Thursday, January 31, 2008

Carpenters and Exhibition Contractors to Sponsor 2008 Tradeshow National Labor/Management Conference

The United Brotherhood of Carpenters (UBC), in conjunction with the Exhibition Services & Contractors Association (ESCA) and the Exhibitor Appointed Contractors Association (EACA) announce that they are collectively sponsoring the 2008 Tradeshow National Labor/Management Conference at the Carpenters International Training Center in Las Vegas, NV on March 7-8, 2008.

The Tradeshow National Labor/Management Conference, will provide an opportunity for all exhibition contractors, whether they are general service contractors or exhibitor appointed contractors, to meet with business representatives and international leadership of the UBC to discuss the issues that have the greatest impact on their ability to deliver outstanding customer service to the exhibition industry's customers - event organizers and exhibitors.

The opening keynote for the conference titled 'Putting the Issues on the Table' will be presented by UBC General President, Douglas J. McCarron, along with ESCA President Aaron Bludworth and EACA Executive Director, Jim Wurm. Some of the 'issues' that will be put on the table and discussed over the two-day conference include pension reform, labor shortages and the drug-free workplace.

Additional programming will include an overview of the trade show contracting business, presented by the leaders of Freeman and GES Exposition Services; a presentation by Randy Eppard, PhD., President of Organizational Strategies, addressing the need for the exhibition and meetings industry to develop a world-class customer servicing model; and a presentation on the State of the Exhibition & Meetings Industry by Doug Ducate, President of the Center for Exhibition Industry Research.

'We have decided to organize the 2008 Tradeshow National Labor/Management Conference in Las Vegas this March prior to the Exhibitor Show to make it as easy as possible for the greatest number of executive level trade show professionals to attend,' explained Ken Viscovich, International Representative of the UBC to the exhibition industry. 'Collectively, we have many serious issues to discuss,' Viscovich continued, 'and the UBC is proud to host this event in our International Training Center so that together we can improve the relationships with one another and collectively work toward securing a brighter future for all.'

For more information, go to

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Question From Brother Daniel J. Franco about The Supervision of Local 157

On January 26, in response to a post by Patrick Brennan on the supervision of Local 157 brother Franco asked the following questions, which I will attempt to answer.

Daniel: From whom and/or how did you get the information? Are you certain that it is accurate?

John M: Patrick and I are in touch with the supervision team led by Eastern District VP Frank Spencer.

Daniel: Who will be preparing the newsletter? Who will the contributors be? In addition to the very important Local 157 financial information, what other information may be included in the newsletter, if any?

John M: Patrick was informed that a newsletter will be going out from the supervision team, explaining among other things, the status of local 157 finances and the progress that has been made since the supervision on November 26, 2007.

Daniel: When will the DC begin interviewing? Or, have they already begun? Who should be contacted to arrange an interview? Who will be doing the interviewing?

John M: Patrick was also informed that the district council will be conducting interviews to fill the vacated positions of local 157, a letter will be going out to members in the near future explaining the process.

Daniel: Who are the "we" in "We also will be remolding local 157’s headquarters"? Will it be Local 157 member volunteers and/or will it be contracted-out to a (union!) company or companies? When will the remodeling begin/end? What work is to be done? What is the projected cost? By whom will the remodeling be paid and how?

John M: At the December 18, hearings Eastern District VP Frank Spencer testified and said among other things that the appearance of local 157’s headquarters is “atrocious”. The supervision team will lead the remodeling effort when we have more details we will post them.

Daniel: Will the current 157 website URL continue to be used or has a new address been selected? Who will be working on the website? When is the new/renovated website scheduled to be available?

John M: Patrick was informed that the supervision team will put up a website to keep members better informed. When we have more information we will post it.

Daniel: Have there been any changes as to who currently are representing Local 157? Just to verify, currently who exactly is representing Local 157 and what are their positions/titles?

John M: Eastern District VP Frank Spencer is in charge and has full supervisory authority over Local 157.

Daniel: Lastly, I thought that Local Delegates were supposed to be “democratically elected” and “chosen by the rank and file” [NYCDCC By-Laws, Powers - Section 3]. If any one knows where it is stated that Local Delegates can be appointed by the General President or any other person or persons, please state where this information can be found. Thank you.

John M: On November 26, 2007 General President McCarron placed local 157 under supervision and granted Eastern District VP Frank Spencer full supervisory authority over Local 157. Under the UBC Constitution Section 10(h, m) he has the power to assume and exercise full and complete authority over the conduct of Local 157, which would include the authority to enforce collective bargaining agreements, the authority to administer all of the locals assets, the authority to appoint conduct and cancel meetings, the authority to remove and hire any and all offices, delegates, stewards and employees.

As a result of the supervision all elected officers have been removed. Under Section 10 of the UBC Constitution General President McCarron will appoint new officers to local 157 and normal democratic elections will take place as schedule.

I thank you for your post, if you have any other questions let me know.

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Friday, January 25, 2008

Longshoremen Association Building set to be razed by Nonunion Labor



Anthony (Tough Tony) Anastasio must be turning in his grave.

A developer behind several Brooklyn condo projects is razing a former International Longshoremen's Association building that bears the late mobbed-up union leader's name - and, in a twist, the work is being done by nonunion laborers.

The Clarett Group plans to tear down the Court St. building and erect 10 townhouses and a seven-story, 30-unit condo building smack where a medical clinic for longshoremen once thrived.

"There's no question he'd be rolling in his grave," said lifelong Carroll Gardens resident Buddy Scotto, who grew up with longshoremen and recalled when the building was erected as a medical clinic in the late 1950s.

"I remember how excited everyone was when it was built," Scotto said. "That was a nice thing, rather than hearing stories about his brother [Murder Inc. and Gambino crime boss Albert Anastasia]. It's truly a shame it's going."

The project has roiled neighbors in Carroll Gardens, including one elderly couple whose 168-year-old townhouse was damaged after workers began test-boring in November.

A nonunion asbestos removal group that has been working at the site since December also has drawn outrage from union leaders, who rolled out a giant rat to protest the project.

"Obviously we're appalled," said 20-year resident Alan Lantz, whose Union St. home suffered a hairline crack.

"We've been comfortable, and this thing is an intrusion of the worst sort - and it's going to change all of our lives."

The project, which is expected to be completed by 2010, includes four townhouses on Sackett St., six on Union St. and the seven-story condo tower on Court St.

Clarett Group spokesman Jimmy Lappas declined to comment on damage to nearby homes, but insisted the asbestos abatement complies with city, state and federal regulations.

"The Clarett Group has shared its development plans with local officials and community leaders and has had a positive reception to the project for its contextual design and sensitivity to the neighborhood," Lappas said.

For Union St. resident Vincent Joseph, the project threatens more than just neighboring buildings or even the legacy of Tough Tony Anastasio and his longshoremen.

"This is probably the largest building project in Carroll Gardens in the last 30 years," said Joseph, a member of the Union-Sackett Block Association. "There's nothing like that here. This is a bastardization of brownstone architecture."

Update On Local 157 Supervision

By Patrick Brennan

There will be a new newsletter mailed out to the membership in the next two weeks reporting on the finances of local 157 and the status of the supervision. There will also be a new website set up were members will be able to ask questions. The local should resume normal regular meetings in a few months. The local’s clerical staff is being trained on up to date procedures in accounting. We also will be remodeling local 157’s headquarters. General President Doug McCarron will appoint a new Executive Board and Delegate Body. The district council will be holding interviews to fill the vacated positions of local 157. The hiring opportunity will go out to the general membership. We welcome your continued support and appreciate your patients.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Construction Worker Dies in 42-Story Fall in SoHo

A construction worker who was pouring concrete at a condominium hotel in SoHo fell 42 floors to his death on Monday when a wooden mold used to set the concrete collapsed, the authorities said.

The accident, shortly before 2 p.m., sent wet concrete and debris flying from the top of the Trump SoHo, a sleek gray tower that is to rise 45 stories at the northwest corner of Spring Street and Varick Street, near Avenue of the Americas. The worker, whose identity was not released late Monday pending family notification, was decapitated in the fall, and landed in an alley on the west side of the construction site, at 246 Spring Street.

Another worker was thrown from the 42nd floor, but was caught in a safety net that extends outward from the 40th floor, fire officials said. He was brought to safety in a construction bucket and hospitalized for injuries that the authorities said were not life threatening. Two other workers were treated for minor injuries.

Click to read more.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Office of Labor-Management Standards Makes Union Reports Available Online

The Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) announces the availability of the Department of Labor Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), Union Constitutions, ByLaws and LM-2 reports. All union reports are now filed in the Online Public Disclosure Room and are now available to be viewed and printed. Union Reports: Online Public Disclosure Room

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Carpenters Working For "Cash" Lose Retiree Health Benefits

In an effort to crack down on members defrauding the Welfare Plan, the NYC District Council will no longer provide retiree health benefits for any member and their beneficiaries who are found to be working “off the books”.

Working “off the books”(cash) is a situation in which an employer and employee conspire such that the employer and employee fail to report to the Welfare Plan the accurate number of hours worked by an employee.

In a notice to all members dated January 7, 2008 the District Council will adopt changes to the Carpenters Welfare Plan.

Effective February 1, 2008 the requirements to be eligible for coverage under the plan as a retiree have changed. Any participant determined to have worked “off the books” shall be ineligible to receive retiree health benefits for themselves and their beneficiaries.

If you have any question regarding these changes to the Welfare Plan you should contact the Fund Office at 212-366-7300.

Monday, January 7, 2008

NYC Carpenters Union Rally Against The Underground Economy

On December 21, 2007 Local 926 President/Business Manager Sal Zarzana, organized nearly a thousand union carpenters, construction workers, labor leaders and elected officials in Brooklyn to protest the Underground Building Economy in NYC.

Protesters and elected officials rallied in Downtown Brooklyn to decry the use of non-union labor in the construction of a Sheraton Hotel that is being built at 222 Duffield Street.

“We don’t need to rezone Brooklyn for high-rises if their builders are going to be given substandard benefits, wages, and safety conditions,” said state Sen. Marty Connor (D–Brooklyn Heights) to hundreds of union workers at the corner of Duffield and Willoughby streets.

Laborers at the dusty, boarded-off patch of land, where the $48-million, twin 33-story hotels are being built by workers earning lower wages and fewer benefits than their unionized counterparts.

But it wasn’t all just dollars and cents to the protesters, who rattled off job-safety statistics like a baseball fan talking about A-Rod.

One cited this chilling stat from the federal Department of Labor: Of 29 construction workers who died on the job in New York City in 2006, 24 were non-unionized workers.

Unions hold work-safety classes every quarter — and many believe that such instruction prevents deaths and injuries.

“Safety is the first thing they teach you,” said Walter Cole, a four-year member of the Carpenters Union. “And I’ve worked with non-union guys who never took safety training, and they were dangerous.”

And if a work site is, indeed, dangerous, non-union workers — many of whom are illegal or undocumented immigrants — have little recourse, said Jonathan Bennett of the New York Committee of Occupational Safety and Health.

“The law says you can’t discipline workers for complaining about safety issues, but there is no mechanism to enforce that,” said Bennett.

Assemblyman Peter Abbate focused not on safety, but on the supposedly substandard work being done by non-union workers.

“In a couple of years the floors in the Sheraton will be warped and when you turn on the faucet, the lights will go on,” said Abbate (D–Dyker Heights). Laughter among protesters ensued.

At the core of the crowd’s fury was John Lam, the developer of the project, which calls for a Sheraton and one of Starwood’s trendy “Aloft” hotels at the corner of Duffield and Willoughby streets. Together, the hotels will have 500 rooms.

Lam was not at the rally — where one protester clutched a sign reading, “John Lam = Slave Driver” — and did not return calls for comment.

Despite all the much-discussed benefits of union membership, there are several reasons why many construction workers remain non-unionized.

For one, it’s hard to get into a union.

“They don’t just let anybody in, and sometimes it takes years,” said construction worker at the Sheraton site who did not want his name published.

The man also complained about union dues. “They shouldn’t take [dues] out of your salary — that’s extortion,” he added.

He also objected to the protesters contention that non-union workers do shoddy work.

“They think that because we are black or foreign that we don’t have degrees or training,” he said.

The use of non-union labor is not limited to the Sheraton/Starwood projects. Non-union workers are building virtually all of the luxury towers that are transforming Downtown Brooklyn into a mini-Manhattan — where the use of non-union labor in big projects is virtually unheard of, thanks to union clout.

But one expert said that as more attention is paid to Brooklyn, that will change.

“If you can justify $700,000 for one-bedrooms condos, you can justify fair wages for your employees building it,” said John Young, a lawyer specializing in worker’s rights specialist.