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Retirement Seminar scheduled for September 6th in NH Posted by on

**As of 8/28/14 this seminar has reached capacity and registration is now closed. Please check back for information about the next seminar, to be held around November. 

The New England Regional Council of Carpenters and the New England Carpenters Benefits Funds are hosting a complimentary seminar “Planning for Retirement” on September 6, 2014. The seminar will be held at the The Executive Court Banquet Facility located at 1199 South Mammoth Road in Manchester, NH (click here for directions) from 8:30-12:00 pm. 

Seating is limited. Members should contact the Reservation Desk at 978-253-5100 to reserve a spot

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

 





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."
 





Seasonal allergies or the common cold? A message from the Carpenters Care team Posted by on

Summer brings beautiful blossoming flowers and trees but it also brings pollen and dreaded seasonal allergies. Allergies are caused by our immune system mistaking an otherwise harmless substance as an invader and triggering the production of antibodies. This response causes symptoms in our nose, throat, lungs, sinuses and eyes that can be hard to differentiate from a common cold. The first step when you have symptoms is to speak with your doctor and determine if you have a cold or allergy.

There are a number of things you can do to relieve seasonal allergies:

• Minimizing exposure is important. Stay indoors on dry, windy days or days when the pollen count is high. The best time to venture outside is after a good rain when the pollen has been washed out of the air.
• Make sure to remove and wash clothes that have been worn outside and take a shower to clean pollen off of your skin and hair.
• Keep pollen out of your home by keeping doors and windows closed especially when pollen counts are high. There are a number of websites that display pollen counts including weather.com.
• Speak with your doctor about taking medication to manage your allergy symptoms, there are many over the counter options and your doctor can help determine what might be the most helpful for you.

Seasonal allergies can be unpleasant but with the right combination of avoidance and possible medication your allergy symptoms can be minimized or kept under control. Please feel free to call the Carpenters Care team at 781-222-0930 if you are struggling with a cold or allergy.





Graduates begin to build pathways Posted by on

Eight women recently completed the five-week pre-apprenticeship Building Pathways New Hampshire training program. Building Pathways New Hampshire is a cooperative effort of the Carpenters Union, the State Building and Construction Trades Council and the New Hampshire AFL-CIO. It provides pre-apprenticeship training to unemployed and underemployed women in hopes of building the female ranks in the construction industry.


“We are working to diversify our trade and provide a pipeline to all interested and qualified people, which means we end up with the best possible workers, not just some of the best possible workers,” notes Carpenters Local 118 Business Manager Liz Skidmore, who has been active in both local and national "Sisters in the Brotherhood" programs and is helping to coordinate the Building Pathways NH program.


Carpenters Local 118 Business Manager Liz Skidmore speaks to the graduates. 

The five-week course was held at the Carpenters Training Center in Manchester and began on May 12th. The pre-apprenticeship training including OSHA 10, First Aid/CPR, construction math, materials handling, blueprint reading, labor history, blue collar financial planning.

The program aims to introduce participants to the variety of work opportunities available, in a hands-on environment. This training was offered by various trades’ training programs including: Carpenters Local 118, Floorlayers Local 2168, Piledrivers Local 56, Boliermakers Local 29, Heat and Frost Insulators & Allied Trades Local 6, IBEW Local 290, Ironworkers Local 7, Laborers Local 668, Painters and Allied Trades DC 35, Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 131, and Sprinklerfitters Local 669.


Building Pathways graduates look at their completion certificates.

“All of these women were either unemployed or were working minimum wage jobs before beginning this pre-apprenticeship program,” notes Skidmore. “They are going from $7.25 an hour with no benefits to starting at $15 and hour plus benefits. This really is moving these eight women into family-sustaining careers.”

All eight graduates have applied to various trades Apprenticeship Programs. Two have already been accepted into the Plumbers and Pipefighters Local 131 Apprenticeship Program.

“Programs like Building Pathways New Hampshire show the community and elected officials a bigger picture about what it means to be union. We want everyone who is qualified, capable and willing to work hard.” 

For more information about the Building Pathways New Hampshire program click here.
 





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.





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.





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)





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.





"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."





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.
 





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.





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.”





New Hampshire begins to build pathways Posted by on

The Building Pathways program, which has earned praise for its work in Boston to publicize apprenticeship opportunities in the building trades within minority communities has been deployed in New Hampshire. The goal in the Granite State is to seek out women who are interested in careers in building trades to participate in a five week pre-apprenticeship program in May and June. Carpenters Local 118 Business Manager Liz Skidmore, who has been active in both local and national "Sisters in the Brotherhood" programs, is helping to coordinate activity.

Two information sessions have already been held and two more are scheduled for March 17 and 24. Yesterday, Governor Maggie Hassan announced plans to visit the March 24 session as a show of support.

Those interested MUST attend an entire information session. Sessions are being held at Plumbers Local 131, 161 Londonderry Turnpike in Hookset from 6-7:30. Late arrivals will not be allowed entrance. No RSVP is required. For more information, contact Liz Skidmore or Joe Gallagher at 603-948-8161 or buildingpathwaysnh@gmail.com.

A short ad has been produced by the program and is being run on local cable access channels in Manchester, Concord and Nashua.The group has also set up a Facebook page.

 





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.





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.”





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.


 





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.






Allegheny showcases concrete finishing system Posted by on

Union signatory contractor Allegheny Contract Flooring has produced a video promoting its new concrete finishing system. The “Supercap” system allows for time and cost savings for work on new or existing concrete slabs. The system also takes advantage of Greenguard certified, low alkali technology to contribute toward LEED status.

Members of Floorcoverers Local 2168 are working with Allegheny and the Supercap system to improve quality and sustainability while shortening construction schedules and saving projects money.

Click here or on the image, above, to watch the video on Alleheny's website. 





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."





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 November 16, 2013. The seminar will be held at the Wyndham Boston Andover Hotel located at 123 Old River Road in Andover, MA (click here for directions) from 8:30-11:30 am. RSVP by November 1st 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.





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. 





Carpenters Union and Hospitality Workers Union Announce Joint Endorsement of Boston City Council Candidates Posted by on

CARPENTERS UNION AND HOSPITALITY WORKERS UNION ANNOUNCE JOINT ENDORSEMENT OF BOSTON CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATES

 

Endorsement Marks Historic Coalition Between Two Organizations
September 9th, 2013 – Boston, MA - The New England Regional Council of Carpenters (NERCC) and Boston’s Local 26 (UNITE HERE) are pleased to announce their joint endorsement of several Boston City Council candidates. The endorsement is a product of the two organizations, representing over 26,000 workers, jointly interviewing City Council candidates over a series of days.

“This is more than just an endorsement of candidates for Boston City Council – this is two organizations that represent the diversity of Boston ensuring that working families will have a voice at City Hall. These are the leaders who have proven they can build strong communities,” said Brian Lang, President of Local 26 and resident of Jamaica Plain.

"We came together to consider the candidates as two unions with progressive and independent traditions. Our joint endorsements matter because, between us, we represent the full range of working families in the city," said Mark Erlich, President of the New England Regional Council of Carpenters and resident of Jamaica Plain.

The two organizations are proud to support incumbent Councilor Steven Murphy (At-Large), incumbent Councilor Ayanna Pressley (At-Large), Michelle Wu (At-Large), Michael Flaherty (At-Large), Joshua Zakim (District 8) and Timothy McCarthy (District 5).

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. NERCC is part 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.

UNITE HERE Local 26 represents over 6,500 workers in the City of Boston including most of the major Boston hotels, food service workers on college campuses, convention centers, Fenway Park and Logan Airport. Boston's Local 26 is one of the most politically powerful and diverse unions in the City of Boston.

###

For more information contact Harry Grill, Political Director, Boston’s Local 26 at (617) 838-4201 or Stephen Joyce, Political Director, New England Regional Council of Carpenters at (617) 438-8011.

 





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.





Wage equality, training the focus of NH forums Posted by on

People in New Hampshire are learning more about unions and the wage and training opportunities they offer thanks to panel discussions being held, which elected officials and Carpenters Local 118 Business Manager Elizabeth Skidmore.

The forums focus primarily on the wage gap between men and women and are being sponsored by the NH AFL-CIO and New Hampshire Citizens Alliance, which is 23 cents and hour in New Hampshire and 18 cents nationally. While women are still under-represented in construction, Skidmore points out that wage equality is not an issue in the union sector.

“In union construction, women make exactly the same as men,” Skidmore said at one of the forums. “Starting 35 years ago, when women started getting into construction. Every hour we work, every dollar we get paid, we get paid exactly the same.”

In addition to collective bargaining agreements ensuring equal pay, unions also offer apprentice and journey level upgrade classes, which allow for entrance and advancement in the industry. Each of the forums, held in Manchester and Portsmouth, received prominent media coverage, including quotes from Skidmore.
 





Frightening protest in Hartford Posted by on

Legendary horror author Stephen King may be looking for a UPP t-shirt. The Maine native was staying in Hartford this week, walked by a union banner protest in front of the Capital Grill, and stopped to ask about it. NERCC Business Representative Dean Pallotti told King that the Capital Grille was being built by contractors that don't meet area standards and were suspected of misclassifying workers as independent contractors. Darden Restaurants owns the Capital Grille chain as well as others, including Longhorn Steakhouse. The company is in the process of building a Longhorn in Enfeild, where there is also concern about contractors being used who don't meet area standards. King extended his support to the union's efforts, saying it didn't seem right since he pays his fair share of taxes.





Erlich statement on New England Carpenters Benfits Fund Posted by on

Following is a statement from Mark Erlich, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the New England Regional Council of Carpenters and Chair of the New England Carpenters Benefits Fund.

"As a result of an organizational re-structuring at the New England Carpenters Benefit Funds, Harry Dow has stepped down from his position as Executive Director. We are enormously grateful for Harry's tremendous contributions to the growth of the Funds over the past 24 years and the spirit of professionalism that he personified and that characterized the Funds under his leadership.

"Long-time Trustee Steve Adamic has assumed the duties of acting Executive Director. Please direct all calls and correspondence regarding the business of the Funds to Steve. He can be reached by phone at 978-752-1132 or email at sadamic@carpentersfund.org."


TAGS: Benefits, Nercc



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."
 





Carpenters highlight thefts at Botany Bay Posted by on

NERCC staff recently spoke to a group of five workers employed at the Botany Bay development in Worcester who were owed more than $25,000 in wages and began making noise about it. Regular bannering was done at the site and last week a rally drew members of Local 107, representatives of the MetroWest Worker's Center, religious leaders and Worcester City Councilor Sarai Rivera.

The event led to pieces in the Worcester Telegram and Gazette and Vocero Hispano, which highlighted the wage theft and the unwillingness of the project developer to do anything but turn a blind eye. The bad publicity may force his hand, though, as regular events are gaining attention and the support of the community.
 





Architects predict strong construction growth Posted by on

The American Institute of Architects is confidently projecting strong growth in nonresidential construction this year and next, with increase of 5% in 2013 and 7.2% in 2014. Commercial construction is expected to lead the way in growth, followed by industrial work, while institutional construction will grow at a slower pace. The AIA is basing its predictions on a comparison of its own "Architecture Billings Index" with forecasts from six different industry groups. The consistency in forecasts leads them to believe they will be very reliable.





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.





Contractor: Being union is beneficial to all Posted by on

David Rampone, President of Hart Engineering, a signatory contractor based in Cumberland, Rhode Island isn't shy about being a union contractor. Last year he volunteered to be one of the latest union contractors to do a radio ad on behalf of the New England Regional Council of Carpenters. Now, he's published an opinion piece in the Providence Journal explaining why his business is better with a union partnership. Click through to read it.

The following opinion piece appeared in the January 10 print edition of the Providence Journal-Bulletin.

The benefits of employing unionists

DAVID RAMPONE

Regarding Charles Chieppo’s Dec. 20 column, “Unions are 1 percenters in Mass.,” in which he portrayed the construction industry inaccurately:

As the chief executive of a major Rhode lsland construction firm that does work all over New England, I’ll set the record straight. I am the president of Hart Engineering Corp., a general and process mechanical contractor founded over 70 years ago and based in Cumberland.

While I have read several opinion pieces by “public-relations experts” articulating the “evils” of the unionized construction industry, it needs to be pointed out that these experts have no actual experience in the construction industry and draw their conclusions based purely on anecdotal information provided by those who wish to see the unionized construction industry fail.

For the record, the National Labor Relations Act lets construction companies decide for themselves whether to be affiliated with the industry’s trade unions. It is the only industry that has such a provision. Since its inception, our firm has made the business-driven decision to be affiliated with several trade unions — a decision that has been beneficial to both our company and employees.

Currently we employ more than100 union tradesmen and women on dozens of jobs, large and small, throughout New England. These employees receive a fair wage, full health-care benefits and pension contributions — a package that lets them provide their families with a respectable standard of living. And in light of the negative attention cast on public-sector unions in these times, note that unionized construction workers are not guaranteed employment. In fact, Rhode Island unionized construction workers average about 1,500 hours worked a year. They do not receive vacation time, sick days or holiday pay, nor do they receive any benefits if they do not work the required number of hours a year — usually between 1,200 and 1,400, depending on the trade union involved.

Beyond my own company, the performance of Rhode Island’s trade unions and union contractors speaks for itself. There are more than 200 local contractors with union agreements in the Rhode Island area, and there have been more than 50 all-union project labor agreements (PLAs) worth billions of dollars completed in this area, including most of the state’s highest-profile projects. Most of these PLAs have been in the private sector.

These agreements symbolize the marketplace at work. Owners, construction managers and contractors enter into these agreements for one reason only: It is in their best interest to do so. And why? The trade unions in partnership with their contractors invest millions of dollars annually recruiting, training and retraining their workers to provide the safest, most skilled workforce in our industry. In today’s world, owners want their projects completed safely, on time, under budget and to the highest level of quality possible. That is why owners from small firms to Fortune 500 companies enter into project labor agreements.

While there are far fewer PLAs in the public sector than in the private sector, they are becoming more prevalent. However, before any public entity in Rhode Island can implement a PLA, it must complete an independent “objective and reasoned” study that recommends their use.

The trade unions’ record of providing contractors and owners with a safe and productive workforce is unmatched in our industry. Those who oppose them assert that using nonunionized workers would provide the owner with great savings. Unfortunately, those savings are usually the result of substandard wages, failure to provide health-care benefits to employees, or misclassifying employees to pay them a lower wage.

For 70 years we have provided our clients with the safest, most capable and productive work force in the industry, and our employees with a fair wage and benefits for them and their families. We are proud of what we have been able to achieve with our union partners.

David Rampone is president of Hart Engineering Corp., in Cumberland.  





NERCC Retiree Club Holiday Party Posted by on

Brother Richie Trahan checked in to report on the Holiday Party held at the Carpenters Center for NERCC's Boston Retirees Club last month. Members from the four Boston locals were invited to attend and several dozen did. A group of retired members from Carpenters Local Unions 33, 40, 67 and 218 began meeting  last fall to develop a club for members who had hung up the tools, but not their desire to stay connected to each other and the union.

The group is meeting regularly on the 2nd Monday of the month at the Carpenters Center and hopes to schedule social, educational and union-building activities. The time for the meeting has not been made permanent. For more information or scheduling, contact Richie Trahan at 781-848-9597.

 

 





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.





Leavitt goes on air for a good cause Posted by on

John Leavitt, the Business Agent for Local 1996 in Portland hit the airwaves this week to promote the union and help a disk jockey fill time as he stays on the air for four consecutive days. The Mark-a-thon is an annual event held by WCYY's Mark Curdo to raise money for the Center for Grieving Children. CYY is one of the radio stations on which NERCC and the New England Carpenters Labor Management Program place ads to promote the union and industry standards. They also carry radio broadcasts of New England Patriots games, on which the union advertises. Leavitt was on air with Mark on Tuesday afternoon at 3pm.





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
 





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.

 





Mass Senate race comes to the Carpenters Center Posted by on

 

United States Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren visited the Carpenters Center recently to speak with members about issues of specific interest to union carpenters. She took questions from members and spoke individually with members before and after the event. Thank you to Elizabeth Warren for coming by and thank you to every member who cared enough to come out and get involved.





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.