Sunday, November 27, 2011

Civil Service Carpenters loose NYCDC prescription plan unless they pay $1,500 a yr out of pocket

By Donny Arana

I'm a NYC Civil Service Carpenter for 3 years now and last week I received this in the mail. This is from the same union (157) I pay my dues, do my picket duty and get assessed like everybody else. We just lost our prescription coverage, I'd like to personally thank the trustees that are on the top left hand corner of the letter below. And also, I'd like to thank the two Business Reps for the Civil Service Carpenters - Bill Lacey & Martin Lydon. This will also be happening to all NYCDCC Carpenters as well in the new year coming. They just wont announce it or deliver the bad news to the membership until after the District Council elections. If they did this will lessen the chances of the incumbents getting re-elected and loosing control of the District Council. Make sure you take a look at the names of the trustees at the top left hand corner of the page. THAT SAYS IT ALL!!

Denis Hamill tells why there is so much union pride in building Barclays Center in Brooklyn

Construction boss Bob Sanna is behind the Nets new basketball arena

Bob Sanna, a Brooklyn native, is in charge of construction for the new Barclays Center for the Nets in Downtown Brooklyn. Also various photos of construction.
By Denis Hamill

The billion-dollar arena is 60% finished.

After all the political debates, protests, lawsuits and economic setbacks since 2003, Barclays Center is real now, rising from Brooklyn where Atlantic Ave. meets Flatbush Ave.

At long last a professional sports venue nears completion in my native Brooklyn, where there hasn’t been one — except for the minor-league Cyclones stadium in Coney Island — since the Dodgers cakewalked in 1957.

Expect the first Brooklyn Nets’ tip-off by fall, 2012.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Latest Poll Puts Franco in First-place

Click to enlarge.
New York City— With less than nineteen days to fill out your mail in ballot and elect new leaders to the New York City District Council of Carpenters, Dan Franco has seized a slight lead in the latest 157 blog poll.

Last week we conducted a poll and surveyed one hundred members asking: "Who do you plan on voting for as the Executive Secretary Treasurer (EST) of the New York City District Council of Carpenters?"
According to the results of the poll, Dan Franco is in a slight lead over Mike Bilello.

Twenty-seven percent (27) of members polled said they are backing Franco, twenty-five percent (25) said they are backing Bilello, and forty-eight percent (48) said they were undecided.
Members have until December 15, 2011 to return the mail in ballot by mail to the American Arbitration Association (AAA) in order for their vote to be counted.

Message From the Rank and File Team

Brothers and sisters you have an opportunity with these elections to shape the future of your Union. Now is the time to send a clear message that you will no longer stand for being cheated out of your money, your jobs, your benefits, your democratic rights, and your dignity.

Friday, November 25, 2011

A Message From Dan Franco & Greg Kelty

Click to enlarge.
I sincerely hope that everyone reading this will exercise the right to vote. Some of us may have our minds made up, while others are still undecided. Some people may know exactly what issues matter to them, while others may still be unsure of where the candidates stand.

The important thing is to fill out your mail ballot and Vote!

This is a very important election, the issues and challenges we face today are real and crucial to both your future, your families future and the future of this union.

The officers you elect
to the New York City District Council of Carpenters will have an enormous responsibility to address the issues and find solutions to the problems of rising health care cost, underfunded pensions, over assessed membership, making sure our contracts are fair and being enforced, hold cheating contractors accountable, improve communications and transparency and find ways to increase man-hours and better job opportunities for all our members.

We've got serious problems, and we need serious people to solve them. We are counting on members and friends like you to give us your all out support and Vote!

The mail in ballots from American Arbitration Association (AAA) will arrive this week, when you receive your ballot, immediately check off Daniel J. Franco for Executive Secretary Treasurer and Greg Kelty President and your choice for Vice President, put the ballot into the addressed envelope and send it back in the mail. All ballots must be returned by mail to the AAA by 5:00 p.m. on December 15, 2011. 

God bless you and God bless our Union.

In solidarity,
Dan Franco 
Greg Kelty

A Messsage From Dan Franco

Dan Franco for EST.
Dear fellow union members:

My name is Dan Franco. I am running for Executive Secretary-Treasurer (EST) to the District Council of NYC and Vicinity (NYCDCC), United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America (UBCJA).

I joined Local Union 257 in October of 1989 at the age of 19. I enrolled in the NYCDCC Labor Technical College (LTC) as a first-year apprentice and subsequently completed my four-year apprenticeship.

I would not be running for EST if I did not assuredly know that I could perform the duties of the position competently, honestly, openly, and fairly. I am the EST candidate free of corrupt influence and willing to call-out anyone who I have witnessed or have evidence of subverting our union's laws, rules and principles. My over-all goal is to inform, educate, and train all the membership so that we can all be empowered to work collectively and independently to achieve our organization's goals and to live by the principles of organized labor; to renew and reaffirm our solidarity and that labor conquers all.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving Brothers and Sisters

The first Thanksgiving in the New World was celebrated in mid-October 1621, nearly a year after the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

Much later, George Washington was the first of many US presidents to formally proclaim a day of thanks. The following prayer was offered in 1789, in appreciation of the hard-earned independence of the United States of America:
Almighty God, we make our earnest prayer that Thou wilt keep the United States in thy holy protection; that Thou wilt incline the hearts of the citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to government, and entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another and for their fellow citizens of the United States at large.

And, finally that Thou wilt graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility and pacific temper of mind which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion, and without an humble imitation of whose example in these things we can never hope to be a happy nation. Amen.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

City Council Debates Revised 'Living Wage' Bill

By Jill Colvin

 CITY HALL — The City Council faced off on controversial legislation Tuesday that would force developers who receive big city grants to pay their workers a so-called "living wage.”

The proposed law, which has been significantly watered down in recent months, has deep support across the largely Democratic Council. But it has been slammed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who panned it as a job killer that would drive developers out of New York.

That debate has put all eyes on City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who has yet to take a public stand on the bill, which has deeply divided many of those she will have to court in her presumptive run for mayor.

Under the proposed legislation, developers who received more than $1 million in city subsidies would be forced to pay workers at least $10 an hour, plus benefits, or $11.50 without — significantly higher than current minimum wage.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

2011 District Council Election Costs

The following is a breakdown of approximate costs for the Election Forum at the Jacob Javits Center on November 16, 2011 and the election mailings consisting of campaign literature for each candidate and the Special Edition of the Carpenter Magazine.

The Javits Center was prepared to seat 3,000 members.  The contract required security which was provided by the District Council. The video of the Election Forum is available for viewing on the District Council website.

The Election Rules required the forum and mailings, the special edition of The Carpenter magazine and campaign literature mailing provided by each candidate.  The specific costs are as follows:

Election Forum at Jacob Javits Center - $14,500
Election Forum required security as per Javits contract - $5,137.50
Video of Election Forum - $21,500.00 (posted on the DC website)
Special Election Edition of The Carpenter – printing - $9,850.00
Special Election Edition of The Carpenter - postage - $13,905.00
Campaign Literature Special Mailing - printing - $13,380.00
Campaign Literature Special Mailing -  postage - $16,632.00

Total - $94,904.50

Source NYCDC

Monday, November 21, 2011

157 Blog Announces Endorsement of Daniel J. Franco for EST

This week the rank and file will be receiving their mail in ballots from the American Arbitration Association (AAA) and will vote for new leaders of the New York City District Council of Carpenters and finally end the UBC's 833 day supervision.

In the race for Executive Secretary Treasurer, (the top spot that pays $220000 a year) we have the unprecedented choice between two inexperienced rank and filers, Daniel J. Franco and Michael Bilello (see video).

In evaluating both men, it all comes down to the issues of character, integrity and loyalty.

Remember back in March 2011, when newly nominated Local 157 President pro tem Bilello, refused to accept a motion for a copy of the meeting minutes saying, “I am done with this issue, it's been beaten to death.”

Because Bilello disagrees with a motion is not justification for blocking the members from voting on it. In the seconds it took him to make that statement, Bilello defined who he really is.

Trade unions say living wage bill will kill jobs

City Council to review legislation on Tuesday

Mayor Bloomberg says a hike in minimum wage would cripple small businesses
BY Reuven Blau

Three city trade unions are bucking their labor colleagues and trying to crush a bill that would bump the minimum wage at some companies to $10 an hour.

The unions representing private-sector carpenters, painters and masons are urging lawmakers to reject the controversial measure that they say will kill jobs.

“This legislation is short-sighted and will make it more difficult for New York City to attract new businesses and jobs,” said Jack Kittle, political director of District Council No. 9 of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades.

The politically charged, so-called “living-wage” proposal would obligate companies that get city tax breaks to pay employees $10 an hour, plus benefits — up from the current $7.25 minimum hourly wage.

The city’s largest unions have strenuously backed the legislation.

The bill’s supporters include the powerful 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Worker union and the Working Families Party.

“The reality is that the vast majority of New Yorkers support the living wage bill and want the City Council to pass it,” said Dan Morris, a spokesman for the Living Wage NYC Coalition.

Mayor Bloomberg contends the boosted minimum wage would cripple small businesses.

“The last time people tried to set rates, basically, was in the Soviet Union. And that didn’t work out very well,” he said last month.

Still, the bill’s backers point to other big cities that have adopted similar measures, including Los Angeles, Philadelphia and San Jose. A rally in support of the higher wage is set for Monday night at Riverside Church.

Council Speaker Christine Quinn has ducked taking a position on the contentious issue for weeks.

A Council hearing set to review the bill is set for Tuesday.

That hearing may be as far the legislation goes: Quinn nixed a similarly controversial measure requiring paid sick leave after first allowing it to be debated at a hearing.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

NYCDC Election Update: Franco vs Bilello

Candidates speak to an empty room at Javits center.
On Wednesday November 16, the New York City District Council of Carpenters held an election forum at the Javits Center which was moderated by Review Officer Dennis Walsh.

Only about 100 members were in attendance, (most were paid staff) in a room that could accommodate 5000.

There is not a lot of excitement within the rank and file for the two candidates for EST, especially after Walsh disqualified 16 of the 34 candidates at the nomination meeting on Wednesday October 12.

I put together the opening and closing statements of Daniel J. Franco and Michael Bilello, candidates for Executive Secretary Treasurer.

The American Arbitration Association will mail ballots on November 21, 2011, to all eligible members to vote for District Council Executive Secretary-Treasurer, President and Vice President. All ballots must be returned by mail to the AAA by 5:00 p.m. on December 15, 2011.

To view more video of the forum including candidates for President, Vice President, Conductor, Warden and Trustee click here.

iPhone and iPad users click here to view video.

EST Debate from John Musumeci on Vimeo.

Important Contract Negotiations Update

Below is the Association of Wall-Ceiling and Carpentry Industries response to the letter to Judge Berman dated November 10, regarding the collective bargaining agreements.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Low-cost construction set for 15 Atlantic Yards towers

Developer Bruce Ratner will use prefabricated steel to build the residential properties, one of which will be 32-stories—the tallest structure ever using that method of construction.

Developer Bruce Ratner plans to use prefabricated steel to build the 15 residential buildings he plans to construct at Atlantic Yards, according to a report in The New York Times.

The first apartment house, a 32-story, 350-unit residential building at the corner of Flatbush Avenue and Dean Street will be the world's tallest prefabricated steel structure. Construction is slated to begin next year. Construction of the tower, however, has been delayed along with many other elements of the contested $4.9 billion Atlantic Yards project. Meanwhile, construction work on the centerpiece of the project, the Barclays Center arena that will be home to the Nets basketball team, is well under way, with an opening set for next September.

Mr. Ratner told The Times that using prefabricated or modular construction can cut time and costs by as much as 25%.

More Like a Bank Than a Union

Douglass McCarron: Union Boss or Ponzi Schemer?


In the aftermath of the police blitzkrieg that returned Zucotti Park to the bankers and brokers it may be useful to consider the alliances forged and enemies revealed during the short occupation of Liberty Park. If Occupy Wall Street has done anything in its relentless critique of the human costs of the financialization of capital, it has been to force the mainstream left to declare which side it is on. In mid-October more than a dozen locals of various unions marched in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street protestors to condemn a financial system that has drained worker’s pensions while filling the pockets of Wall Street bankers. AFSCME, Communication Workers of American, SEIU, the United Auto Workers, United Federation of Teachers, National Nurses United, and the Professional Staff Congress of CUNY among other unions showed support and marched in solidarity with the protestors.

But one notable absence from the Occupy/organized labor alliance, the Carpenters Union, offers another reminder that some leaders in the labor movement are on the side of the bankers against working people. While many rank and file carpenters have shown support, the union, particularly Carpenter’s President Douglass McCarron has been silent.

Local 157 Notice of Meeting

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Carpenter- Special Election Edition

Please click continue reading to view the Special Election Edition of the Carpenter, for 2011 District Council Election of Officers.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Important Contract Negotiations Update

Request to call special meeting before delegate vote.

Under Section 33(B) of the UBC Constitution, the Local President has the power to order the Recording Secretary to "call special meetings when requested in writing by five members in good standing."

After several contract extensions, the New York City District Council of Carpenters has reached collective bargaining agreements with all contractor associations.

It is expected that final changes to the agreements will be made by the close of business TODAY, and the agreements will be posted on the District Councils website for review by the membership by Friday, November 18, 2011.

UBC supervisor Frank Spencer, is expected to call for a vote on the agreements by the newly elected delegates to the District Council sometime during the week of December 5th.

Time is of the essence, if you care about your future, and want to have your voice heard, we urge ALL members to write, email and call their respective local union presidents TODAY and request a "special meeting" on or before December 2nd, in order for the membership to review, discuss and comment on these agreements before the delegates vote.

You can email Local 157 at , subject: "Special Meeting" and write, Dear President Pat Nee: I respectfully request you call a "special meeting" on or before December 2nd, for the purpose of discussing the collective bargaining agreements before a delegate vote is taken (include your name and UBC number). Do not wait, DO IT NOW!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Letter To Review Officer Dennis Walsh

Click to enlarge.
Updated: Originally posted July 6, 2011. 

Excerpt from the Court Transcript, dated November 7, 2011

THE COURT: Mr. Walsh, could you comment on that blue card? I'm not sure I understand that issue.

REVIEW OFFICER WALSH: It's been a long-running issue with many of the members. It was a program instituted by the Forde regime which at least in theory sought to compel one to do one's picket duty and that if you did your picket duty, some $500 that was withheld would then be paid to you. There was a demonstration a couple years ago, which was well-attended, which did get out of hand and led to the arrest of one of the members who did jump up on the security desk. He was brought up on charges and, in essence, turned into a poster boy for the authority of the Forde regime. He was convicted, he was heavily fined, and he was expelled from the union. I've always been very sympathetic to Mr. Brennan's plight, and I have told the UBC that I thought it was a situation that they should revisit, perhaps in the general president's office. Mr. Brennan has since filed a lawsuit, which I believe is active here in the Southern District under the LMRDA, and I also let my opinion be known to the UBC that I think that is a lawsuit that should be settled rather than district council moneys being expended going forward. But the program is very controversial. It is very unpopular amongst a significant percentage of the membership.

To learn more, see BLUE CARD BOY LIVES topic in the forum. 

Engineer in charge of condo construction slams contractors in fatal Brooklyn building collapse

Cheap steel, nails and clamps caused collapse: engineer 

Engineer Steve Schneider blames contractor’s actions for Brooklyn building collapse.

BY Brian Kates

The engineer overseeing construction of a Brooklyn condo that collapsed in a deadly heap last week says the contractor on the job was using procedures that “were not even vaguely correct.”

Engineer Steve Schneider, who was responsible for certifying the safety of concrete work at the doomed site, told the Daily News he was not on-site to inspect the setup when the concrete was poured.

City officials believe the contractor’s decision to pour concrete from the top floors down may have caused the half-built condo to collapse, killing one worker and injuring four others.

Schneider said the contractor, SP&K Construction, didn’t notify him that the concrete pour was about to begin.

“I didn’t have any idea what stage they were at,” Schneider said. “The last time I was there was when they poured the foundation about 3 ½ weeks before.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Contract Negotiations Update: Agreements Reached

Letter to judge Berman, click to enlar
After several contract extensions, the New York City District Council of Carpenters has reached tentative collective bargaining agreements with all contractor associations.

In response to a question posed by federal judge Richard M. Berman at the status conference on November 7, (see transcript below) Review Officer, Dennis Walsh and counsel to the District Council, Brian Quinn submitted a letter on November 10 to judge Berman (see right) outlining the schedule for finalization of collective bargaining agreements, including publication of draft agreements to the membership.

The District Council circulated the agreements to relevant contractors associations last week and the Council has ask contractors' associations to respond in writing by the close of business Monday, November 14, regarding any changes to the agreements.

It is expected that final changes to the agreements will be made the week of November 14, allowing for the agreements to be posted on the District Councils website for review by the membership by Friday, November 18, 2011.

A vote by the newly elected delegates to the District Council is expected to be scheduled for no shorter than two weeks later, or not before December 2, to facilitate review of the agreements by the membership as well as any comments the membership wishes to make to the delegates.

Carpenters Help Bring Vietnam Wall Replica to New York for Veterans Day

Click to view more photos.

In honor of Veterans Day, our members helped to build a memorial to the soldiers whose lives were lost during the Vietnam War.  Leading this effort and donating their time and skills, the carpenter team played a key role in erecting the Vietnam Wall replica at the Intrepid Museum.

The travelling memorial, a replica of the Vietnam Wall in Washington, D.C., arrived at Manhattan’s Intrepid Museum on November 7th and is now open and free to the public.  The three-quarter-scale replica stands 8-feet tall, 240-feet long and has the names of more than 58,000 Americans who died during the war or are listed as missing.

Members of the Carpenters Union, many of them Vietnam Veterans and apprentices who joined through the Helmets to Hardhats program, devoted two days to put together the wall, which will be on display at the Intrepid until November 20.

Thanks to all of our members who volunteered their time and skill in memory of those who served.

Court Conference Transcripts of November 7, 2011

THE COURT: So this I think is the date we scheduled the last time for an update as to where things stand. The issues that are typically on the table are elections, delegate and district council, perhaps we can hear about that; bylaws, I don't know if there's much to say about that; the CBA negotiations, probably something to say about that; restructuring perhaps and funds perhaps. But I guess the elections probably we'd start with and see where things are standing with that.

Local 157 President Faces Possible Veto

Nee faces possible veto.
On November 9, Review Office Dennis Walsh (RO) issued a "Notice of Possible Action" to Local 157 President Pat Nee and is considering vetoing his service as president of the local.

The facts and circumstances under review by the RO DOES NOT involve organized crime associations, violations of the District Council’s Job Referral Rules, giving false answer to questions posed by the RO or lavish and/or improper spending of union members money.

The suspected violation under review involves violations of procedure to Paragraph 5.b of the Stipulation and Order; to wit: President Nee "knowingly and willfully failed to provide notice" to the RO of routine "stipends paid to local union officers" (for executive board meetings) and stipends paid to "election committee members" (for committee duties) and failing to "seek required approval from the membership of Local 157, as well as expenditures for election notices mailed to the membership on September 9th and 14th."

Pursuant to procedures promulgated by the RO, Nee has until November 21, to respond to the notice and suspected violations. Nee was elected president of local 157 on June 22, 2011.

Engineers signal construction rise is coming

More than 60% of the 93 engineering firms in New York that responded to The American Council of Engineering Cos. survey said are optimistic or somewhat optimistic about prospects for 2012.

Twenty out of the Top 25 New York area engineering firms say they've added staff in the last year, and 15 of them have picked up new contracts, in a harbinger of happier times for building industry. 

By Rebecca Olles 

Things may be looking up soon for the construction industry. Engineering firms, widely seen as the bellwethers of the building industry, are showing gains in employment and in the number of their projects. The numbers posted by these outfits, which land contracts on new projects and begin the design work long before the construction industry breaks ground, are surprisingly good.

Out of the Top 25 firms on Crain's list of the New York area's largest engineering firms, no less than 20 reported increases in employment here from 2010 to 2011, and 15 reported an increase in the number of their projects here.

“I think engineering will see some uptick next year and this will translate into more construction projects much later in the year,” said Cyrus Izzo, co-president of No. 23-ranked Syska Hennessy Group Inc.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Labor Technical College Employment Opportunities

The Director of the Labor Technical College, reporting to the Executive Director of the New York District Council of Carpenters Benefits Funds is responsible for overseeing the operation of the Labor Technical College. He or she is responsible for ensuring that the school meets the requirements for training as established by the National Joint Carpenters Apprenticeship & Training Committee, the United States Department of Labor, the New York State Department of Labor Bureau of Apprenticeship, the New York City Department of Buildings, the New York State Department of Transportation and all other government agencies. The Director is also responsible for the oversight of the Grants Department to secure and administer funds received to be used to further the training of pre-apprentices, apprentices and journeymen.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Occupy Movement Inspires Unions to Embrace Bold Tactics

A recent demonstration outside Sotheby's auction house in Manhattan.

Organized labor’s early flirtation with Occupy Wall Street is starting to get serious.

Union leaders, who were initially cautious in embracing the Occupy movement, have in recent weeks showered the protesters with help — tents, air mattresses, propane heaters and tons of food. The protesters, for their part, have joined in union marches and picket lines across the nation. About 100 protesters from Occupy Wall Street are expected to join a Teamsters picket line at the Sotheby’s auction house in Manhattan on Wednesday night to back the union in a bitter contract fight.

Labor unions, marveling at how the protesters have fired up the public on traditional labor issues like income inequality, are also starting to embrace some of the bold tactics and social media skills of the Occupy movement.

Last Wednesday, a union transit worker and a retired Teamster were arrested for civil disobedience inside Sotheby’s after sneaking through the entrance to harangue those attending an auction — echoing the lunchtime ruckus that Occupy Wall Street protesters caused weeks earlier at two well-known Manhattan restaurants owned by Danny Meyer, a Sotheby’s board member.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Five Workers Injured in Brighton Beach Building Collapse


Five construction workers were rescued from a five-story apartment building under construction in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, that collapsed on Tuesday afternoon, trapping them beneath debris.

One worker was in critical condition and two were in serious condition, the Fire Department said.
There were no workers missing.

The building, at 2929 Brighton Fifth Street, near Neptune Avenue, fell just before 2:30 p.m.
A concrete worker on the site, Robert Approbato, 53, said the collapse happened immediately after concrete from his truck was pumped up onto the second and third floors of the building.

“Before you know it, it just collapsed,” said Mr. Approbato, whose truck read “Stillwell Ready Mix.” “It sounded like the second floor collapsed and the third floor followed.”

Dozens of firefighters swarmed the scene, digging frantically at the rubble. One man pulled from the debris on a stretcher around 3:10 p.m. was conscious and moving.

The critically injured man was taken to Lutheran Medical Center.

Winning West Side story

Nearly a full square block on the far West Side of Manhattan is being transformed into 1,200 units of housing that will be the largest new construction project in the borough under the city’s affordable-housing program, Mayor Bloomberg announced yesterday.

The $555 million project includes 682 apartments reserved for families earning between $32,720 and $134,970, as well as a new PS 51, replacing a smaller existing public school on the property.

Completion of the residential portion, including a 31-story tower, is scheduled for 2014. The project will create 2,900 desperately needed construction jobs. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said the four-acre property at 45th Street between 10th and 11th avenues had been condemned in 1975 and, luckily, was rezoned for residential use in 2005 after plans for a sound stage and studio complex were scrapped.

The Gotham Organization, the developer, is bracing for 5,000 to 10,000 applications once they become available next year. (visit source article

Monday, November 7, 2011

Subcontractor accused of underpaying union workers during job at Staten Island's New York Container Terminal

By Eddie DAnna

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- The subcontractor providing asbestos abatement services on a project to demolish buildings at New York Container Terminal in Mariners Harbor is accused of swindling union workers out of approximately $120,000 in benefits.

Richard Efferen, 53, a Bronx resident and the owner and operator of Atlas Engineering & Maintenance Co., was arrested this afternoon, after an investigation revealed he falsified payroll records and failed to pay the legally-required prevailing wages for 25 union workers, authorities say.

From January to July 2009, Efferen reported he was paying the wage to the workers.
While he did pay them their hourly rate, he pocketed approximately $120,000 that was supposed to be sent to the Mason Tenders District Council for benefits, authorities allege.

The prevalent wage consists of two components -- the hourly salary, which his paid directly to workers, and the component for fringe benefits to be remitted to the Mason Tenders.

The investigation was conducted by the Port Authority Inspector General, in conjunction with the office of District Attorney Daniel Donovan.

Efferen has been charged with second-degree grand larceny, and six counts of making a punishable false written statement.

He is expected to be arraigned in Stapleton Criminal Court this afternoon.

Infractions against Prevailing Wages Endure

by Marc Bussanich

Assemblyman Keith Wright, who represents District 70 in Harlem, told the audience of building trade union leaders and employers gathered for a meeting of the Prevailing Wage Council that “we have to make sure that the building trades is truly reflective of New York’s diversity.” He noted that when he walks the streets of his district, “where the unemployment of black men in low-income areas can be as high as 50 percent,” people walk up to him and tell him they need work. But the majority of faces listening to him from their seats were white.

Wright said the Prevailing Wage Council is the only forum that exists in the state for pay equity. New York is one of 32 states, according to the Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc., which feature a prevailing wage law for publicly-financed projects. The law, according to the city’s Comptroller’s Office, “requires that any company or organization that has a contract with a New York City government agency cannot pay less than the rate of pay set by the New York City Comptroller’s Office.”

For construction workers, the state’s Building and Construction Trades Council notes that “prevailing wage laws help to ensure a decent standard of living for union and non-union workers alike.”

Sunday, November 6, 2011

NYC District Council Election Update

Updated 11.07.11

Per the Election Rules, prepared and promulgated by Review Officer Dennis Walsh (RO), the New York City District Council of Carpenters will be holding an election forum at the Javits Center on Wednesday November 16, 2011 at 5:00 pm.

The Forum will start at 5 pm and is being professionally videotaped for viewing on the District Councils web site within 48 hours of the event. DVDs may also be made available.

The RO will be the moderator and will be posing questions. Candidates will be allowed opening and closing statements and also be able to pose questions to each other. The RO will likely take written questions from the audience.

On November 21, 2011, the American Arbitration Association will mail ballots to all eligible members of local unions affiliated with the District Council to vote for District Council Executive Secretary-Treasurer, President and Vice President. All ballots must be returned by mail to the AAA by 5:00 p.m. on December 15, 2011.

District Council delegates will vote for District Council Warden, Conductor and three Trustees by secret ballot at a meeting to be held at the District Council on December 15, 2011 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.

The AAA will tabulate the votes by December 17, 2011 and provide the results to the Review Officer for announcement and certification.

Candidates for Executive Secretary Treasurer are: Michael Bilello and Daniel J. Franco.

Candidates for President are: Greg Kelty, Paul Tyznar and Bill Lebo.

Candidates for Vice President are: Byron Schuler and Michael Cavanaugh.

A Message from Bill Lebo

I am a 26 year rank and file member who has a long history of fighting for membership rights! Brothers and sisters now is the time for all members to decide on change!

You have a voice, this is your union, be sure to use that voice when you get your ballot in the mail. Your ballots will be sent to you by the American Arbitration Association on November 21st so you should be receiving them shortly thereafter. Please use you’re your voice, when you get your ballot, be sure to fill it out properly and send it in right away, the ballots must be received by the Council by 5pm December 15th, so don’t let them sit around the house or they will get lost or forgotten and your voice will fall silent.

Friday, November 4, 2011

A Message From Greg Kelty



BACKGROUND: I am a veteran of the United States Army; I was Honorably Discharged under Honorable Conditions in 1978 at the rank of E-5. I earned an Associate in Arts degree from Mt San Antonio College in June of 1983. I earned a Bachelor in Science degree from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona in August of 1985. I have also held a NASD Series 6 securities license and an insurance license. I joined Local Union 257 in June of 1984. I am presently the Treasurer of Local Union 157. I have been a Certified Steward since the program was started in the 1990’s. My family has been involved in construction in NYC since the early 1900’s. I have five brothers and two nephews that are union carpenters.

Greg On The Issues

Overworked, underpaid Flatbush market workers sue and win big

Settlement nets Master Food employees $300,000 and a union contract

Workers at Flatbush supermarket Master Food.

BY Erin Durkin 

Workers at Flatbush supermarket Master Food. Workers at a Flatbush supermarket who charged they were illegally stiffed on their wages for years settled a lawsuit for $300,000 - and a union contract.

The 30 workers at Master Food on Church Ave. charged they worked 12 hour days, six or seven days a week, for as little as $3.93 an hour, and never got required overtime pay.

"It was a sad situation. We knew we weren't being paid what was right, but we needed to work," said Enoc Figueroa, 26, of Flatbush, who was helping support his mother, five brothers, and three nephews in Honduras. "I have my family that I have to support and with that amount of money it was difficult."

The workers sued earlier this year - and getting a union contract instead of just back pay to settle the suit represents a new tactic for unions and advocacy groups. It's the first deal reached in a campaign launched earlier this year to organize low-wage workers, which has been targeting several Brooklyn supermarkets.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Grievance Procedures

November 2, 2011

From: Matthew Walker, Director of Operations 

Please see below the New York City and Vicinity District Council of Carpenters Grievance Procedures. 

#1 – All pending grievances are to be entered into the computerized grievance system at which time a sequential number will be assigned. This assigned number will be used when referencing the grievances. 

#2 – When a grievance is filed the member filing the grievance will be given a stamped copy of the grievance received, which will include a sequential grievance number. This process will take place when the grievance is received at the District Council. 

#3 – To provide a fair and equitable system to all involved parties the Distrcit Council has established a Grievance Hearing Panel which consists of the Director of Grievances, the Director of Jurisdiction, and the Director of Operations. This panel will investigate and evaluate the grievance, and on standardized objective criteria, determine the course of action taken. A grievance investigation report will be completed by the District Council Representative that files the grievance on their behalf or that of another member. This report will document each phase of the grievance and provide the representative with a guide to gather pertinent information which the grievance panel will utilize to assist with the determination of the course of action to be taken in the process. Upon review of the report representatives may be asked to conduct further investigation or gather additional facts to successfully evaluate the grievance. 

#4 – When the grievance is determined to have merit the responsible parties will be contacted for a hearing with the Grievance Panel. 

#5 – At the conclusion of the hearing all information will be updated into the grievance computer system including status of case and received payments owed. The case will not be closed until all restitution is made. 

#6 – At the discretion of the hearing panel compliance letters will be issued if warranted to the responsible party and tracked in the system to identfy habitial offenders. 

#7-A person on whose behalf a grievance has been filed, may review contents of the District Council’s grievance file pertaining to that grievance by advance appointment made with the Director of Operations. No copies of any document in the grievance file shall be permitted to be made or provided. Provided further, that the District Council reserves the right to remove any document that in its sole determination contains privileged and/or confidential information. Such confidential or privileged documents shall be identified to the reviewing member by date, purpose or type of document, author, recipients, subject matter, and the reason for it being withheld from review by the member. 

Any questions or clarifications regarding this policy can be directed to the District Council, Dircetor of Grievances, Dan Walcott, Director of Jurisdiction, John Sheehy or Director of Operations , Matthew Walker.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Update: 2011 District Council Officer Election

On October 26, Candidates for the 2011 District Council Officer Election were asked to respond to four essay questions prepared by Review Officer Dennis Walsh.  In this post I am featuring the response of Michael Bilello and Daniel J. Franco candidates for Executive Secretary Treasurer.

Update: 2011 District Council Officer Election

On October 26, Candidates for the 2011 District Council Officer Election were asked to respond to four essay questions prepared by Review Officer Dennis Walsh.  In this post I am featuring the response of candidates for President, Vice President, Trustee, Conductor and Warden.

Click to enlarge.

NYCDC - New Hire Information

From NYCDCC:  The District Council would like to welcome a new representative, Paul DePalo, who came on board this Monday, October 31, 2011. Mr. DePalo will work out of the Business Representative Centers.

Construction Job Losses in 2013

Richard T. Anderson
by Neal Tepel

Overall New York City construction spending has remained stable over the past two years, after declining by double digit percentages in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, according to New York City Construction Outlook 2011-2013, an annual forecast and analysis prepared by the New York Building Congress.  The Building Congress anticipates continued stability in 2012 followed by a steep loss in jobs and spending in 2013.

Construction employment is forecast to average 106,900 jobs in 2011, down from 111,800 in 2010 and off 19 percent from its 2008 peak of 132,600.  However alarming job losses are predicted in 2013, when employment could total just 91,800 jobs.  “The current and forecast-ed employment numbers illustrate quite vividly the real life implications of the economic downturn on New York City and our industry,” said Building Congress President Richard T. Anderson.  “As bad as the job losses have been to date, 2013 could be a painful year for a lot of local families if our employment projections hold.”