Thursday, April 7, 2011

Union locals join forces

Carpenters group dissolved, membership combined with another, causing dissension

By ERIC ANDERSON Business editor

ALBANY -- A carpenters union local that lost money in the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme has been dissolved and its membership combined with that of another local, union officials said Wednesday.

Some members aren't happy about the move. But a U.S. Labor Department spokesman said there's no prohibition against it.

The consolidation of Carpenters Local 370 of Albany is part of a larger restructuring that also involves the merger of the Empire State Regional Council of Carpenters and the New Jersey Regional Council of Carpenters,

The new entity, based in Edison, N.J., and representing 30,000 members, is called the Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters.

The Empire State Regional Council previously was under supervision of the national union, following closed-door hearings in Albany into alleged improprieties.

Unionized carpenters suffered $160 million in losses from various pension and benefit funds that were invested with Madoff.

The upstate and downstate councils were merged after that, but downstate management may have "discriminated against" upstate locals in allocating the Madoff losses, said Douglas J. McCarron, head of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America.

Tricia Mueller, chief of staff for the new Northeast Regional Council, said it wasn't uncommon for councils to merge across state lines.

"With large, national construction companies coming in, it's a way for us to be more competitive," she said.

But Richard Dorrough, a member of Local 370, worried what would happen to the various benefit funds of the Empire Regional Council and its locals.

"Over a billion dollars, all those assets, have been moved to the new council," he said. "They're seizing members' personal information without a court order."

"All of his pension, health and annuity money is staying where it was," said Mueller. "Our goal is to operate in complete transparency."

Local 370 and Local 1042 in South Glens Falls have been combined into a new Local 291.

If it's a merger, "we really don't have any prohibitions in terms of mergers," said U.S. Labor Department spokesman Ted Fitzgerald.

He said people who have questions about their benefit plans can contact the Employee Benefits Security Administration at 866-444-3272.

Dorrough sees the consolidation as more of a money grab.

"McCarron decided he wanted to consolidate and get his hands on our assets," he said.

Mueller said that money will be put to good use.

"Some of the local unions were sitting on hundreds of thousands of dollars," she said. That money will go into organizing work opportunities for union members with contractors, Mueller said.

Mueller also said the national union has had success in recovering at least some of the money lost to Madoff, and referred a reporter to the national for details.

A call to the United Brotherhood of Carpenters wasn't immediately returned.

2 comments:

  1. Richard DorroughApril 7, 2011 at 5:56 AM

    "Over a billion dollars, all those assets, have been moved to the new council," he said.

    WRONG Eric I told you they have moved all the assets of the Empire Council to the International per McCarrons take over letter

    "All of his pension, health and annuity money is staying where it was," said Mueller. "all the assets of the Empire Council to the International per McCarrons take over letter"

    That makes you a liar Ms Mueller

    Oh we are not after their assets!!!


    "Some of the local unions were sitting on hundreds of thousands of dollars," she said.

    Mueller said that money will be put to good use.

    Funny Eric no mention of them seizing our locals firing our elected officers and changing the locks on our doors with no rights afforded to members who own the god damn local

    ReplyDelete
  2. DROP DEAD UNITY TEAM !

    ReplyDelete

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