Sunday, April 29, 2012

MEMORANDUM: Job Steward Alliance

Recent events in the New York City District Council contract negotiations have many members concerned about the future of their union and the negotiations that will affect their families.

Over the last few years our members have been watching drastic changes to benefits, working conditions and the diminishing quality of life of the New York City Carpenter.

With the economy taking the worst hit in our lifetimes, many corrupt unscrupulous developers have seen this a time to hit unions hard while we are down on one knee. Carpenters under a trusteeship from some who see New York as a cash cow, contractors see no one tending the store and a Federal Consent decree placing guard rails has set the environment over the last few years.

For the first time in the Carpenters union history, the current Delegate body unanimously voted the right to the base membership to ratify their contract. This extraordinary opportunity to have a voice in contract negotiations had lackluster results and took many by surprise. All members intrinsically feel they want to be part of this process and trust the Delegate body once again bestows this essential task to them. With proper notification and education scenarios, we feel the participation will be greater.

At the recent Job Steward Alliance meeting held on April 5th, 2012 a discussion on what they felt went wrong on the recent contracts and what they would like to see added to the next negotiation process was conducted.

The reaction to why the contract was voted down had many responses. The Full Mobility was the number one concern. Members felt this opened the doors to corruption, lack of safety, discrimination to minorities, older members and apprentices. They felt that they did not want to give total control over to the contactors and felt the union should rightfully represent them.

The short amount of time given for the ordinary carpenter to try to comprehend these intricate documents was also a concern. More time and the issues put into terms the ordinary carpenter could understand would not have intimidated so many brothers and sisters. Perhaps a few break out forums offered for those who where interested in attending could be considered.

The issues that the J.S.A. members strongly suggested be implemented into the new contract are:

  • No Full Mobility. Keep the current ratio, without requests.
  • No Favorite Nations Clause permitted.
  • All future PLA’s agreements voted on by the Delegate body.
  • The Forman first and the second member being the Job Steward, on all jobs.
  • No givebacks in the way of wages, allocated breaks and work conditions.
  • Against the concept of the Labor Management Corporation scenario.
  • Adopting Martin Luther King Day as a recognized holiday.
  • Implementing a three year contract for future incremental considerations.
  • Changing the language where pertinent, to “Job” Steward, not “Shop” Steward.
Members want to be part of their union and the J.S.A members feel these suggestions will begin to help them be empowered and perhaps participate more in their organization. We hope that the negotiation committee considers these voices and inject their contract wishes into the bargaining process. We are not asking unreasonable requests, only addressing the issues that have been ignored for too long because of corruption, member apathy and lack of real leadership.

We wish the new administration well, executive negotiating committee courage and hope the Delegate body truly listens to the call from the members of this great union.

Fraternally yours,
The Job Steward Alliance.



  2. Gee how wonderfully simple! first thing I've read on here in a while that makes sense.


I would ask that if you would like to leave a comment that you think of Local 157 Blogspot as your online meeting hall and that you wouldn’t say anything on this site that you wouldn’t, say at a union meeting. Constructive criticism is welcome, as we all benefit from such advice. Obnoxious comments are not welcome.