Monday, March 5, 2012

Carpenter Contract Ratification Vote

Sample Ballot.
This week members of the New York City District Council Of Carpenters will be receiving an "Official Secret Ballot" and will get to vote on a series of five contracts for the first time in their union's history.

Sources say, a "neutral cover letter" will be included in the ballot mail out urging all members to read the contracts posted on the District Councils website.

Members will have approximately two weeks to study the contracts and consult with peers if they so desire before they cast their ballot and return it by mail NO LATER THAN 8:00 A.M., TUESDAY, MARCH 27, 2012.

Executive-Secretary Treasurer, Mike Bilello has schedule Town Hall meeting on the second floor of the Labor Technical College, 395 Hudson Street, on Tuesday, March 13th at 4:30 pm to address the members in attendance and answer questions regarding the contracts.

All of the agreements 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.

Only the floor coverers agreement contain a so-called market-recovery rate, which would give contractors a 20% discount on hotel and certain residential work.

Bilello campaigned vigorously against full mobility, however since being elected last year, and despite transparency claims, the new carpenter boss has been silent about the contracts and has not officially informed the membership about the ratification vote, the details of the contracts or taken a position on how members should vote, saying 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.

Meanwhile contractor members of the five associations are waging a campaign style effort to try to convince carpenters to vote yes on the five (5) year agreements.

Last month several large contractors either mailed or included a letter in the weekly pay envelope of all employees. The form letter says among other things, "Our company is strongly urging our valued employees to vote Yes to ratify the agreement."

Opponents argue that the membership has been granted the right to ratify the collective bargaining agreements. "The right to ratify the agreement includes the right to exercise an "informed" vote. An "informed" vote is one that takes place after reasonable time for the airing of opposing views and for the membership to hear and debate the pros and cons." In this case, the Bilello administration is doing none of this, said a carpenter who wish to remain anonymous .

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. A notice stating a town hall meeting is being held on March 13 in regards to informing & educating the members about contracts they will be voting on via mail in ballots-should have been received two weeks before the scheduled town hall meeting. What good is a town hall meeting if nobody knows it exists except the few that are in the loop. With out proper notice of the opportunity to be informed & educated the members will be voting on something they wont understand. The contractors did not miss the boat on a proper timeline to educate the contractors and company guys, they gave contractors letters to give to employees weeks ago telling them how to vote. Why are we always stuck in quicksand and half stepping everything that is important to us while the clock is ticking?????

  2. Thanks so much for taking me to!Contract Agreements

  3. Vote no on theses contractor friendly contracts any member that is OUT OF WORK FOR ANY PERIOD OF TIME AND VOTES YES TO THESE ANTI UNION MEMBER AND PRO CORPRATE CONTRACTS should have their head examined what did these owners do for you in the last 5 to 10 years NOTHING yet you are going to vote YES on a deal that is custom made for them and their company lackeys vote NO AND RESTART TALKS ON A NEW PRO UNION AND UNION MEMBER CONTRACT USING OUR NEWLY ELECTED OFFICIALS TO REEPRESENT US.

  4. One Contract, Once Wage & Benefit Rate for all. It is time to boilerplate all the Contracts and to simplify them them with standard language.

    If the District Council can claim all crafts, and all members can vote on every other members contracts - then why in the hell do you need 8-separate Contracts? Aside from it being a "Make Work Program" every contract cycle, it has zero benefit to the membership.

    It does keep people employed at the Council, who members need not pay for and it kills some more trees printing the varying contracts.

    Under the Current Model, technically you have 8-separate Unions under the Umbrella of the NYCDCC. Accordingly, their should be 8-separate Votes for each Individual Contract, as opposed to one.

    Why should a form worker, vote on a Carpet-layer's contract? Why should a dock-builder vote on a Dry-wallers contract.....and so on.

    The DC has too much redundancy and many positions which can and should be eliminated altogether. This can be done w/o firing anyone, just ridding the Council of ineffective positions. It's time to start over and to re-define exactly what it is that these Council Employees do on a daily basis.

    In the final analysis, one contract, one wage & benefit rate for all and simplified/boiler plated language will eliminate the wasted time, effort, money and salaries which are unjustified in this or any other economy.

    Then, maybe, just maybe - the District Council can become lean & mean and focus on getting results. Those who don't produce & who stand around all day at the council water cooler should get their last two checks - just the same as any man or woman in the field.

    The Forde, Thomassen, Greaney Gravy Train is over boys. Time to get shit done, time to hold people accountable. Time to retire those at the DC with the credits for their full pension. Once they have that, their motivation is gone & they are simply feeding at the trough, so time to bring in new blood and shake things up.

  5. National Labor Relations Act

    Congress enacted the National Labor Relations Act ("NLRA") in 1935 to protect the rights of employees and employers, to encourage collective bargaining, and to curtail certain private sector labor and management practices, which can harm the general welfare of workers, businesses and the U.S. economy.


    Also cited NLRA or the Act; 29 U.S.C. §§ 151-169

    [Title 29, Chapter 7, Subchapter II, United States Code]


    Section 1.[§151.] The denial by some employers of the right of employees to organize and the refusal by some employers to accept the procedure of collective bargaining lead to strikes and other forms of industrial strife or unrest, which have the intent or the necessary effect of burdening or obstructing commerce by (a) impairing the efficiency, safety, or operation of the instrumentalities of commerce; (b) occurring in the current of commerce; (c) materially affecting, restraining, or controlling the flow of raw materials or manufactured or processed goods from or into the channels of commerce, or the prices of such materials or goods in commerce; or (d) causing diminution of employment and wages in such volume as substantially to impair or disrupt the market for goods flowing from or into the channels of commerce.

    The inequality of bargaining power between employees who do not possess full freedom of association or actual liberty of contract and employers who are organized in the corporate or other forms of ownership association substantially burdens and affects the flow of commerce, and tends to aggravate recurrent business depressions, by depressing wage rates and the purchasing power of wage earners in industry and by preventing the stabilization of competitive wage rates and working conditions within and between industries.

    Experience has proved that protection by law of the right of employees to organize and bargain collectively safeguards commerce from injury, impairment, or interruption, and promotes the flow of commerce by removing certain recognized sources of industrial strife and unrest, by encouraging practices fundamental to the friendly adjustment of industrial disputes arising out of differences as to wages, hours, or other working conditions, and by restoring equality of bargaining power between employers and employees.

    Experience has further demonstrated that certain practices by some labor organizations, their officers, and members have the intent or the necessary effect of burdening or obstructing commerce by preventing the free flow of goods in such commerce through strikes and other forms of industrial unrest or through concerted activities which impair the interest of the public in the free flow of such commerce. The elimination of such practices is a necessary condition to the assurance of the rights herein guaranteed

    It is declared to be the policy of the United States to eliminate the causes of certain substantial obstructions to the free flow of commerce and to mitigate and eliminate these obstructions when they have occurred by encouraging the practice and procedure of collective bargaining and by protecting the exercise by workers of full freedom of association, self- organization, and designation of representatives of their own choosing, for the purpose of negotiating the terms and conditions of their employment or other mutual aid or protection.


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