Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Free Speech Under Attack

"In New York it seems corruption in the form of members being intimidated into submission is at it's worst. Men and women are in fear of losing their jobs or of being brought up on bogus union charges."–– William S. Lebo, June 25, 1998

By Richard Dorrough

Much rumor has been flying around concerning potential charges against John Musumeci. John has not reported on this because he needs to maintain a working relationship with his attackers who for the record are Local 157 President Pat Nee and District Council President Bill Lebo.

It was reported on this blog, and I have confirmed with my own sources, that both parties threatened to bring John up on charges. Both were attempting to silence his free speech rights and intimidate him.

Now you have seen the true colors of this new regime that promised rank and file rights and then voted and did nothing to protect the rank and file from access to information in the member's gallery fiasco.

Why did President Lebo accepted the motion to bar members from attending delegate body meetings in the first place since it was out of order, as Walsh has confirmed by his veto, due to its bylaw violation and illegal attempt to amend those bylaws.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Seeking Accounting Firms

Request for Proposal

The NYC & Vicinity District Council of Carpenters is accepting proposals from CPA firms to provide audit (and tax) services for our Council in the future. Interested parties should submit a proposal to us by 5pm on February 10, 2012, for consideration. Response must be sent to:

Matthew Walker, Director of Operations New York City District Council of Carpenters 395 Hudson St., 9th Fl. New York, NY 10014 A description of our Council, the services needed, and other pertinent information follows:

Background of NYC & Vicinity District Council of Carpenters

The NYC & Vicinity District Council of Carpenters is a 501(c)(5) Labor Organization, with a related 501(c)(3) Charity Fund , 527 PAC Fund, and two 501(c)(2) title holding corporations. Annual revenues are between $27 million and $29 million per year, and the Council employs 90 people in 2 locations. The Council is membership-based and has approximately 25,000 members. The Council has a June 30 fiscal year-end, with a requirement to file an audited financial statement with the Executive Committee, the Council Delegate Body and general membership and an LM-2 with the Office of Labor Management Standards, Department of Labor by September 30 of each year in addition to applicable tax returns required by the Internal Revenue Service.

Construction starts plunged 31% last year

While the value of residential starts rose 24%, that rebound was more than outweighed by a 39% plunge on the nonresidential side. An industry official calls the trend line “very troubling.”

By Ali Elkin 

The value of construction starts in New York City fell 31% last year, largely as a result of a steep decline in nonresidential projects.

In value terms, the data showed $13.8 billion worth of construction projects began in New York in 2011, compared with $20 billion in 2010, according to a statement Monday from the New York Building Congress which cited figures from McGraw-Hill Construction Dodge. The figures cover starts on new buildings as well as restorations.

The only good news was that the value of residential construction starts jumped 24% in value last year. But that was swamped by the 39% plunge in the value of nonresidential starts.

Part of the overall downturn last year stemmed simply from the fact that starts were being compared to 2010, a year when an unusual number—by recent standards, anyway—of high big projects got underway. Seven of them were worth upwards of $500 million on a list headed by a big rehab of Madison Square Garden and the start of work at the Barclays Center in downtown Brooklyn. In 2011, there were only two projects that passed the benchmark, John F. Kennedy International Airport's Terminal 4 and the projects related to the No. 7 subway extension. Richard Anderson, president of the New York Building Congress, referred to 2010 in the press release as “year of the big-ticket construction project,” and said a fall off was understandable.

“Still, the 31% decline in New York City is very troubling,” Mr. Anderson said in the statement.

The data also showed a 35% decrease in public works construction not involving buildings, such as the creation of roads and bridges to $2.6 billion worth last year from $4 billion in 2010. Public building construction is down 54% from its 2008 peak.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Review Officer to Delegates: You're Vetoed!

Click to enlarge.
Vindicated, Review Officer Dennis Walsh vetoed a motion made at last Wednesday meeting of the Delegate Body to bar rank and file members from attending meetings of the Delegates.

In an article Delegates to Membership: Drop Dead, we reported that a majority of the 100-member delegate body voted to bar the rank and file as new council leadership stood silent and did not argued for or defend the rights of the rank-and-file to attend delegate meetings.

In a letter written today Walsh said, "I find that the motion and its adoption violate the Stipulation and Order and the Bylaws of the District Council."

"As the motion to henceforth bar members from attending delegate body meetings was ultra vires and would function as a de facto amendment of the Bylaws, pursuant to Paragraph 5.b.iii [c and e] of the Stipulation and Order."

Walsh also noted for the record that "rank and file members were in attendance during the entire meeting of January 25, 20l2, without any delegate objecting, and that no harm to the District Council or its affairs ensued."

"The new administration is off to a rocky start, first over 80 elected delegates oppose transparency measures, violate the Bylaws and act undemocratically, then elected council leadership threatens to file charges against John Musumeci, because they are uncomfortable with free speech and the speed of information posted on this blog."

"If this is a prelude of things to come, we were better off under UBC supervision," a rank and filer who wishes to remain anonymous said.

The very word "secrecy" is repugnant in a free and open society

Someone posted this excellent speech by JFK in the forum. The delegates who voted to bar the membership from delegate meetings, and the new District Council Leaders who sat silently while the rights of the rank-and-file were trampled on, should listen closely to the words of JFK.

The very word "secrecy" is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and to secret proceedings. We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweighed the dangers which are cited to justify it.

Even today, there is little value in opposing the threat of a closed society by imitating its arbitrary restrictions. Even today, there is little value in insuring the survival of our nation if our traditions do not survive with it.

And there is very grave danger that an announced need for increased security will be seized upon by those anxious to expand its meaning to the very limits of official censorship and concealment. That I do not intend to permit to the extent that it is in my control. And no official of my Administration, whether his rank is high or low, civilian or military, should interpret my words here tonight as an excuse to censor the news, to stifle dissent, to cover up our mistakes or to withhold from the press and the public the facts they deserve to know.

Twitter Added to 157 Blog

I just added Twitter to the Blog, so make sure you start following me at 157blogspot.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Delegates To Membership: Drop Dead

That was the clear message sent at last Wednesday delegate meeting when a majority of the 100-member delegate body voted to bar members from attending delegate body meetings.

Rank and filers in attendance were shocked by the action of the delegates and the silence of the newly elected council leaders as delegates voted to deny them access and transparency measures specifically written into the new District Council Bylaws.

"This is outrageous, two weeks into the new administration and we are being shown the door, its back to business as usual," said an angry rank and filer.

"Neither Lebo, nor Bilello, argued for or defended the rights of the rank-and-file to attend delegate meetings, nor did they act in anyway consistent to their platform of "members rights and democracy" which they were elected on."

"Furthermore, by denying member-rights and democracy, the authoritarian BOSS regime Bilello/Lebo has actually given ammunition to Amalgamated, by substantiating claims the UBC is undemocratic and abusive and no improvement therein will occur under the new District Council administration," a member posted.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

NYCDC - New Hire Information

The District Council would like to welcome a new representative, Bob Joule, Local 1556, who came on board on Thursday, January 19, 2012. Mr. Joule will work out of the Business Representative Centers.

Monday, January 23, 2012

From The RO: Proposed Local 157 Appointments

This is in response to your undated letter sent to me via email on January 15, 2012, purporting to appoint an “Executive Committee Delegate pro tem” and two persons as “Delegates pro tem” to “fill vacancies in office until an election is held.


The District Council has scheduled a Delegate meeting for Wednesday January 25, 2012 @ 6PM in the Labor Technical College 2nd floor common room.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Leaders Uncomfortable with Speed of Free Speech

More than 2600 websites are blocked in the People's Republic of China under the country's policy of Internet censorship.

The dictators ban such sites as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, because the dictators know it is a powerful tool to spread information and it’s packed with democratic power.

With Blogs called microblogs, or weibo in China, the government launched its strongest official measure yet to quell electronic expressions of discontent that threatens to undermine its leaders' firm hold on power.

In the name of defending Chinese cyberspace against "harmful information," the Beijing city government require users who post microblogs to register their real names with the microblogging services—to be verified by government authorities—sweeping away the anonymity that has helped cloak dissidents online.

Even more vexing for officials has been the speed with which information can spread on microblogs.

And the same holds true with some UBC officials. Leaders are nervous and uncomfortable with the quantity and speed of information posted on this blog, they are accustomed to a monopoly of access to the membership and control of information.

Seeing a threat, their instinctive reaction is to attempt to silence by threating to file internal union charges claiming among other things, information posted is "confidential" information about UBC "business" and that by distributing ("or leaking") such "harmful information" to the general public, including employers and media, members have violated the oath (page 91) of membership, acted contrary to his/her responsibility to the UBC, and interfered with the union's performance of its legal or contractual obligations.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Local 157 Meeting Notice


Click to enlarge.
Before you even think about joining another union to represent you READ THIS!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Employment Opportunity: Labor Technical College


The New York City District Council Labor Technical College is seeking an individual for the newly created position of College and Mentor Program Coordinator.

This position will have a diverse set of responsibilities which will all come together to provide comprehensive coordination of training for our apprentices The coordination, growth and expansion of our college program will be a major responsibility of this position. In addition, the creation and maintenance of an apprenticeship wide mentoring program is a goal and responsibility that will be a priority. The Coordinator will be responsible for developing, planning and implementing a mentorship program for apprentices which will involve the journey level members as mentors. To aid in the consistency and thorough indoctrination of the apprentices, the Coordinator will also be primarily responsible for scheduling the approximately six week orientation process that all applicants must go through until the acceptance into the program is completed. This will include the scheduling of the names to be selected, sending letters of notification, scheduling of the orientation sessions, processing of the applications, scheduling interview appointments and tracking and scheduling the drug testing and math test. After the final acceptance of the apprentices, the Coordinator will be responsible for routing them to various locals and releasing the apprentices to the Job Referral List. In addition, the interviewing process will be developed by the Coordinator in conjunction with the Director to include employers from our signatory associations.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Related's new contractor shakes up construction industry

Hiring an outsider to build up Hudson Yards increases competition, which drives down costs.

By Daniel Massey

Deeply dissatisfied with the two dozen agreements negotiated over the summer between unions and contractors, and desperate to bring down the costs of its massive Hudson Yards project, the Related Cos. has made a move certain to shake the foundation of the city's construction industry.

The powerhouse developer last week brought construction giant Tutor Perini Corp. in from California to be the contractor on its $4 billion, 15-year Hudson Yards undertaking, Crain's has learned.

The key to Related's decision: Tutor Perini owns various subcontractors and can do a wide array of construction work—including excavation, concrete forming and placement, steel erection, electrical and mechanical services and plumbing—on its own. By bringing a new player into a notoriously closed-off market, Related increases competition, which should lower prices.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

NYCDC - New Hire Information

Bill Lebo
157 blogspot would like to welcome new "Assistant to the EST," Bill Lebo. Bill is a 26 year member of Local Union 45 and elected President of the District Council. Bill started in construction working for a roofer in 1977. From 1980 to 1985 he worked as a house framer on Long Island. In 1985 he joined the union and became an active member of Local 348. Bill has worked as a foreman for three companies, but prefers to work as a shop steward protecting work jurisdictions and the members.

Bill will report directly to the EST and among other things will be responsible for, "management and supervision of all field activities, supervise/coordinate representatives centers, restructure representatives system and training."

At last Wednesday's delegate meeting EST Mike Bilello made a motion and exercised his authority under Section 10 (N) of the NYCDC Bylaws and created the new full time council employee position at an annual salary of $185,000.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

New Council Officers Sworn In

The new officers of the District Council were sworn in today at a ceremony at the District Council Labor Technical College. After 884 days, 19 hours, and 18 minutes the "emergency supervision" imposed over the New York City District Council Of Carpenters has finally ended.

Chairman John Ballantyne (left) administers the oath to new council leaders, (left to right)  EST Mike Bilello, President Bill Lebo and Vice President Michael Cavanaugh 

District Council Officers:  Executive Secretary-Treasurer - Michael Bilello,  President – Bill Lebo,  Vice President – Michael Cavanaugh,  Trustee – Joseph Nina, Turlough Noone, Sean Doonan,  Warden – Phil Fiorentino,  Conductor – Scott Belford.

Executive Committee Members:  Local 20 – Christopher Wallace,  Local 45 – Paul Tyznar,  Local 157 – Vacant,  Local 926 – Vacant,  Local 1556 – Adam Harkin,  Local 2287 – Ray Harvey ,Local 2790 – Robert Villalta.

Negotiating Advisory Committee Members:  Local 20 – Christopher Wallace,  Local 45 – Paul Tyznar,  Local 157 – Vacant,  Local 926 – Vacant,  Local 1556 – Adam Harkin,  Local 2287 – Ray Harvey , Local 2790 – Robert Villalta, Local 926 Sal Tagliaferro, Local 740 Dan Walcott, Local 157 Paul Capurso.

Union Benefit Fund Trustees: Michael Bilello, Bill Lebo, Michael Cavanaugh, Paul Tyznar, John sheehy, Paul Capurso.

Delegates to the District Council and Executive Committee Member

Local 20

Glenn Arnold
Larry Cirillo
Peter Malandro

Executive Committee Member—Christopher Wallace

Local 45

Martin Flash
Wayne Gibbs
Michael Rodin
Daniel Sessa
James Shea
Eric Tyznar
Jarrett Weinrich
Phil Fiorentino*

Executive Committee Member—Paul Tyznar

Local 157

Michael William Belingo
Gerard Bruen
Paul Capurso
Edward Carey
John Carty
Guy Collins
Joseph Connelly
Kevin Corrigan
Vincent Delessio
Michael Donnelly
Daniel Dore
Kevin Egan
Joseph Faith
Phillip Ficarra
Sean Anthony Firth
James Fisher
Donald Foley
Christopher Grogan
Glenn Hatcher
Gauntlett Holness
William Lacey
Gregory Kelty
Cory Kennedy
Thomas Kineavy
Martin Lydon
Martin Maguire
Kevin McCabe
John McCarthy
Thomas McGonnigle
Graham McHugh
Steven McInnis
William McKenna
Thomas McKeon
Ed McWilliams
John Moloney
John Musumeci
Joseph Nina
Noone Turlough
Louis Norelli
John Sheehy
Mitchell Sonntag
Elly Spicer
Steven Spinelli
Vincent Spinelli
Bill Walsh

Executive Committee Member—John Daly

Local 740

John Cavanaugh
Michael Cavanaugh
Frank Ippolitti
John Montgomery
Daniel Walcott

Executive Committee Member—

Local 926

Sal Tagliaferro
Joseph Albanese
Joseph DiNapoli
Daniel Dunbar
Hayden Peters
Robert Alvarez
Nicholas Tavernite
Maurice Williams
Louis M. Simancas

Executive Committee Member—

Local 1556

Joseph Geiger
Christopher Parzych
Thomas King
Dennis Olenick
Dominick Barressi
Peter Rice
Craig Johnsen
Brian McLaughlin
Charles Lucas Jr.
Robert Joule
Michael Hughes
Thomas Russell
Thomas Bender
William Vega

Executive Committee Member—Sean Hughes

Local 2287

Scott Belford
Barry Berman
Kevin Fleming
John Walz Jr
Robert Fogarile

Executive Committee Member—Raymond Harvey

Local 2790

James Ellis
Giancarlo Rachiele
Walter Clayton, Jr.
Andrew Mucaria
William Peters
Ralph Vincenty
Rafael Pena
Alex Rosales
James Smith
Pedro Sanchez
William Lawston

Executive Committee Member—Robert Villalta

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

In blow to contractors, gaffe stalls union vote

Rank-and-file carpenters seeking to kill agreements negotiated by national union leaders benefited from a clerical error. The real losers may be contractors.

By Daniel Massey

Delegates being informed about the gaffe.
A clerical gaffe by leaders of the national carpenters union forced them to table a vote on several labor contracts that they had hoped to push through before a new braintrust is installed on Wednesday at the 25,000-member District Council of Carpenters.

The error casts doubt on the future of contracts negotiated between the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America and five contractor associations. It also raises the possibility that the agreements might have to be renegotiated once the District Council's new leaders come to power. Additionally, it rendered moot a lawsuit filed Friday by rank-and-file carpenters who sought to delay a vote on the deals until the new administration was installed.

The hitch came Tuesday as a result of a federal judge's ruling that the deals had to be posted online for union members to view two weeks before the vote. At a meeting Tuesday afternoon, the union's incoming executive secretary-treasurer, Michael Bilello, made a motion for the vote to be tabled because important provisions of two of the contracts were not posted. Details of a so-called market-recovery rate, which would give contractors a 20% discount on hotel and certain residential work, were not included on the website.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Carpenters sue to block contract vote

Agreements negotiated by departing national leaders of the District Council of Carpenters are headed for a vote. In a blow to builders, who support the deals, a lawsuit filed Friday seeks to stop the process. 

By Daniel Massey

Rank-and-file carpenters filed suit Friday to block a vote on collective bargaining agreements that the union's national bosses hope to get approved before new local leadership takes power Wednesday.

Union members are also expected to hold two days of rallies beginning Monday afternoon to voice their displeasure with the national leadership's effort to fast-track ratification of the new deals. Votes by delegates on contracts reached with about a half dozen contractor associations are scheduled for Tuesday.

As of mid-Tuesday afternoon, a hearing on the suit in federal court had yet to be scheduled.

“The rank and file haven't had an adequate opportunity to be informed about the content of these agreements,” said Demian Schroeder, one three carpenters who are plaintiffs in the suit.



Rally Permit 


New York – Today rank and file union members have filed a Motion for a Restraining Order to prohibit a forced vote on binding Collective Bargaining Agreements. Federal Judge Richard M. Berman will hear an argument from attorneys representing these members concerning the attempt by union bosses to force this vote and thereby violate the due process rights of the rank and file members. Such due process rights are guaranteed under the National Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act, United Brotherhood of Carpenters Constitution, and NYC District Council By-Laws. Simultaneously, hundreds of rank and file members will be rallying in support of their “last stand” against a corporate takeover of their union.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Important Delegate Meeting


From: Matthew Walker, Director of Operations

Please be advised, all Delegates are requested to attend a meeting that will be held on January 9th and 10th at 7:00 a.m. on the 10th floor of the District Council. These meetings are being held to review and discuss the proposed posted Collective Bargaining Agreements. At the conclusion of the January 10th meeting a vote will be called for the ratification of each contract.

Please inform all Local Delegates.

This notice has been faxed to all Local Union offices as well as being posted on the District Council website.

White House announces recess appointments of three to fill Board vacancies

President Obama today announced his intent to recess appoint the following three individuals to serve as Members of the National Labor Relations Board.

Sharon Block, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Congressional Affairs at the U.S. Department of Labor. Between 2006 and 2009, Ms. Block was Senior Labor and Employment Counsel for the Senate HELP Committee, where she worked for Senator Edward M. Kennedy. Ms. Block previously served at the National Labor Relations Board as senior attorney to Chairman Robert Battista from 2003 to 2006 and as an attorney in the appellate court branch from 1996 to 2003. From 1994 to 1996, she was Assistant General Counsel at the National Endowment for the Humanities, and from 1991 to 1993, she was an associate at Steptoe & Johnson. She received a B.A. in History from Columbia University and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center where she received the John F. Kennedy Labor Law Award.

Seeking Counsel (Attorneys/Firms)

The New York City District Council of Carpenters employs some 100 persons in office and field positions and represents over 20,000 members of eight affiliated local unions in multiple jurisdictions of the construction trade in the five boroughs of New York and beyond.

It seeks to retain counsel in each of the following areas: (i) general labor counsel; (ii) litigation and arbitration counsel; and (iii) employment counsel.

Interested attorneys and firms should send the Union a detailed proposal covering a specific area which details the experience and credentials of those who would provide the specific services, rates, and states the firm’s philosophy of representation. An attorney or firm may send a proposal for more than one area.

All proposals should be sent by January 16, 2012, to Matthew Walker, Director of Operations, New York City District Council of Carpenters, 395 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

For construction companies, business is looking down

Firms seek union concessions as work dwindles.

By Geoffrey Decker

In a recent television appearance, the chief executive of one of New York City's oldest and most important construction and development companies was asked to assess his firm's prospects over the next few years. Dan Tishman was far from bullish.

“We can't compete in the marketplace,” the CEO of Tishman Construction Corp. told the hosts of CNBC's Squawk Box. “We've got to find a way to bring the unionized construction platform in New York back into some level of [nonunion] competitions.”

What made Mr. Tishman's comments so significant was that they came only weeks after developers, contractors and trade union leaders completed a highly anticipated round of negotiations for 23 contracts designed to address precisely the issues that Mr. Tishman raised. It is clear that despite some concessions, the unionized construction industry faces continued uncertainty as nonunion contractors erode its position.

The stakes for the city's economy could not be higher. Construction has declined by 12% from its 2007 peak of $31 billion, with the Building Congress estimating work at $27.7 billion for 2011. The drop would be more severe were it not for public infrastructure spending filling part of the gap of private work, which plunged to $2.2 billion in 2011 from $6.3 billion in 2008. In all, the number of construction jobs has declined by about 25,000 since then.