Sunday, February 26, 2012

Contractors Urge Carpenters to Vote Yes on Contracts

Click to enlarge.
Contractor members of the Association of Wall-Ceiling and Carpentry Industries (WC&C) are waging a campaign style effort to try to convince carpenters to vote yes on a new five (5) year contract.

On February 24, Ronsco President, Lee R. Zaretzky, included a letter in the weekly pay envelope of all employees. The letter obtain by 157blospot says the "NYC District Council of Carpenters (Council) is submitting the collective bargaining agreement that was negotiated between the WC&C and the Council for ratification by vote of the rank and file members of the union."

"Our company is strongly urging our valued employees to vote Yes to ratify the agreement."

On January 10, a clerical gaffe by leaders of the national carpenters union forced Council Delegates to table a vote on several labor contracts that they had hoped to push through before a new braintrust is installed.

The Council, which has been run by its national parent since its chief was jailed following a 2009 racketeering scandal, has elected new leadership last year as it moves to regain its independence.

On February 8th, the new leadership and delegate body, in an historic vote, voted unanimously to allow the union's members to have final say on a series of five contracts negotiated with contractor associations.

In a Crains article posted on February 9th, the union's new executive secretary-treasurer, Mike Bilello said, "We decided that the best way to go forward was for rank-and-file ratification of the contract." “It's something I campaigned on. It's part of the transparency of the new district council, the desire for us to put control of the organization back in the hands of the membership."

The contracts contain a so-called market-recovery rate, which would give contractors a 20% discount on hotel and certain residential work. And they include a controversial “full mobility” provision that would to enable contractors to select any member of the union to work for them; the current system compels them to hire at least one-third of their workers via union referrals.

Bilello campaigned vigorously against full mobility, “I am against full mobility because I don't believe the union should give up control of the job site,” Bilello, wrote in a questionnaire posted on the District Council website.

“We've been in limbo,” said John DeLollis, executive director of the WC&C. “At least we're coming to a vote and we'll know where we are. It's very difficult to run a business when you don't know what it's going to cost the next year or the year after.”

Mr. DeLollis said he believed there was a 50-50 chance the contracts would pass. He said contractors would step up efforts to educate employees on the deals and why they should be approved.

In the letter to carpenters, Ronsco's president said, full mobility means "our hard working, valued employees will enjoy greater and more expanded work opportunities." Part of the this provision allows the Company to staff two person projects with Company employees, rather than one person from the Union's out of work referral list."

Despite transparency claims by Bilello, the new carpenter boss has been silent about the contracts and has not officially informed the membership about the ratification vote or taken a position on how members should vote. Bilello would not indicate whether he was in favor of the contract, telling Crains he did not want to “taint the process.”

As per the stipulation of a federally appointed monitor, the change to full mobility would be accompanied by the formation of a joint labor-management corporation that would assist in contract enforcement and investigate and redress violations through arbitration, fines, and other means.

That monitor, Dennis Walsh, said that full mobility is the centerpiece of the contracts, but that it would only work if accompanied by vigorous enforcement that includes electronic scanning of union cards, video cameras and a team of investigators.

The majority of carpenters who attend union meetings and rallies oppose full mobility and contend that it will kill important protections like seniority, could lead to discrimination, destroy the out of work list and say that the national union has pressed for the change because it will help it avoid the deluge of National Labor Relations Board charges filed by workers who challenge the union's role in hiring decisions.

Rank and filers are urging their colleagues to reject the agreements and have begun holding informational meetings, handing out flyers and started a website to educate members.



    1. Vote NO!!! ON THE CONTRACTS
      quarter-page flier to print and distribute:

  2. This is the same letter I received in my pay envelope this week from Component Assembly System....word for word!! VOTE NO AND TELL THEM TO PAY US WHAT WE DESERVE!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Oh please screw me harder boss I love you sooo much!!! Please vote NO to this contract.All of these contracts are JUNK BONDS just like the buisness reps at the DC.All you this is America you have rights i suggest you consider your liberty before you sell yourself short.Fuck you DOUG MCCARRON you are the anti-christ of organized labor please perish of cancer immediatley@!@!@!

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