Monday, August 22, 2011

Contract Update: Message to the Negotiating Committee and Delegates

Hundreds of Carpenters broke thru the police barricade and charged union headquarters.

That was the underlying message of Fridays afternoon rally attended by hundreds of hardworking rank and filers.

Carpenters mobilized into action after learning on Saturday, that the District Council of Carpenters and the Contractors Associations have tentatively agreed to a new five-year contract that calls for a 5-percent pay-cut in the first year. (Every other trade union reached deals that include pay raises). 

On Tuesday, rally fliers were posted on, by Wednesday and Thursday rally organizers were distributing fliers to shop stewards at the District Council. Word of mouth immediately spread on job-sites and by text message and cell phones. On Friday, just days after learning of the pay-cut over 600 hundred carpenters responded and supported the impromptu rally.

At least two carpenters were arrested, as hundreds broke thru the police barricade set up across the street from the council and charged the building with their signs chanting, "This is our building, This is our building"..."Rats in the building, Rats go home, Rats in the building, Rats go home"...and "No Pay-Cuts, No-Pay-Cuts."

Rally organizers are considering plans to take up a collection to cover out-of pocket expenses incurred for the union brothers who were arrested.

Contract Negotiations are being led by Supervisor Frank Spencer, who was appointed in 2009 by the general president of United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America to oversee the District Council after several of its officials were indicted for bribery.

On April 21, 2011 Spencer promised the members “that the District Council will not consider any proposal that includes a reduction in wages."

Carpenters were shocked when they learned about the tentative agreement calling for a 5-percent pay cut, which is now officially "off the table."

"There are no pending memorandums of understanding presently on the table,” an informed source at the council said on the morning of the rally.

Rank and filers are angry and frustrated, "We had enough of the corruption, triple assessments, supervision, lack of information, being lied to and being kept in the dark." This 5-percent pay-cut is adding insult to injury," said Joesph a carpenter supporting the rally.

Several carpenters said, this is where we draw the line, "If they say give-backs, We say fight-back, we already made enough concessions."

Carpenters are furious and were threatening to stage a wave of unofficial wildcat strikes and disrupt high-profile job sites. "Lets shut this city down and really send a message," screamed several carpenters at the rally.

On July 1, 2010 at the urging of the contractors, Spencer, with neither the counsel nor consent of the membership enacted a 90 day wage freeze on a $2.13 per hour contractual raise. This wage concession was based on a theory by contractors that a wage freeze would "spur new projects." That predication has been disproved, since the contractors could not provide any documentation to support that theory.

Then on December 30, 2010 Spencer again, with neither the counsel nor consent of the membership unilaterally decided to "forgo" a $2.13 per hour contractual raise schedule for January 1, 2011.

Rank and filers offered these possible concessions to the negotiating committee to kick-start talks: "Give up the $2.13 January raise, freeze wages for one year, (possibly two years) followed by cost of living increasing each year over the life of a 5-year deal, but absolutely no pay-cuts!"


Plans are being made for a larger rally at union headquarters on Thursday August, 25 at 3:30 pm, one day before the Friday extended contract deadline. The carpenters' contracts expired June 30 and deadlines have been extended several times, talks resume "Monday at an 8:00 am schedule meeting," sources say.
In the meantime, we urge you to keep CALLING YOUR DELEGATES, have all your buddies call their delegates, flood them with phone calls and emails. Your voice WILL make a difference!  Tell them do not vote for any proposal that includes a reduction in wages.

The UBC has promised judge Berman, that the council delegates will vote and ratify the final version of the contract.

Do not let anyone tell you different, the UBC did not say the delegates will cast "nonbinding ratification votes," (reported in Crains NY)", they wrote that "the final version of the collective bargaining agreement will also be submitted to the District Council Delegates for ratification."

The UBC could be held in contempt of court, (showing disrespect for the judge) if the delegates do not vote to ratify the contract.


  1. Any jackass that votes for a contract with give
    Backs should be outed and shunned by every
    Member of this union. The delegates have to
    Show some balls and vote down any contract
    That is not in the best interest of the membership
    Or be treated like the delights they are acting like
    Every member should back up any rallies and show
    Up at them from here on in or be considered
    To be on the oppositions side. It's now or never
    Show that you are UNION. You can't ride the
    Fence anymore you pay you dues to a union
    And get your benefits from the union so stop
    Licking the bosses ass and get in the streets
    With the rest of us. Rally rally this Friday 330 and it's
    Suppose to be a beautiful day so no excuses
    We also owe a vote of gratitude to the laborers for
    Signing a decent contract my only reservation
    Is that they didn't let us know before it hit the papers
    I sort of feel like they were backdooring
    Us but we have to take care of the task at hand and
    Not get caught up in union in fighting as Sean Connery
    Said in the untouchables" WHAT ARE YOU
    Brothers and Sisters Tell everyone. You know
    As one we have power. Divided the greatest have
    Been conquered!



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