Sunday, January 30, 2011

D'Errico The Dictator Strikes Again

D'Errico the Dictator
At Thursday's Local 157 meeting after Supervisor Spencer finished taking questions the meeting went back to regular business.

On a point of order, I informed President D'Errico that according to "Roberts Rules of Order," a motion that has been previously defeated, can be brought up again at the next meeting, as new, if the meeting is a different session, which is the normal situation.

D'Errico would not accept this ruling and denied a new motion for a copy of the meeting minutes.

The motion for the meeting minutes was previously defeated at the October 15, meeting and at the November 15, meeting D’Errico, used trickery and violated the UBC Constitution to prevent a vote on the motion.

I appealed D'Errico's decision and he would not accept an appeal. He stated "he's done with this issue and go file a complaint."

According to "D'Errico's Rules of Order" a defeated motion stays defeated for eternity and there is no appealing it. In other words a decision of members at one meeting binds the decision of the members at a future meeting.

I searched Amazon to get a copy of this new book of rules and could not find it listed. I tried searching D'Errico's Rules of Order, D'Errico For Dummies, New Rules by D'Errico, D'Errico Made Easy, D'Errico and Spencer Perfect Together and found Nothing, Nada, Zip, Zero, Zilch.

Can someone please help me and let me know where I can get a copy of the new rule book.

Spencer Does Little To Gain Member Trust

District Council Supervisor Frank Spencer

"I am frank to say that I have made mistakes, and I have learned from those mistakes. We asked the questions, is their anything we could do differently to regain the trust of our members and restore pride back to this union?"

I wish I could report that Supervisor Frank Spencer said those words at Thursdays Local 157 meeting. Or these and really mean it:

"I think we all agree that we have to change the way our Council works, our members have been abused and that is not going to be tolerated any longer. We are going to make our Council more accountable more transparent, and have more member participation in collective bargaining and every decision of this Council."

He said neither, nor anything close to them. It was a wasted opportunity. In the 535 days of supervision, this was the first time Spencer addressed the membership and he did little to gain any trust or give complete answers to members questions.

"The more I think about it, the worse I think of Spencer. I would not have believed he could sink any lower," a member commented

Friday, January 28, 2011

McCarron Dissolves 15 Pacific Northwest Locals

At last nights meeting of Local 157 brother Mike Bilello asked Supervisor Spencer about the dissolution and merging of 15 Local Unions in the Pacific Northwest. Spencer claimed he had no knowledge of it and he didn't want to discuss it.

Below is General President McCarron letter to Vice President Mike Draper, outlining the plan to dissolve and form new local unions affiliated with the Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters.

Further proof why you can't trust anything Frank Spencer has to say!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Bilello Files Motion For Council Elections

Local 157 carpenter and union activist Mike Bilello, filed a motion today for New York City District Council of Carpenters elections in Federal Court with Judge Bermen.

PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that on February 11, 2011 at 9:30 a.m. or such other time as designated by the Court, Movant, MICHAEL BILELLO, pro se, will move for an Order seeking relief under the Consent Decree as follows: (i) Scheduling District Council Elections on a date certain, and in any event, so that the Election process will be concluded on before December 31, 2011; (ii) Declaring the Trusteeship imposed on the District Council by the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America on August 10, 2009 terminated as of installation of newly elected District Council Officers as soon as possible thereafter but no later than January 31, 2012; and (iii) for such other relief as is appropriate.
Bilello Motion1 Final Contact Info Removed RM

Are Carpenter local unions still "labor organizations?"

A discussion by Herman Benson

The question is startling but legitimate. The Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act defines a "labor organization" as one "in which employees participate and which exists for the purpose, in whole or in part, of dealing with employers concerning grievances, labor disputes, wages, rates of pay, hours, or other terms or conditions of employment..." By that standard, Carpenter locals, totally disarmed under the current union structure, seem to have clearly lost the right to designation as "labor organizations."

In the Carpenters union, locals have been merged into district and regional councils where they are stripped of all participation in negotiating, signing, or enforcing collective bargaining agreements. Full authority over dealing with employers, from start to finish, is arrogated by an executive secretary treasurer, who is armed with extraordinary authoritarian power, not only over collective bargaining, but also over every other sphere of union life.

Council bylaws make clear how sweeping and authoritarian that power is: "The EST shall have the power and authority to appoint and remove representatives for and on behalf of its Local Unions to act as Trustees or all negotiated Employer/Union Trust Funds including, but not limited to, annuity, health and welfare plans... Accordingly, all trust agreements and/or plan documents shall be amended by the authorized representatives of the Local unions to reflect the foregoing appointment and removal process." And just to make it crystal clear: "The Council shall have the exclusive power and authority to negotiate and execute Collective Bargaining Agreements for and behalf of its affiliated local unions, except to the extent the International Union exercises its jurisdiction or authority." Carpenter councils may or may not decide to submit contracts for membership ratification, but that decision involves a relation between the council and the total membership. In such a decision and such a process, local unions are irrelevant.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Panel Backs Plan to Develop Site on Lower East Side

Awaiting renewal: the view southeast from Essex Street near Delancey last month.


After sitting fallow for 43 years as the Lower East Side exploded in popularity around it, a desolate stretch of parking lots along Delancey Street is closer than ever to being transformed into housing and shops, potentially marking the end of a long and bitter stalemate over the future of the sites.

On Monday night, at a meeting sprinkled with cheers, jeers and catcalls, a Community Board 3 task force voted nearly unanimously in favor of guidelines (pdf) to develop the five parcels, collectively known as the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area.

Under the guidelines, which the full board will vote on Tuesday night, about 1,000 housing units would be built at the site, roughly half of which would be allocated to middle- and low-income earners, along with retail shops, green space and, potentially, a school. After the vote, the State Assembly speaker, Sheldon Silver, whose district includes the land, voiced his approval of the plan, giving it a crucial boost.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Contractor Violates Stewards Protected Rights Under NLRB

Local157.blogspot, would like to congratulate shop steward Alberto Bonilla for standing up for his protected rights under federal law. This case was brought to my attention and is a must read for all shop stewards.

The case was tried in New York City, before the National Labor Relations Board, on four days between March 17 and April 26, 2010 and decided on September 7, by Eleanor MacDonald, Administrative Law Judge.

The Complaint alleges that Respondent (R & J Construction), in violation of Section 8(a)(1) and (3) of the Act, subjected shop steward Alberto Bonilla to closer supervision and discharged Bonilla because he engaged in activities on behalf of the New York City District Council of Carpenters.

Conclusions of Law

1. By subjecting Alberto Bonilla to closer supervision and by discharging Alberto Bonilla because he engaged in Union activities in support of New York City District Council of Carpenters, Respondent violated Section 8(a)(1) and (3) of the Act.

2. By Interviewing employees in preparation for an unfair labor practice proceeding without advising them of the purpose of the interview, without advising them that their participation was voluntary and giving them assurances that no reprisals would ensue, Respondent violated Section 8(a)(1) of the Act.

3. By asking an employee for a copy of his affidavit without advising him that no reprisals would ensue if he failed to turn over this affidavit or as a result of the contents of the affidavit, Respondent violated Section 8(a)(1) of the Act.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Disgraced city carpenters union boss Michael Forde will have to serve his time in West Virginia

Disgraced carpenters union boss Michael Forde
BY Brian Kates and Scott Shifrel

Disgraced city carpenters union boss Michael Forde will serve his 11-year prison sentence in West Virginia after a judge denied his plea to stay close to home.

The former District Council of Carpenters chief, who pleaded guilty to racketeering charges in July, asked to be jailed at the federal prison in Otisville, N.Y., or in Massachussetts, New Jersey or Pennsylvania so his elderly parents could visit.

But Federal Judge Victor Marrero said it would be "imprudent to intervene" in the Bureau of Prisons decision to incarcerate Forde at a medium-security lockup in a rural backwater about 450 miles from Forde's Woodside, Queens, home.

(John's note: Fordes surrender date is February 7.) 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

F.B.I. and Police Arrest More Than 100 in Mob Sweep

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. announced Thursday afternoon at 271 Cadman Plaza East, that 91 Leaders, members,
and associates of La Cosa Nostra Families in four districts were charged with Racketeering and related crimes, including murder and extortion.


In a blanket assault against seven mob families in New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island, the F.B.I. and local authorities began arresting close to 130 people on Thursday on charges including murder, racketeering and extortion, federal law enforcement officials said.

The sweep began before dawn, and the targets ranged from reputed small-time book makers and crime-family functionaries to six reputed senior mob figures from three crime families, including the entire current leadership of the Colombo crime family, according to the authorities. Among those charged were roughly 30 made members of New York’s five crime families and the families in New Jersey and New England, along with scores of mob associates and several union officials.

The arrests, including one expected in Italy, were based on 16 unrelated indictments handed up in federal courts in four jurisdictions. Taken together, they amounted to the largest such sweep of organized crime figures conducted in recent history by federal authorities.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

NYC Construction Accidents Down 28 Percent Last Year


Only four fatal construction accidents occurred in the city during 2010, all of them falls. Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri credits increased enforcement, new requirements, and more outreach to the construction industry for the improvements.

Overall accidents and fatal accidents both fell significantly in New York City in 2010, the city's Department of Buildings announced this week. Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri said there were 157 construction accidents during the year, down 28 percent from 218 in the previous year, which he attributed mainly to increased enforcement, new requirements, and more outreach to the construction industry.

Construction injuries declined 31 percent, from 241 injuries in 2009 to 165 in 2010. By comparison, new construction permits for new buildings citywide declined 7 percent, from 1,635 in 2009 to 1,517 in 2010. There were four fatal construction accidents in 2010 -- two in Brooklyn, the other two in Manhattan -- and all involved workers who fell at job sites. Three fatal construction accidents occurred in 2009, 19 in 2008, 12 in 2007, and 18 in 2006.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

An Open Letter To Review Officer Dennis Walsh

By Anonymous For Fear of Retribution

Walsh Letter

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Top Ten Union Corruption Stories of the Year

Submitted by Carl Horowitz

Top TenOrganized labor, masters of aggressive politics, had its share of triumphs over the past year. With Democrats having taken control of the White House and both houses of Congress in 2009, this was to be expected. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and other union officials used their window of opportunity to pressure Congress into passing a health care overhaul mandating unprecedented degrees of government intrusion, and by extension, major opportunities for unionization of the health care labor force. They also secured key presidential appointments. That said, the year was noteworthy for legislative mandates unions didn't achieve, especially forced private-sector employer recognition of majority union "card checks" and forced state and local government bargaining with public-safety unions. The new Congress, with a GOP House majority, is far less likely to deliver on either count. Meanwhile, Justice Department crackdowns finished off various union-Mafia scams. Embezzlers, great and small, got their comeuppance. And the unions' favorite nonprofit, the once-thriving ACORN, is no more.

Union leaders put their penchant for political backroom dealing to good use in 2010, helping to deliver for constituents health care "reform" legislation that will cost taxpayers $940 billion over the next decade (if not more), and with far less consumer choice. Richard Trumka and soon-to-depart Service Employees International Union (SEIU) President Andrew Stern operated as virtual White House lobbyists to shape the final package, which the House of Representatives passed in March by a slim 219-212 margin. Parliamentary maneuvering led by union ally Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., had short-circuited a Senate filibuster. It's not as if union bosses in Reid's home state forgot their benefactor come election time. Highly persuasive evidence emerged that SEIU-affiliated workers in Clark County, where three-fourth's of Nevada's population resides, rigged voting machines to bring about Reid's improbable come-from-behind win against GOP challenger Sharron Angle.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Local Union 157 Meeting Dates

Local Union 157 meeting will be held at The High School of Fashion Industries located at 225 West 24th Street (between 7th and 8th Avenue), New York, NY.

The following is a partial schedule of the upcoming Local meetings for 2011 to be held at 5:00 pm. All meetings are held on the third Monday of each month, except where noted by asterisk (*).

January 27, 2011* (Thursday)
February 28, 2011*(Thursday)
March 21, 2011
April 18, 2011
May 16, 2011

Review of Carpenters’ Union Shows Corruption Persists

by William K. Rashbaum

Federal Watchdog Dennis Walsh.
More than a year after its parent union placed the New York City District Council of Carpenters under supervision because its leader was charged with racketeering, the council remains influenced by the mob and is still a source of cash and illicit benefits for a select few, according to a recent assessment.

Dennis M. Walsh, a court-appointed reviewer, issued a 71-page report on the New York City District Council of Carpenters.

The assessment, filed last month by a court-appointed review officer, shows some progress in cleaning up the district council and its constituent locals, and proposes a number of substantive reforms.

But it also presents a troubling picture of a deeply ingrained culture of corruption, and some aspects of the assessment raise questions about with the stewardship of the supervisor appointed by the parent union, the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America.

The report contains no direct criticism of the supervisor, Frank Spencer, who was installed by the parent union in August 2009, days after the federal racketeering indictment was unsealed charging the district council’s leader, Michael J. Forde, and nine others, including union officials, contractors and the head of an industry association.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Page Six

Michael Forde photo
Update: On Friday November 19, ex-Carpenters union boss Michael Forde was sentenced to 11 years in prison after pleading guilty to corruption. Forde was to surrender on January 7, however the court made an error in the judgment, and as a result, the Bureau of Prisons was not directed to designate a facility. That error was discovered and fixed this week and Judge Marrero extended Forde's surrender date by 30 days. BOP will designate a facility soon and Fordes surrender date is February 7.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Mega Millions a mega prize for 18 Ground Zero workers: 'It's a great way to start New Year'

BY Lukas I. Alpert and Bill Hutchinson

Ground Zero construction workers won $250,000
A group of 18 Ground Zero construction workers won $250,000 on Mega Millions Christmas Eve.

Hardworking Ground Zero hardhats struck gold on Christmas Eve, hitting a $250,000 lottery jackpot.

The 18 workers on the transit hub at the World Trade Center site were winners of the Mega Millions drawing that night by picking five of six numbers.

"It's a great way to start off the new year," said foreman Patrick Hickey, 44, of Westbury, L.I. "We are all ecstatic."

The guys - who work for a number of different trade unions - have been running a workplace pool for a year-and-a-half, each tossing $5 into a pot once a week.

Until Dec. 24, they hadn't won a dime, but that night, they almost walked off with a $168 million bonanza.

Using the automatic Quick Pick option, they correctly had the numbers 15, 16, 27, 40 and 52, but 18 for the Mega Ball - which was two digits off from the winning number 16.

"I can't even think about that," said carpenter John Kennedy, 47, of Richmond Hill, Queens, who purchased the $90 block of tickets at a newsstand in the shadow of the fast-rising Freedom Tower.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Why Was Local Union 608 Dissolved?


Our contributions to the New York City skyline stand strong and tall for all the world to see. That will never change. The dissolution of Local Union 608 has changed your local affiliation -the number on your shirt and the sticker on your hard hat- but nothing can diminish or change your identity as a Carpenter and a member of this Union.

This past year has been a difficult one for all of us but particularly the former Local Union 608. As Review Officer Dennis Walsh noted, Local 608 “carries a history of corruption ranging from bribery to Job Referral Rule violations … officers’ association with gangsters, the recent arrests of its business manager and former business manager and the suspension of recent president”. On-going investigations showed that history was repeating itself.

Mayo man in New York carpenters’ union set for sentencing on felony

Mayo Advertiser

A Mayo man with a high profile in the New York Irish community has been implicated in a scandal that has resulted in the shutting down of a carpenters’ union in the city.

According to a report in the Irish Emigrant this week, New York’s Local 608 carpenters’ union has been permanently closed in the aftermath of racketeering and corruption scandals which have blighted the organisation.

The report states:

“A recent sweeping federal probe has seen numerous corruption convictions, and five of the branch’s recent presidents have been fired.

“In New York City, approximately 20,000 members of the Carpenters Union are divided into so-called ‘locals’. Founded in 1918, Local 608, which oversaw carpenters on Manhattan’s West Side and the Bronx, was once the largest local in the District Council, with approximately 7,400 members, many of whom are Irish or Irish American. Its members have now been transferred to East Side Local 157, itself no stranger to controversy, having been placed under anti-corruption supervision from 2007 to late 2008.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Message from the Inspector General

On December 21, 2010, Judge Richard Berman upheld Review Officer Dennis Walsh’s decision to “veto” the following individuals from their union positions: Paul Willoughby of Local Union 157, John Holt of Local Union 926 and John Daly, from the former Local Union 608.

The Decision & Order resolves the three applications that challenge the determinations of court-appointed Review Officer Dennis M. Walsh to “veto” [remove] these three individuals from their union positions. The three applications include: (1) an order to show cause application filed on September 27, 2010 by Paul Willoughby, Conductor of Local Union 157 and also shop steward, which seeks to vacate the Notice of Veto issued by the RO on August 27, 2010; (2) an order to show cause application filed on October 4, 2010 by John Holt, a business representative of the District Council, which seeks to vacate the Notice of Veto issued by Walsh on September 3, 2010 and (3) an “appeal” filed on October 14, 2010 by John Daly, President of Local Union 608 and a business representative of the District Council, which seeks to vacate the Notice of Veto issued by Walsh on September 7, 2010.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

New York carpenters union shut down after scandals

Former Local 608 president John Greaney. The union has now been shut down
Former 608 president John Greany

The Irish Emigrant  

New York’s Local 608 carpenters union has been permanently closed in the aftermath of the racketeering and corruption scandals which have blighted the organization. A recent sweeping federal probe has seen numerous corruption convictions, and five of the branch’s recent presidents have been fired.

In New York City, approximately 20,000 members of the Carpenters Union are divided into so-called “locals.” Founded in 1918, Local 608, which oversaw carpenters on Manhattan’s West Side and the Bronx, was once the largest local in the District Council, with approximately 7,400 members, many of whom are Irish or Irish American. Its members have now been transferred to East Side Local 157, itself no stranger to controversy, having been placed under anti-corruption supervision from 2007 to late 2008.

In July John Greaney (50), one of the former Local 608 presidents in question, pleaded guilty to thirteen felony charges including corruption, racketeering, embezzlement, bribery and perjury, whilst serving in office. Greaney, whose mother hailed from Swinford in Co. Mayo, had previously been honored for his role in New York’s Irish community.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Wage & Fringe Benefit Information

Wages 2011 Final

Open Letter To Local 157

Recording Secretary Mitch Sonntag (by fax)
Carpenters Local 157
395 Hudson Street 8th Fl
New York, NY 10014

Re: Memorandum in Support of a Resolution for Ratification of Collective Bargaining Agreements

Dear Recording Secretary Sonntag:

Throughout the world, members of unions routinely vote on collective bargaining agreements that control their workplace destiny, isn't it about time the Carpenters Union instituted the same reform.

There is nothing in the UBC constitution or bylaws regarding bargaining that prohibit members from being given the basic democratic right to ratify collective bargaining agreements.

Section 17 of the District Council By-laws gives "the Executive Committee the exclusive power and authority to negotiate, and the Delegate Body to consider and finally approve collective bargaining agreements."

Nothing prohibits the delegate body from waiving their right under Section 17 and presenting a proposed contract to the members to obtain ratification.

In addition, our Council is under emergency supervision. Vice President, Frank Spencer, pursuant to his authority as the duly-designated supervisor of the District Council is the only person empowered to oversee and conduct the affairs of the District Council which include negotiating a new contract.