Monday, January 19, 2009

Judge Remedies Councils Contempt Violation - 50/50 Rule, Now 67/33

In the 2001 contract negotiations the NYC District Council violated the 1994 Consent Decree and "bargained away" the job referral rules giving the contractor what they wanted—The unfettered right to "request" anyone they want from the out-of-work list!

The District Council negotiated this shocking contract change without notifying or seeking the approval of the 15-member negotiating team, the 88-member elected delegate body, the rank-and-file who were expressly opposed to the contractor request and the federal government who has oversight supervision.

The District Council had absolutely no constitutional authority to bargaining away the job referral rules. They have abused their authority, violated their oath of office and more importantly violated the trust of the membership they claim to represent.

Bargaining away the job referral rules has turned the out-of-work list into an absurd paperwork dance, where "non-requested" carpenters languish on a phony out-of-work-list and the 50/50 rule as we had known it has been rendered meaningless.

On February 20, 2007 the District Council was found GUILTY OF CONTEMPT by the United States Court Of Appeals for violating provisions of the Consent Decree when they bargained away the job referral rules with the 2001 contract change.

On January 13, 2009 Federal District Judge Charles S. Haight fashioned a remedy for the contempt charge against the District Council restoring fairness back into the job referral rules.

The Court wrote: “This Court, sitting in equity, will not fashion a remedy that is wholly in favor of contractors, while denying any relief to union carpenters for whose benefit the Job Referral Rules were drafted and included in the Consent Decree.”

I conclude that a fair and proper remedy, having in mind the several interests affected by it, will include these elements:

(1) Abolish the Request System in its present form. This will require that the relevant provisions in the 2006 CBAs be declared void.

(2) Allow a contractor to select particular carpenters for a job up to but not in excess of 67 percent of the total carpenter work force. That percentage is made up of the contractor's 50 percent under the 50/50 Rule, and an additional 17 percent, representing one-third of, and to count against, the Union's 50 percent. The remaining 33 percent of the carpenter work force will be assigned by the Union from the OWL.

(3) Restore the six-month provision contained in Job Referral Rule 5(B), so that a contractor cannot request a carpenter and have that carpenter count against the Union's 50 percent unless that carpenter has been employed by that contractor during the previous six months. But under no circumstances may carpenters chosen under Rule 5(B) count against the 33 percent assigned by the Union directly from the OWL.

This resolution is fair and equitable because it recognizes contractors' economic and competitive concerns by allowing them to select most ofthe carpenter work force on any particular project, while restoring the Out-of-Work List as a meaningful source of employment for carpenters seeking work.

To read judge Haight's full order click here.

Related: History Lesson 101.


  1. Wow; 67% company / 33% union? Sure, that's better than: request = 100% company, but what happened to 50%/50%?
    The Contractors get away with contempt for how many years, and are justly rewarded for that astute business acumen by a spot assessment of the current economy? Judge Haight now has a “remedy” 17% better, for them, than the original deal.
    It's hard enough for honest stewards and journey carpenters to actually work, while also ensuring compliance of union rule; but imagine the difficulty of contending with an even more oppressive and unwieldy rule: think obscure investment schemes which even U.S. Senators deny understanding, like "credit default swaps" etc. (Don’t forget to bring your notebook and calculator!)
    And legally sanctioning "company men" dominance on site tends to undermine compliance of union work rule anyway. Unemployed carpenters will be out of work for far longer, in an economic crisis when many are at great risk, while the chosen few rarely miss a day-- with overtime piled on top of an already full plate.
    We need to educate and employ our membership to be more competitive, forego relying upon a small pool to assume responsibility. Focus, individual initiative, collective action, and the exercise of conscience, are all key to overcoming trouble—let’s not merely "play the game" for job security.
    Time to see the bigger picture brothers and sisters! Celebrate the decision of “request100%” as contempt; organize for the reinstatement of a true 50%/50%!

  2. there are so many people who got thrown out if the carpenter schoolprogram for lack of work hours.i can see why if they dont like you there is no work.thats not a way to run a union.mike and eric are doing a great job at fucking everything up.

  3. " Captive Labor organization "

    -Thats what its called when there's twenty years of sameo-sameo. When the incumbents have no viable pressure from oppossing candidates.

    -Thats what its called when crime continues unabated.

    Thats what it is when information is purposefully sequestered by the NYCDC leadership when the membership asks for answers to specific questions..........

    ..........What, - you think that 157 thing is going away

    -Thats what happens when we as members slowly and methodically loose the protections of a JUDICIAL DECREE such as 50/50.

    This is whats taking place like it or not.

    I say there are no settlement provisions such as this REMEDY when there are multiple contempt findings for the decree in place.

    Unless this situation is addressed as it plainly is nothing will change.

    Believe it or not.

  4. The Court Wrote !

    and an additional 17 percent, representing one-third of, and to count against, the Union's 50 percent. The remaining 33 percent of the carpenter work force will be assigned by the Union from the OWL.

    We've been had once again

  5. The prior comment is not what the Decree says.


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