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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.





Members lend skills and time to help build 'Techstyle Haus' for global energy-efficiency competition Posted by on

Members from Carpenters Local 94 recently volunteered to help students from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and Brown University prepare for the 2014 Solar Decathlon Europe. The international competition, showcasing the latest in energy-efficient design and construction, will take place this year in Versailles, France.Members helped the team of students construct their entry, named Techstyle Haus, a one-of-a-kind passive home design with an enclosure made entirely of textiles.

“It’s a self-sustained passive solar home for competition and structure will assembled and dismantled multiple times, so they have to learn how to combine steps,” notes Local 94 member Ted Lafond. “Our members were here trying to help them reason through and understand the assembly process.”

The international Solar Decathlon competition challenges students to build energy-efficient and innovative solar-powered homes. Students from the two schools teamed up with a group from the University of Applied Scinces Erfut in Germany to design the 800-square foot house, which is made of a Teflon-coated woven fiberglass, commonly used in sports domes. NERCC signatory contractor Shawmut Design and Construction is a sponsor of the project.

“In the field, when we’re going to put up walls we lay everything out, snap lines and get everything set. Everything is laser sharp, plumb sharp,” notes Local 94 member Frank Taraborelli. “The students installed the first panel down and said ‘well this looks like the way it goes’ and anchored it, they soon ran into problems. We stepped in and taught them how to lay it out.”

“We didn’t really have a strong idea of the right way to put the core together to make sure it was plumb and square,” notes RISD graduate student and TechStyle Haus project manager Sina Almassi. “We were just kind of in over our heads. They got us squared up. Having them help us is really going to make a big difference.”

The team of volunteers from Local 94 was instrumental in helping the students lay out and install the interior of the structure, which includes a kitchen, bathroom, sleeping area and loft. It was quite fun working with these students,” said Taraborelli. “They really learned something here.”

Hats off to the team of volunteers from Local 94: Ted Lafond, Frank Taraborelli, Kevin Hart, Ryan Del Toro, Gary Roy and Carl Noelte.





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.

 





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.





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. 





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.

 





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

 





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.

 

 





Our Work - Portsmouth Middle School 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.





Gov Patrick announces new college building $$ Posted by on

Governor Deval Patrick yesterday announced a boost to funding for new buildings on state college campuses, a positive steop to boosting infrastructure, education and employment in the construciton trades.

The announced investment of $2.2 billion financed through bond sales will lead to $20 million worth of building at Roxbury Community College and $607 million in construction at University of Massachusetts campuses will including:

--A new Physical Science Building at the University of Massachusetts Amherst currently estimated at $85 million that will accommodate enrollment growth and higher demand in science programs, helping achieve the University’s long term goal to improve all science facilities, increase retention and attract the highest caliber faculty and students;
--A new Management Building for the Manning School of Business (MSB) at the University of Massachusetts Lowell which leverages approximately $10 million in private donations to support the $35 million project; and
--A new academic classroom building at the University of Massachusetts Boston, estimated at $100 million to help address the demands of continued enrollment growth at the University and the drive to provide an academic setting in which cutting edge teaching techniques can be accommodated.





Old Colony built in 1 1/2 minutes...sort of Posted by on

The New England Carpenters Labor-Management Program is proud to provide an interesting look at the work of union contractors and carpenters at the Old Colony Housing Project in South Boston. The time lapse video, synchronized to music was shot over the course of a year, during the project's first phase. Suffolk Construction was the Construction Manager.

Union carpenters employed by Suffolk Construction and numerous subcontractors were proud to recently complete Phase One of the redevelopment of housing at Old Colony in South Boston. The project involved demolition of old buildings and construction of 116 energy efficient affordable apartment units as well as a 10,000 square-foot community center and other improvements and amenities. As the largest property managed by the Boston Housing Authority, demolition and construction was completed on a 15 acre occupied site containing 850 housing units. The project changes the face of a community and the lives of many who will live there.

Video of the three buildings in this piece was gathered over the course of a year, from December 2010 through December 2011 during almost weekly visits. Videographer Ellen Webber of the New England Carpenters Labor Management Program produced the piece.

See more pictures of this project in our online portfolio
 





Union carpenters, pension $ put to work in Providence Posted by on

Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chaffee and Providence Mayor Angel Taveras were among those on hand today for a ceremonial groundbreaking for The Highlands on the East Side in Pro. The project is a renovation of senior housing that will become an assisted living facility. The project is being financed by the New England Carpenters Pension Fund and led by union general contractor CWC. It will provide an eventual monetary return to the Fund while providing immediate employment opportunities to union carpenters, economic activity for Providence and badly needed housing for an aging population.

The building is owned by Halkeen Management if Norwood, Massachusetts and will eventually provide 64 unites of housing, including Alzheimer's and Dementia apartments in a variety of layouts.

The Carpenters Pension Fund is investing in the project as part of their diversified investment portfolio.

The groundbreaking was covered briefly by Providence Channel 10.

 





New Taunton Courthouse Celebrated Posted by on

Elected officials, community leaders and members of the construction community gathered to cut a ceremonial ribbon for the new Taunton Courthouse Friday. The new, 147,000 square foot LEED Certified building was completed well ahead of schedule and $6 million under budget by Daniel O'Connell's Sons using a Project Labor Agreement.

The building houses the Taunton District Court; Bristol County Juvenile Court; Bristol County Probate and Family court and the Southeast Housing Court.

Included among the attendees were: Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray, State Seantor Mark Pacheco, Secretary of Administration and Finance Jay Gonzales and Carole Cornelison, Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Capital Asset Management.

 

Photos are courtesy of Ron Rheaume. For more photos and infomration regarding this project, visit Daniel Connell's Sons online portfolio.


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