Thursday, June 30, 2011

New York City construction workers may strike-group

(Reuters) - At least some of New York City's construction workers may soon go out on strike, potentially stalling as much as $10 billion of projects, a business coalition warned on Thursday.

"While such talks traditionally intensify as the deadline nears, and an agreement often is reached, some negotiations are so far apart that a strike appears imminent," the New York Building Congress said, adding that more than 11,000 union jobs were at risk.

Construction companies are eager to persuade unions to give up what their employers view as antiquated and costly work rules, which, for example, require extra elevator operators or a standby worker in case a crane breaks down.

New York City's construction industry, like many around the nation, was badly dented by the financial crisis and recession. Construction spending is down nearly 25 percent from its peak in 2008, according to the business coalition.

Mason Tenders, CAGNY Reach Tentative Agreement

By Esther D'Amico and Carolina Worrell

The Mason Tenders District Council and the Contractors Association of Greater New York reached a tentative agreement June 29, says Louis Coletti, president and CEO of the Building Trades Employers’ Association. The deal could help avert a potential strike or slowdown in New York City construction.

All eyes are on the Operating Engineers, which hold the most sway over potential work stoppages. Louis Coletti, president and CEO of the Building Trades Employers’ Association says, “This is a defining moment in the history of the union construction industry,” Coletti says. “New York City is the strongest union town in the country.”

The new agreement came in the afternoon a day before the union’s contract was set to expire. Coletti confirmed that the parties had reached an agreement, but he would not reveal specific details or the term of the agreement, saying that the parties are still hammering out final details. Three-year contracts are the norm in New York City construction trades, although recent negotiations across the country have focused on one- to two-year terms. (

Last-minute talks seek to avert crippling strike

As Thursday's midnight deadline looms, unionized construction workers are negotiating with contractors to keep work going on $10 billion of major projects across the city. But Ground Zero is safe.

By Daniel Massey

With contracts for operating engineers and other building trades workers set to expire at midnight, talks are continuing Thursday to avert a strike that could shut down the city's unionized construction industry.

Painters, steamfitters and mason tenders have already reached deals, but three other groups—operating engineers, concrete workers and bricklayers—are still negotiating. Unionized carpenters, who are under a federal monitor, are expected to have their current agreement extended beyond the deadline as court proceedings play out.

Talks have been tense between the concrete workers and the Cement League, which is seeking a wage freeze across the three-year contract, a labor source said. The league did not respond to a request for comment. But most of the attention in the run-up to the deadline has been on the operating engineers, who control the heavy machinery—including cranes— that keep construction sites running.

Contractors have sought significant concessions from International Union of Operating Engineers Locals 14 and 15 in an effort to get rid of work rules they deem unproductive.

“I don't think anybody wants a strike,” said Richard Wood, president of both Plaza Construction and the Contractors' Association of Greater New York. “But we're prepared to make sure we can be competitive, that people who are being paid to do work have work to do.”

Message From NYC Building Trades



A number of affiliated unions have contacted our office requesting guidance on the position of the BCTC with regard to potential economic strikes and lock-outs that may occur as a result of the expiration of collective bargaining agreements. The following responds to these requests.


Every PLA includes a no strike/no-lock out clause. Every affiliate signatory to a PLA has an obligation to honor this clause. Any strikes in support of other unions on strike would be a breach of a PLA. Any lawsuit or other proceeding resulting from such a breach may seek monetary damages for any delay caused to a PLA job, which could be substantial.

Economic Recovery PLA

List of PLA Jobs which includes a no strike/no-lock out clause.

Message from the District Council

Contract Update

At this time we are informing all members that contract talks will continue past the June 30th deadline. Talks are progressing but the District Council and contractors mutually agreed that a short term extension would be necessary to come to a final agreement. This means that the terms and conditions of the current contract will continue. To be clear, work will continue under the terms, conditions and wage rates of the current contract without disruption.

In the press and on the jobs there have been reports that some Building Trades may not reach agreement or extend negotiations past July 1st. The District Council in accordance with the position and past practice of the New York City Building and Construction Trades Council will NOT honor economic picket lines of other Trades. In the unlikely scenario that contractors attempt to replace union trades people with non-union workers this position will be revisited.

This is especially important on Project Labor Agreement or PLA jobs. While we recognize individual member’s rights in regards to picket lines, the District Council is contractually bound by a “no-strike” provision on these projects. If the District Council was found to be in violation of this provision we would be subject to potentially catastrophic damages in court. Therefore, while we recognize individual members have a right not to cross a picket line the District Council is legally obligated to keep these jobs running without interruption.

It is our intention to conclude our negotiations as quickly as possible. Please refer to our website for continuing updates and a list of PLA jobs with “no strike” provisions.

Operating Engineers Could Delay Construction Work


With union contracts covering thousands of construction workers in the city expiring on Thursday, negotiations for new agreements were expected to go down to the wire.

The spotlight is on the two unions representing crane operators, excavators and maintenance engineers who are some of the highest paid construction workers in the industry. If the operating engineers strike, work on about $10 billion in construction projects currently under way in the city could slow or halt, according to the Real Estate Board of New York, a lobbying group that represents real-estate developers.

"They are meeting now and are scheduled to meet through tomorrow," Louis Coletti, president of the Building Trades Employer's Association, an umbrella group representing contractors, said Wednesday. The contracts expire at 11:59 p.m. Thursday.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Another construction union deal reached

A third pact between unionized construction workers and contractors has been agreed to, but the mason tenders' pact alone won't avert a crippling strike at major project sites.

By Daniel Massey

A third construction union has reached a tentative contract in the closely watched run-up to Thursday's expiration of nearly two dozen deals spanning the industry.

The Mason Tenders District Council reached an agreement with the Contractors Association of Greater New York, according to Louis Coletti, president of the Building Trades Employers' Association.

Details of the contract were not immediately available. The mason tenders serve as laborers on construction sites—stocking supplies, mixing mortar and performing general cleanup. A call to the union was not immediately returned.

The deal follows those ratified by steamfitters over the weekend and by painters in the spring. It leaves cement workers, bricklayers, carpenters and operating engineers as unions that have yet to reach new contracts. The carpenters, who are under a federal monitor, are expected to have their current deal extended while a court process plays out.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Response to McGuire Letter

We are in receipt of the Kauf, McGuire & Margolis letter dated June 20, 2011 and take exception to the Movants request for the following reasons.

Key construction contract ratified as deadline looms

Steamfitters approve a new deal, the first in the industry since painters reached an agreement in the spring. Several more construction union contracts are slated to expire June 30.

By Daniel Massey

A second union has completed a new contract in the closely-watched run-up to Thursday's expiration of nearly two-dozen labor agreements spanning the local construction industry.

Members of Enterprise Association of Steamfitters' Local 638 ratified a new three-year deal over the weekend, sources said.

Details were not immediately available, and calls to the contractor associations and the union were not returned.

Early on, industry sources expected negotiations with the steamfitters to go down to the wire, as the union has driven a hard bargain in the past. But in recent weeks, progress was made in talks, and industry officials now consider the operating engineers to be the most likely candidate for an impasse. Those workers run the heavy machinery that keep construction sites humming.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Judge Berman Order

Having reviewed the record herein, including, among other things, the Consent Decree, dated March 4, 1994 (“Consent Decree”); the Stipulation and Order Regarding Appointment of a Review Officer, dated June 2, 2010 (“Stipulation”); Court proceedings held on April 6, 2011 and May 16, 2011; the letter from Raymond G. McGuire, Esq., counsel to the Funds’ trustees (“Trustees”), dated May 19, 2011 to the Court (“McGuire May 19 Ltr.”) (“[P]roviding additional information [about the Funds] to the participants . . . may be in the interest of all parties.”); the Court’s Order, dated May 26, 2011 (“May 26 Order”), indicating, among other things, that “the Court would like to devote the first hour or so at the June 28, 2011 conference to a report on the status of the [District Council Benefits Funds (‘Funds’)]”; the letter from Mr. McGuire, dated June 20, 2011 (“McGuire June 20 Ltr.”), requesting that the Court “reconsider the May 26 Order”; and applicable law, the Court finds and directs as follows:

More complete disclosure of the financial status of the Funds is imperative. The Trustees’ request for reconsideration of the May 26 Order is respectfully granted in part and denied in part as follows:

Saturday, June 25, 2011

A Message From Local 157 President-Elect Patrick Nee

I would like to thank all of those who went to the polls last Wednesday and especially to those who chose the Workers Rights Slate to represent them, we will not let you down and will bring the fight for the members where ever that battle can be fought.

We welcome the opportunity to show you that our platform was not only for election day but only a part of the struggle we had already joined.

We believe that it is time for the members to start getting what they need as opposed to having to constantly battle against having what they already have being taken away.

So I would like to take this opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to the members of local 157 and to assure them that it is their rights that we will be looking to have restored.

I would urge any members who can to attend the rally on Monday June 27, in support of our brothers and sisters.

There is also a court hearing on Tuesday June 28, at 500 Pearl St, I believe that these court hearings hold the greatest chance for the members to have their rights restored and urge all members who can to attend.

A union is built on solidarity and we are looking forward to working together to bring much needed change to our union.

Yours in Solidarity
President-Elect Patrick Nee

Rally To Protest UBC's Restructuring Plan

What: Rally 
Where: 395 Hudson Street
When: Monday June 27, 3pm
Why: Protest UBC Restructuring Plan

On Monday June 27, at 3 pm Local 2287 will rally in front of 395 Hudson Street to protest the UBC's proposed "Restructuring Plan" to limit the geographic jurisdiction of the local to the five boroughs of New York City. This proposal will take away half of the locals jurisdiction and will decrease the work hours to the District Council and Benefit Funds.

The members of LU 2287 adamantly oppose this proposed "Restructuring Plan" and will continue to fight and protest to make sure that the plan does not happen.

Brother Bill Kane from LU 2287 has ask that all local members stand in solidarity and show their support by attending this rally to protect the livelihood of LU 2287 members.

For more information you can email Bill Kane at

$pending Hammers Union Big

The below article appeared in the NY Daily News on Sunday June 19, 2011. The article is not available on the News website and several Local 1456 members requested that I post it.

Click to enlarge.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Strike threatens $10B in construction projects

If operating engineers man picket lines when their contracts expire June 30, construction across the city will halt, idling more than 11,000 workers, according to a survey. It's happened before.

By Daniel Massey

With a contract deadline a week away, a survey of developers has found that a work stoppage by operating engineers could silence construction on private-sector projects worth nearly $10 billion and temporarily idle more than 11,300 workers.

With the operating engineers' union contracts set to expire June 30, the Real Estate Board of New York survey shows that work could stop on commercial and retail projects spanning more than 13 million square feet and on residential sites totaling more than 6,300 units.

Projects that could be halted include Forest City Ratner's Barclays Center in Brooklyn, which employs 1,000 construction workers; Silverstein Properties' World Trade Center Tower 4, which employs 800; and Extell Development Co.'s International Gem Tower in midtown, which employs 500.

“There's a lot of hard-working men and women that want to continue to work and a lot of projects throwing a lot of money into the economy that we don't need to stop,” said REBNY President Steven Spinola.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Audio of Review Officer Forum of Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Review Officer Dennis Walsh
By Joesph

Audio in MP3 format of the entire "Review Officer, (RO) Forum" held Tuesday, June 21, 2011 from 4:30pm to 7:00pm at 395 Hudson Street on the second floor in the meeting space of the school.

New Player (Without MediaFire)

Part 1


Part 2


For iPad/iPhone users

Part 1

Part 2

LU157 Officer Election Results

By Daniel J. Franco

Workers Rights Slate and Greg Kelty Win! 

The proposition to raise early retiree dues from $60.15 quarterly to $70.00 was defeated,  284 NO Votes vs. 86 YES Votes 

Election Results June 22, 2011.

President Vice
Treasurer Conductor Warden Trustee Trustee Trustee
New Direction

# Votes 245 225 255 318 397 315
268 248 279
% of Votes 18.4% 18.1% 23.0% 27.8% 52.7% 29.7%
7.9% 7.4% 8.3%
Carpenters for
Carmine J.
Peck, Jr.
# Votes 252 254 287 299 357 317 389 257 243 260
% of Votes 18.9% 20.5% 25.8% 26.1% 47.3% 29.9% 48.4% 7.6% 7.2% 7.7%
Workers' Rights
Peter V.

“Johnny Cigars”
Kevin V.
# Votes 334 394 442 375
429 415 329 397 338
% of Votes 25.0% 31.7% 39.8% 32.8%
40.4% 51.6% 9.8% 11.8% 10.0%

# Votes 58 199

% of Votes 4.3% 16.0%



# Votes 162


% of Votes 12.1%




# Votes 283

% of Votes 21.2%



# Votes

% of Votes


Daniel J.


# Votes



% of Votes






# Votes


% of Votes


Total Votes 1334 1242 1111 1144 754 1061 804


157 Website Goes Dark

What's up with the official Local 157 website, right after the election it went dark!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


I do not have the official results yet but we are calling a clean sweep for Pat Nee and the Workers Rights Slate! Congratulations!!!

Also Congratulations to Greg Kelty who won as Treasurer! Will have more election news as it becomes available.

Pictured left to right: Mariano Arocho, John "Cigars" DeFalco,  Matt Seabury, Peter Corrigan, Thomas McGonnigle, Pat Nee, Levi Messinetti, Gauntlet Holness, Kevin Corrigan, John "Terror" Carty



    Back to the Future: UBC Proposes Full Mobility

    In June of 2001, The Unity Team "bargained away" the 50/50 rule in the 2001 contract negotiations and gave the contractors associations what they wanted—the unfettered "right to request" anyone they want from the out-of-work list ("Full Mobility").

    On May 26, 2009 Judge Haight issued an opinion and order finding the District Council and Peter Thomassen, its president, are adjudge and held in contempt of this court for violating the 1994 Consent Decree by bargaining away the job referral rules (50/50) and he modified the 50/50 Rule to allow the contractor to select up to 67% of the carpenters on a job. The remaining carpenters must be selected from the out-of-work-list (67/33).

    On June 21, 2011 in a letter (below) to RO Dennis Walsh and USAO Ben Torrance the UBC is proposing "Full Mobility" in the 2011 contract negotiations, this time allowing the contractors to hire 100 percent of the carpenters work force without reference to the OWL.

    RO Dennis Walsh has email me and would appreciate hearing our views on the "Full Mobility Proposal."

    (John's note: This proposal and the language used I believe Conboy is asking for a closed shop preferential hiring agreement which Congress declared illegal in the U.S. under the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947.)

    Benefit Fund Trustees to Judge Berman: No Transparency

    On May 26, Judge Richard M. Berman issued an order and concluded that the more transparency which can be provided to the membership with respect to each of the Benefit Funds, the better. The Court would like to devote the first hour or so at the June 28, 2011 conference to a report on the status of the Benefit Funds by a representative of the Funds consultant, The Segal Company.

    On June 20, Raymond McGuire, counsel for the Benefit Fund Trustees, wrote to Judge Berman requesting that the Court reconsider the Order.

    RO Dennis Walsh has email me and would appreciate hearing our views on the request to have the Court reconsider its May 26, Order.

    Ready To Walk Out

    Builders fear widespread shutdown if construction unions strike

    By Adam Lisberg

    The question is no longer whether New York City construction workers will go on strike next week, say people involved in the talks—it’s how long they’ll stay out.

    Among the union, real estate, construction and government officials monitoring the negotiations, almost everyone expects at least some of the 16 construction unions will walk off the job after their contracts expire June 30.

    Most likely to strike, they say, are Operating Engineers locals 14 and 15, which are in developers’ sights because of their extraordinarily lucrative contracts. Builders say the old labor pacts require dozens of engineers on complex sites, each guaranteed six-figure salaries and overtime for crane jobs that require literally no work.

    The engineer locals, which have a history of Mafia involvement, did not return calls for comment. It remains unclear, however, whether other unions will also join them on the picket lines or cut last-minute agreements.

    FBI and IRS investigating the Carabetta Organization in Meriden

    By Mary Ellen Godin, Record-Journal staff

    MERIDEN - Federal agents from the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Division raided the offices of the Carabetta Management Co. at 200 Pratt St. early Wednesday morning as part of an ongoing federal investigation.

    All employees except upper management were sent home, witnesses said, and agents were seen loading boxes of documents and computers into a van parked at the rear of the building. Agents sitting in cars with license plates from Massachusetts and Rhode Island entered and left the parking lot, while others conversed quietly with members of the Carabetta family who remained on site.

    Also raided were the adjacent offices of SRC Construction Co. Another company headquartered at 200 Pratt St. is Carabetta Enterprises Inc.

    FBI and IRS officials would not say what prompted the search except that it was part of an ongoing federal investigation into Carabetta companies. Authorities would not confirm whether the search and seizure was related to Carabetta's involvement in billions of dollars' worth of failed federal military housing contracts.

    Attorney William Baldiga, who represented Carabetta during negotiations with the military, was not aware of Wednesday's search and seizure when reached by a reporter, and quickly said he had to contact Carabetta officials. He did not return a second phone call.

    POLLS ARE OPEN! Come out and vote today in Local Union 157's Election!

    Tuesday, June 21, 2011

    Federal Agents Search Carabetta Offices In Meriden


    Federal agents searched Carabetta Construction's main offices in Meriden on Wednesday.

    Thomas Carson, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in New Haven, acknowledged the search but would not comment on the reason for the search or what federal authorities were removing from the building. FBI agents are assisting investigators from the IRS Criminal Investigations Division.

    Carabetta is a property development company that does extensive work with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and other federal agencies renovating or developing apartments and multi-family housing all over the state. Carabetta has financed over $1 billion through state and federal government programs, according to the company website.

    The company's portfolio includes 20,000 units of multifamily housing, elderly housing, building subdivisions of single family homes and nearly 6,000 units of high-rise buildings, some as high as 22 stories. Carabetta's portfolio also includes building commercial developments as well as schools and firehouses.

    Monday, June 20, 2011

    There will be NO Local Union 157 Meeting on Monday, June 20. Elections and Meeting to be held on Wednesday, June 22

    From NYCDC Website:

    All local union 157 members please be advised that there will be an election held on June 22, 2011 at the NYCDCC Labor Technical College, 395 Hudson Street New York, NY 10014, between the hours of 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. for the Local 157 Executive Board.  The positions are that of: President, Vice-President, Recording Secretary, Financial Secretary, Treasurer, Conductor, Warden, and three (3) Trustees.  Also on the ballot, a referendum to raise the dues for early retirees from $60.15  quarterly to $70.00 quarterly.  All members are encouraged to participate in union democracy and vote for the candidates of their choice.

    A Special Call Meeting of the Local 157 membership will be held at 7 p.m. after the closing of the polls.

    A big day for Walmart's NY push

    By Greg David

    The campaign to keep New York City Walmart-free suffered three significant blows in the last few days. They bring the inevitable resolution of this high-profile controversy several steps closer.

    The first setback took place Friday when workers at the Target store in Valley Stream, L.I., voted against joining the retail workers' union by a vote of 137-85.

    The union claims it lost as a result of illegal actions by Target intimidating workers by pointing out the impact of dues on paychecks, warning that joining the union would not necessarily lead to higher wages and raising the possibility that the store could close. The National Labor Relations' pro-union tilt under President Barack Obama makes it possible the union's complaints will gain traction, although what Target did is not actually illegal--just harmful to the union's cause.

    Sunday, June 19, 2011

    President Gausman Shows No Leadership

    Click to enlarge.
    We’ve had strong presidents and weak presidents, skillful presidents and incompetent presidents, honest presidents and corrupt presidents. Gerry Gausman stands alone as the first president who simply declines to lead.

    I received Gausman's "Carpenters for Solidarity,"campaign mailing on Friday, it is devoid of any substance on the issues, does not give you a single reason why you should vote and does not even mention that Gausman is the president!

    After you read past the first 14 pitiful sentences you get this for a reason to vote;

    "At all general membership meetings, we will inform the members on all issues, our positions on the issues, and anything we voted on at the Executive Board meeting. There will be no secrets. We are not naive enough to think this will be easy, but we are confident that once the membership is informed and has access to the same information as the Executive Board, the union will be stronger than ever."

    So Gausman thinks informing the membership at a meeting is a herculean task, and if he can accomplish this task, "the union will be stronger than ever" and the members will have "their union back."

    On March 21st, Gausman was constitutionally appointed Vice President pro tem, and for all intents and purposes has been in charge of the local. On March 14, former President Lawrence D'Errico received a written "NOTICE OF POSSIBLE ACTION" and has been absent since, D'Errico was officially veto by the RO on April 12.

    Saturday, June 18, 2011

    Local 157 Union Meeting Changed to Wednesday, June 22nd

    Click to enlarge.
    Posted on NYCDCC website: Attention members! The Local 157 Union Meeting formerly scheduled for Monday, June 20th has been moved. The meeting will now be held on Wednesday, June 22nd at approximately 7pm in the Labor Technical College common room, located at 395 Hudson Street, 2nd floor.  This meeting will take place following the elections.

    (John's note: On Friday not one person I spoke with was aware of this meeting schedule change, no post card was mailed out to the membership, no job stewards were informed, it is not even posted on the official Local 157 website, why did President Gausman rescheduled the meeting changed?)

    Workers Rights Slate

    I received this in today's mail from the Workers Rights Slate.

    Boeing Labor Battle Is Poised to Go Before Judge


    Barring a last-minute settlement, lawyers for the National Labor Relations Board will begin arguing before a Seattle judge on Tuesday that Boeing broke the law by building a new, nonunion production line in South Carolina instead of expanding its unionized operations in Washington State.

    Boeing, the N.L.R.B. and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers local that initiated the case all still say they would like to find a way to settle. Appeals could grind on for years, clouding the future of Boeing’s $750 million Dreamliner assembly plant scheduled to start production in July in North Charleston, S.C. Negotiators and outside analysts said that any deal would most likely require Boeing to commit to adding some level of new production lines to its Puget Sound manufacturing hub in exchange for certain union concessions, like a no-strike pledge.

    Weiner In, Weiner Out

    Friday, June 17, 2011

    NYC Unions Agree to 20% Wage Cut On Manhattan Residential Project

    By Carolina Worrell

    Key unions in New York City, including laborers and structural trades, agreed to a 20% wage cut yesterday, June 15 for work on Gotham West, a residential development on Manhattan’s West Side that will consist of four buildings and about 1,240 residential units, according to a recent article in Crain’s New York Business.

    About 500 of the units, located between West 44th and West 45th streets and 10th and 11th avenues, will be deemed affordable housing. Gotham Organization Inc., the building’s Manhattan-based developer, did not respond for comment by ENR New York press time.

    “I’m not surprised by this,” said Richard T. Anderson, president of the New York Building Congress. “For residential and commercial projects, which have suffered the greatest declines, these [project labor] agreements are a sign of that weakness, and the unions realize that these projects need steep concessions in order to maintain union labor.”

    Thursday, June 16, 2011

    Macy’s deal with NY workers averts strike

    A midnight deadline passed, but union and store negotiators pulled an all-nighter and reached agreement Thursday on a five-year contract for nearly 4,000 workers at four Macy’s stores.

    By Daniel Massey

    Police barricades were up in front of Macy’s flagship Herald Square store in preparation for a picket line Wednesday night, and as late as 2:30 a.m., it appeared a strike could happen.

    But negotiators from Macy’s and Local 1-S of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union worked past a midnight deadline and reached an agreement just before 7 a.m. on a new five-year contract. The deal covers four New York City-area stores and nearly 4,000 workers.

    Details of the contract were not immediately available, but the union’s 35-member negotiating committee unanimously endorsed the agreement and some were said to be exchanging high-fives in the moments after it was reached.

    “When working people stand together in a strong union, they’re able to make gains for themselves and their families,” said Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. “I’m pleased that the company was willing to share its success with its union members.”

    A Macy’s spokeswoman said the tentative deal resulted from “tremendous efforts by company and union negotiators” and that it reflects “the economic and business realities of the retailing industry, while keeping jobs at Macy's among the best in the department store industry.”

    The tentative contract will be signed at 5 p.m. Thursday, after which the union will take it to its members at the four stores—at Herald Square and in Queens, the Bronx and White Plains—for ratification votes. Voting will begin tonight in Herald Square and continue through Wednesday.

    Message from the Office of the Inspector General

    NEWS From the Office of the New York City & Vicinity District Council of Carpenters Inspector General Scott C. Danielson

    Contact: Karolyn Castillo
    June 15, 2011


    On June 3, 2011 Joseph Olivieri was sentenced in Manhattan federal court to 18 months imprisonment for perjury. Olivieri, a former trustee of the New York City District Council of Carpenters Benefit Funds and the former Executive Director of the Association of Wall, Ceiling and Carpentry Industries of New York was convicted by a jury following a one-week trial before U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero in October 2010.

    Thousands of Union Protesters Rally in Heights

    ‘March for Middle Class’ Heads Over B’klyn Bridge

    By Raanan Geberer And Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle

    BROOKLYN — Thousands of labor union members carrying the banners of their local unions and waving American flags and other signage crowded into Cadman Plaza Park on Wednesday before marching over the Brooklyn Bridge to protest what they say is an attack on the middle class.

    This “March for the Middle Class” was called by the New York City Central Labor Council to protest government cutbacks that they say target middle-class and working-class New Yorkers.

    Among these cutbacks, according to a statement handed out at the march, are the shrinking of benefits, the outsourcing and contracting out of jobs, proposed layoffs, budget cuts that would diminish New York City residents’ safety and quality of life, and more.

    Thousands of union workers march across Brooklyn Bridge to protest proposed NYC budget cuts

    Thousands of New York City firefighters and supporters march over the Brooklyn Bridge and rally in City Hall Park to protest Mayor Bloomberg's proposal to close 20 fire companies across New York City.
    BY Nicholas Rizzi

    Thousands of union workers marched over the Brooklyn Bridge on Wednesday to rally against the city's proposed budget cuts.

    "We're sick and tired of the assault on working men and women," said Denis Hughes, president of the 2.5-million-member New York State AFL-CIO.

    Organizers said the "March for the Middle Class" drew between 15,000 and 20,000 people, from plumbers and electricians to tile layers and teachers.

    "The middle class is who built this city and built this nation," said Gary LaBarbera, president of the New York City Building and Construction Trades Council. "We're going to stand up for the middle class and the American dream."

    "If we don't stand together then they'll pick us apart," said Raymond Kitson, 47, a Queens native living in New Jersey and an organizer for the Local 3 electricians union.

    Mayor Bloomberg's planned cuts would close 20 fire houses and lay off more than 4,000 teachers.

    Wednesday, June 15, 2011

    Quickie Elections: Rigging the Rules to Favor Big Labor

    By Peter Schaumber

    After the forces of organized labor lost their battle for mandatory card check in Congress, it was widely anticipated that the board would give them the next best thing — “quickie elections,” which are held seven to ten days after a petition is filed. Like card check, quickie elections rig the rules to favor a union outcome. With NLRB chairman Wilma Liebman’s term ending in ten weeks, we may well see something issued soon.

    Imagine a political election in which only one party were given the opportunity to tell voters its side of the story, and could set an election date only days away, all without prior notice to the other side. Sound unfair? This is the model the Obama board intends to impose on American business for union-representation elections.

    Pat Nee for President

    Lawrence D'Errico was elected President of Local 157 on July 21, 2008, following the politically motivated , November 2007, emergency supervision of the local. Remember he was going to clean up local? Instead starting on day one he removed the microphone from local meetings. Things didn't quite work out the way he thought!

    The former president was vetoed by the Review Officer on April 12, 2011 for giving materially false answers to questions posed to him in a deposition.

    On December 7, 2010, Local 608 members went to the polls and elected a new president, rank and file carpenter, Tommy McGonnigle. McGonnigle became the sixth president of the crime-racked local in a year. Seven days later, General President Douglas McCarron, dissolved the local and merged its 7000 members into Local 157.

    Divided Wisconsin Supreme Court upholds anti-union law

    (Reuters) - A sharply divided Wisconsin Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that a controversial measure that curbs the collective bargaining rights of public workers in the state can go into effect.

    By Jeff Mayers

    In what was essentially a 4-3 decision, the high court overturned a lower court, which had ruled Republican lawmakers violated the state's open meetings law when they passed the measure in March.

    "Access was not denied," the Supreme Court declared in Tuesday's decision. "There is no constitutional requirement that the legislature provide access to as many members of the public as wish to attend meetings of the legislature or meetings of legislative committees."

    But Tuesday' 68-page decision was a thicket of concurrences and dissents, reflecting the sharp divide the measure has created in the state itself.

    David Prosser, whose recent reelection to the state's high court had been hotly contested by opponents of the union measure, wrote in his eight-page concurrence that GOP legislators had good reason to rush things they way they did, given the ugly mood of protesters at the Capitol.

    Tuesday, June 14, 2011

    Feds nail carpenters labor union employee for embezzlement

    Colin T. Rehrig pleaded guilty to stealing more than $30,000 from the United Brotherhood of Carpenters

    By Tracy Jordan, OF THE MORNING CALL

    A Carbon County man working as a bookkeeper for a local carpenters union embezzled an estimated $30,483 over four years from the organization, according to federal authorities.

    Colin T. Rehrig, 68, of Mahoning Township, pleaded guilty in federal court Monday to taking the money from the United Brotherhood of Carpenters Local Union 600 of Bethlehem between September 2004 and September 2008.

    Rehrig was charged in an information filed March 30. The two-page document says Rehrig's job duties included writing payroll checks, including his own, from a bank account from which he stole the money.

    Rehrig faces a possible sentence of up to five years imprisonment, three years supervised release, a $250,000 fine and a $100 court fee. Sentencing is set for Sept. 27. He is free on a $10,000 recognizance bond.

    385 building projects get fast green light

    New city program to eliminate red tape in construction project approval process results in 52% jump in productivity; $262 million jolt of economic activity seen.

    By Amanda Fung

    The city Department of Buildings said Tuesday that 385 construction projects were approved last month under a new pilot program designed to speed up the process. In fact, the agency calculated that courtesy of the new program, 52% more construction projects were approved per hour compared to the traditional approval process.

    The program dubbed “Get It Done. Together.” took place over 16 nights in May. At these sessions, Department of Buildings' five borough commissioners and representatives from six city agencies met with property owners, licensed architects and/or engineers and filing representatives to resolve project plans and examine projects for approval, a process that is usually complex and burdensome because it involves approvals from multiple agencies acting separately. The 385 approved projects are expected to generate $262 million worth of economic activity.

    “More construction projects means more jobs, and that's what this new program is quickly accomplishing,” said Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri, in a statement. “By bringing these government agencies together into one room for the first time, we've stripped away the typical back-and-forth that can serve as a roadblock for any construction project, and we're working closely with developers and designers so their construction projects can start as soon as possible.”

    Sunday, June 12, 2011

    The “Dockbuilders”

    Charlie Harkin awarded Christmas "bonuses: to select board members.

    The below excerpt was taken from the second semi-annual report by Review Office Dennis Walsh.

    Local Union 1456

    Late last year, my office began an investigation of the governance and administration of Local Union 1456 (the “Dockbuilders”). The investigation has revealed various improprieties relating to the expenditure of union funds and deep flaws in its business practices. After his veto, Michael Koballa settled certain outstanding issues with this office pursuant to the terms of an agreement executed on February 24, 2011. The President of the Local, Charles Harkin, resigned his position effective April 27, 2011; resigned as a trustee of the Benefit Funds effective April 29, 2011; and resigned as a business representative and “withdrew” his membership in the Union effective April 30, 2011. Olaf Olsen, the treasurer of the Local, resigned his position and his employment as a business representative of the District Council pursuant to the terms of an agreement with this office executed on May 10, 2011.

    The investigation of Local Union 1456 is discussed in detail at 32-39. The Harkin resignation letters and the settlement agreements with Koballa and Olsen are attached hereto as Exhibits 12, 13 and 14, respectively.