduled to take place on April 23. Among the atendees for the Build-a-Stand workshop will be Boston Mayor Marty Walsh.

The Carpenters Center is the headquarters of the New England Regional Council of Carpenters and the New England Carpenters Apprenticship and Training Fund. In addition to the administrative staff fo the reigonal governing body of the United Brotherohood of Carpenters and a handful of affiliated local unions, it includes extensive classroom, meeting and shop training space. It also houses the union's vision center and a private primary care health practice specially tailored for union members, called Carpenters Care.





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.





Save the date - Retirement Seminar coming up in May Posted by on

The New England Regional Council of Carpenters and the New England Carpenters Benefits Funds are hosting a complimentary seminar “Planning for Retirement” on May 31, 2014. The seminar will be held at the Sheraton Framingham Hotel and Conference Center located at 1657 Worcester Rd in Framingham (click here for directions) from 8:30-11:30 am.

Members should check back in the coming weeks for registration information. 

Some of the topics that will be discussed at the seminar include...

Choosing your Pension, Annuity & Health Benefit Options...

  • Reviewing your eligibility for retirement
  • Customized Pension Benefit calculations
  • Understanding which of our Benefit Plan options fit best with your lifestyle
  • Explore your Annuity Benefit options
  • Explanation of our Retiree Health Benefit Plan
  • Overview of Social Security Benefits

Essentials for Estate Planning...

  • Protecting the assets you've accumulated
  • How to plan for the transfer of assets
  • Avoiding probate
  • Keeping your documents current

 





More taxpayer money wasted in Hanover Posted by on

Statement issued by Mark Erlich, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the New England Regional Council of Carpenters regarding today’s decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in Hanover v New England Regional Council of Carpenters.

We always knew the Town’s case was baseless, and was just retaliation for helping to organize the taxpayer lawsuit over the new High School a few years ago. The Massachusetts Supreme Court agreed.

The way the Town of Hanover has handled this has been disappointing from the start. Despite being given information that should have led them to do otherwise, they have instead wasted taxpayer dollars to defend giving a contract to a contractor that lied to them and attack those who wanted to protect the Town.

The Town ignored serious flaws in the bidding process, defended a contractor they should have been dismissing, and then tried to retaliate after citizens exercised their constitutional rights to challenge the Town’s actions.

In dismissing the Town’s lawsuit, the Court was applying a state statute that is designed to protect parties from retaliation or punishment for exercising their constitutional rights. And the Court essentially concluded that’s just what the Town was doing in suing the Carpenters Union.

The real question for the residents of Hanover is: “How could the Town have wasted taxpayer resources to pursue a case like this in the first place, given its obvious failings?” And now, the Town will not only have its own legal bills to pay, but it will have to pay the Carpenters Union’s legal expenses as well.

UPDATE: The Boston Business Journal and Quincy Patriot Ledger/Hanover Mariner published stories on the case.
 





Everett mayor finds out for himself Posted by on

An unhappy Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria has a few questions for Fairfield Residential after an in-person visit to a project in the city. Fairfield is converting the old Charleston Chew factory into luxury apartments. The project has been touted as a producer of quality housing stock, but also good employment for Everett-area workers.

 When DeMaria spoke with a couple of carpenters on the project, they told the mayor they were being paid in cash on a piece-work basis and weren't getting any benefits. They were working for Wendy's Drywall, a subcontractor to VPS Drywall, a subcontractor to Metric Construction, the general contractor for one of the buildings on the project. Metric has had issues in the past with hiring subcontractors who don't meet area standards.

VPS continues a bad history. The company was ordered by the Massachusetts Attorney General to pay workers more than $4,000 in wages due to prevailing wage violations on the controversial Hannover High School project. They were also hit with more than $3,700 in fines by OSHA for safety violations, including one the agency deemed a "serious" violation. Finally, they were investigated by the United States Department of Labor for failing to pay workers more than $40,000 in overtime wages. They agreed to pay $17,500.

Carpenter Ramon Ochoa with Mayor DeMaria, NERCC Organizer Mario Mejia, Local 218 Business Agent Richard Pedi and Carpenter Moises Urias.

 Fairfield Residential is national builder and manager of multi-family housing that claims to be a leader in their industry. They claim they often work as their own general contractor and can effectively manage designs, budgets and time-lines.

 DeMaria was not happy to hear workers talk about being treated this way in his hometown and committed to following up to see that things were changed and didn't happen again.

An adjacent building, being built by union wood framers is progressing without incident.

 





NECTC teams up with Boston Cares Posted by on

Apprentices from the New England Carpenters Training Center are working today at the Carpenters Center with volunteers from Boston Cares to construct thirty beds as part of the Boston Cares Bed Project, which has committed to building 500 beds in 2014 for children in need.

Ahead of the volunteer day, apprentices prepped the stock for the beds: cutting head boards, bed slats and rails. Apprentices are now helping the Boston Cares staff lead volunteer work crew comprised of students who are all Gates Millennium Scholars participating in a week-long alternative spring break program.

“The whole concept of this building, from the very beginning, was that not only would it be a training center for the Carpenters union, but it would be a convenient place for the community and all the organizations that we have relationships with to use,” said Mark Erlich, NERCC Executive Secretary-Treasurer.

“We have benefitted from the economy and job possibilities in the City and it’s only right that we give back. This is one of many examples of our efforts to do that.”





Carpenters ready to build big in Springfield Posted by on

A story at BusinessWest.com highlights the efforts by MGM Grand and the Carpenters union to ensure that local workers are given priority consideration for work opportunities during upcoming construction of a casino in Springfield and that those jobs come with good wages and good benefits. Carpenters Local 108 Business Manager Jason Garand, who led the effort for a memorandum of agreement with MGM, is prominently featured in the piece.

Garand points to the work the union completed at Baystate Medical Center--and the way the hospital structured the contracts to encourage hiring from the area--demonstrated how the MGM project can succeed, even at a much larger scale.

Building trades unions in Massachusetts are currently working with casino developers to craft labor agreements that could create consistency in standards and working conditions for all facilities being proposed in the state.





Wentworth to host Spring Open House 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 March 25th, Wentworth is hosting an Open House for individuals interested in learning more about the program.

Date: March 25, 2014

Time: 5:30 PM

Location: 107 Dobbs Hall, 500 Huntington Ave., 1st Floor

Register online by clicking here





Revere again votes yes on casino Posted by on

Plans for Mohegan Sun to build a $1.3 billion hotel and casino at the Suffolk Downs horse track in Revere were approved by voters in that city for a second time yesterday. The fate of the project still hangs in the balance, as it will now go head-to-head for state approval for the single Eastern Massachusetts gaming license with a proposal by Steve Wynn in Everett. State officials are expected to hand down a decision in May or June. Union carpenters in Revere played a significant role in the campaign to approve the proposal, as they have in each of the gaming votes across the state.

Yesterday's vote was the second held for a proposal at the site. An earlier version was voted down by Revere and Boston voters, which led to modifications of the project so that the gaming facility would sit entirely on the Revere portion of the Suffolk Downs property.

As part of the state's approval of legalized gaming, three gaming licenses will be issued for casinos and one for a slot parlor. One casino license will be issued in a zone in western Massachusetts, one in a zone that covers the central and eastern part of the state, excluding southeastern Massachusetts and one is being held for a proposal for a Native American-owned proposal in southeastern Massachusetts. MGM Resorts has received local approval for a casino in Springfield, the only pending proposal for the western zone. A proposal for the southeastern zone is still pending.

Three slot parlors proposals by different developers are under consideration for locations in Raynham, Leominster and Plainville.





Retirement Seminar to be held - register today! Posted by on

The New England Regional Council of Carpenters and the New England Carpenters Benefits Funds are hosting a complimentary seminar “Planning for Retirement” on March 15, 2014. The seminar will be held at the Holiday Inn Taunton located at 700 Myles Standish Blvd in Taunton (click here for directions) from 8:30-11:30 am.

RSVP by March 7th by clicking here to fill out an online registration form. Members can also register by calling 617-482-4000.

Some of the topics that will be discussed at the seminar include...

Choosing your Pension, Annuity & Health Benefit Options...

  • Reviewing your eligibility for retirement
  • Customized Pension Benefit calculations
  • Understanding which of our Benefit Plan options fit best with your lifestyle
  • Explore your Annuity Benefit options
  • Explanation of our Retiree Health Benefit Plan
  • Overview of Social Security Benefits

Essentials for Estate Planning...

  • Protecting the assets you've accumulated
  • How to plan for the transfer of assets
  • Avoiding probate
  • Keeping your documents current

Click here to find more information about the seminar, including the online registration form.





Eat smart for a healthy heart...Even when you eat out! Posted by on

On average, Americans eat over 200 meals away from home each year. Let’s face it; dining out is a big part of life. The good news is you do not have to put your nutrition on hold when you go to a restaurant. It does not have to be difficult to eat what you like and maintain, or even continue to lose weight. Just keep these tips in mind when you dine out:

  • Do not skip meals earlier in the day to “save up” for the evening. It is way too easy to overeat when you are hungry.
  • Look for key words on the menu: “roasted”, “grilled”, “poached”, and “steamed”. These terms usually mean they were prepared without extra fat or a large amount of calories. It is still always helpful to ask your server exa
  • ctly how the food is prepared. Do not be afraid to make substitutions.
  • On that same note, stay away from items that are “fried”, “smothered”, “sautéed”, “covered”, etc. These are less healthy items that can easily have twice the calories as the steamed versions.
  • Enjoy the dining experience. Take your time, eat slowly, and enjoy the social side of eating. It takes about twenty minutes for the brain to register that you are full. We consume fewer calories when we eat slower. It is also easier on the digestive system.
  • Remember to choose a blend of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats at each meal. One large bowl of pasta with cream sauce is not the best way to go. Add chicken and veggies, switch to a red sauce, scale back the amount of pasta and you have a great meal.
  • Ask for dressings and sauces to be put on the side. That way, you can decide how much to use. Remember, a little goes a long way!
  • Take at least half of your meal home. Most restaurant portions are enough for three meals, so there is no need to clean your plate! You can even ask for the takeout box when the food arrives and put half of your meal in the box right away. Portion control is the single most important thing to practice in a restaurant. It will save you more calories than you know.

Remember these tips when dining out. By making small changes over time, you can enjoy restaurant food without sacrificing good nutrition!

If you have a question or are interested in learning more about Carpenters Care please call 1-781-222-0930 or email infoboston@iorahealth.com.

In Health,
Your Carpenters Care Team
 





Carpenters Care getting noticed Posted by on

What is the future of health care? Union carpenters may be finding out through "Carpenters Care by Iora Health," a practice that serves members and is creating talk among health care policy experts. The practice was solicited by the New England Carpenters Health Benefits Fund to open two practice offices, one in the Carpenters Center in Dorchester and the other at Lahey Hospital in Burlington, Massachusetts. It aims to focus more patient care on individual attention and preventative care with tremendous flexibility to meet the needs and schedules of patients.

The practice was included in a "CommonWealth" magazine article about ways practice innovators are helping to "Heal Health Care." Local 1121 millwright Jerome Foureau is included in the article, describing his experience of losing 32 pounds, changing his diet and looking forward to doctors visits since he started visiting Carpenters Care last summer. The story is posted online and can be read free of charge.


 





Meet Our Community - Rich Brow Posted by on

 It’s not often you have to bring your passport for a volunteer project with the Carpenters union. But as Local 107 member Rich Brow can tell you, it’s not never, either. Read more of his story here





One last job for the Mayor Posted by on

On the eve of his last First Night as mayor, Tom Menino called on help from his friends at the Carpenters union one last time and union carpenters gladly stepped up. Menino was set to participate in the First Night parade and the honor of building his float fell to Lyle Hamm, Paul Gangemi and Jim Barr.

The three donated their time to turn a trailer bed into a replica of one of Boston's famed Public Garden "Swan Boats." They attached one of the swans and park benches to the decking, then built safety railings along the side, with a contoured shape that matched the pontoons on the actual swan boats.






Signatory contractor expands presence Posted by on

Best of luck to Manafort Brothers and the union carpenters employed on their projects as the company expands their presence with a Worcester office. Click here to read more. 





Building a future for Essex Agricultural Posted by on

Thanks to Chris Marzullo, a Local 26 member working as a Foreman for G.O. Services. Brother Marzullo sent us pictures of a pole barn they're building for the new Essex Agricultural School in Danvers, Massachusetts. The new school building itself is being built by union carpenters employed by Gilbane and their subcontractors. The pole barn is one of several out-buildings that are or will be completed as part of the project.

 





Globe features Erlich piece Posted by on

The Boston Globe today published an opinion piece by Mark Erlich, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the New England Regional Council of Carpenters.

As inequality grows, 'union candidate' offers attractive vision
11/12/13
Boston Mayor-elect Marty Walsh was labeled as the union candidate early in the race. Columnists and debate moderators manufactured a perspective that Walsh’s labor affiliation was his candidacy’s albatross. Walsh does have a strong personal and family union background and recently served as the head of Boston’s building trades unions. But he had also been a state representative for 16 years with a legislative record on a full array of public policy issues.

Read more...

 





Walsh unites Boston, elected Mayor Posted by on

Buoyed by the support of a broad coalition that included union workers, minority communities, small business owners and middle class residents, State Representative Martin J. Walsh was elected Mayor of Boston last night, defeating City Councillor John Connolly. Walsh will succeed the enormously popular Thomas Menino, who is the city's longest serving mayor.

The following statement is from Mark Erlich, Secretary-Treasurer of the New England Regional Council of Carpenters, which endorsed Walsh in both the primary and general election. Erlich is also a Boston resident.

"Last night, Marty Walsh was elected to serve as the next Mayor of Boston. Marty's victory has implications far beyond the city's borders. Boston is, in many ways, the primary economic engine of New England and the leadership at City Hall sets the tone for the regional development and construction industry. For the past 20 years, Mayor Tom Menino has been a staunch ally of construction's union sector and his stance has helped our members find gainful employment in Boston and beyond.

"Marty's election will only serve to further elevate the profile of unions in our region. As a building trades leader who spoke proudly of his involvement in the labor movement, his victory flies in the face of the prevailing political winds that dismiss or attack the value of unions in today's society. Marty had to withstand withering attacks in the Boston media that claimed he would bankrupt the city by not being able to stand up to the city's public employee unions. Marty never backed down from his loyalty to organized labor as the best vehicle to re-build the middle class in the city.

"This election has national implications. While there have been a few Senators and Congressmen that have been clear about their pro-union beliefs, it is far more rare to find someone running for an executive position -- Mayor or Governor -- who doesn't feel the need to criticize unions in an effort to show they are "fiscally responsible". Marty made it clear that you can be committed to running a sound budget in a major American city and still maintain respect for trade unions.

"Marty was also able to win the support of nearly all of the elected officials from the city's minority community, demonstrating that today's labor movement is welcoming, diverse, and inclusive.

Marty is a personal friend of ours, a friend of the Carpenters, a friend of labor, and a friend of all those people who want to work, play by the rules, and have a chance at the American Dream.

Thanks to everyone who worked to get Marty Walsh elected. It can be the beginning of a new era for labor and politics."





Carpenters on election day Posted by on

Boston voters will go to the polls on Tuesday to elect a new Mayor and City Council. Many of these race extremely close, so we urge you to vote and encourage others to vote. If possible, be active on election day in support of candidates endorsed by the Carpenters union.

Members will gather for election day activity at 11 am at a location nearest their home. Locations are listed below.

Dorchester--McKeon Post
East Boston--973 Saratoga Street
East Boston--18 Meridian St
Hyde Park--214 Neponset Valley Parkway
Jamaica Plain 668 Centre Street
Mattapan--Russell Auditorium
South Boston--Ironworkers Local 7
West Roxbury--46 Rockland St, West Roxbury
Fields Corner--1157 Dorchester Ave
Roxbury--155 DudleySt
West Dorchester--Russell Auditorium
CoC/4 Corners--Russell Auditorium
Charlestown--Teamsters Local 25
Back Bay/Beacon Hill/South End--11 Beacon St
JP/Hyde Square--315 Centre St

 





Mayor Menino and HUD Secretary Donovan celebrate revitalization project Posted by on

An event was held yesterday to celebrate the start of a major revitalization project happening in Dorchester’s Quincy Corridor. Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino joined U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan to celebrate the project, which is funded by a first-in-the-nation Choice Neighborhood Initiative grant.

Members stand with Boston Mayor Tom Menino and HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan at an event held at the Quincy Street Corridor Redevelopment Project.

Project Developer Dorchester Bay EDC and the City of Boston's Department of Neighborhood Development received $20.5 million through HUD’s Choice Neighborhoods Initiatives grant program. Boston was one of five cities nationwide to receive the first-ever Implementation Grants.

At the start of the event, Jeanne Dubois from Dorchester Bay EDC raises her arms to celebrate the work being done by union carpenters on the project. 

The project will include redevelopment of the distressed Woodledge/Morrant Bay HUD-assisted housing development, community improvements such as community facilities, parks, gardens, economic development, job creation and asset building, and supportive services for residents of Quincy Heights and the surrounding Quincy Street corridor.


 





Our Work - New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal Posted by on

 
Photos courtesy of Ron Rheaume, Local 1305.

Learn more about the Marine Commerce Terminal Project by clicking here to view it in our online portfolio.

Read more about this project here





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.





Our Work - Fore River Bridge Replacement Posted by on

 

Learn more about the Fore River Bridge Replacement Project by clicking here to view it in our online portfolio