Thursday, June 28, 2012

Contract Negotiations Update

At last nights delegate body meeting EST Mike Bilello said he is continuing contract talks with our contractor associations and both sides have agreed to extend the terms and conditions of our previous contracts until July 31, 2012. The contracts expired June 30, 2011, but an “evergreen clause” keeps them in effect for one year.

Bilello said communication is ongoing and he remains opposed to "full mobility" and will continue negotiating to come up with a contract that works for both sides.

There is no strike or any other job action authorized at this time. In the event that a strike becomes necessary all Local Affiliates, District Representatives, Shop Stewards and Members will be notified. 

On March 27, rank and filers soundly rejected four contracts negotiated with contractor associations last year—a blow to contractors because the deals included a number of work-rule changes that they have long coveted.

The primary one was “full mobility” provision that would have that would to enable contractors to hire 100% of their workers, bypassing the councils out-of-work list, except for shop stewards.

The NYCDCC (Forde & Thomassen) were held in contempt of Court for violations of the out-of-work list. The standing order mandated by Federal Judge Haight, dated May 26, 2009 mandated a 67% - 33% Hiring Ratio from the councils out-of-work list.

Local 157 Officers Vetoed

Yesterday, Review Officer, (RO) Dennis Walsh vetoed Local 157 President Patrick Nee as president and delegate; Peter Corrigan as financial secretary and delegate; Levy Messinetti as recording secretary and delegate; Gauntlett Holness as trustee.

The conduct relates to the move of the local union to the first floor at 395 Hudson; attempts of fiduciaries to get paid for their involvement in the move without disclosure of (1) the job opportunity and (2) planned remuneration of fiduciaries to the membership (violating 29 USC Section 501) and failure to cooperate with the RO (Holness was not cited for failure to cooperate). The amount of time claimed in service on moving day (April 28th) was also found to be inaccurate. See Notice of Veto below.

Nee along with the other officers were elected last June running on the Workers Rights Slate, and sources say Nee will appeal the decision.

According to the UBC Constitution, Vice President Tommy McGonigle will assume the duties of President until an election is scheduled.

With over 10,000 members, Local 157 is the largest of 8 locals in the New York City District Council of Carpenters and the UBC, the local controls virtually all high-rise construction in Manhattan and in the Bronx.

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Gilbert Agreement and the MWA Arbitration Ruling = Pay-Cuts!

CONFIRMED - PAY-CUTS to ALL Shop and Carpenter Installers!

This just in, members are reporting...THATAll Manufacturing Woodworkers Association (MWA) signatory contractors have cut the benefit rate of shop employees, and outside installers, to $10.94.

Benefit Rate Per Hour.
Companies like, RIMI, Nordic, EMI, Miller-Blaker, Midhattan, Tobin Woodworking, Somerville, among others, have cut the benefit contribution rate for shop workers from the current $18.07 per hour and outside Carpenter installers, from the current $38.88 per hour to $10.94 per hour!

On May 13th, we reported the Manufacturing Woodworking Association (MWA) won in arbitration a lawsuit it brought against the District Council, having to do with a sweetheart deal made in 2009 by Dennis Sheils, (former disgraced Vice President of the corrupt Forde administration) with Gilbert Displays, an out-of-Association contractor.

For those of you who aren't up to speed, this means that all Carpenters installing millwork for the MWA, will now be paid $27.94 dollars less in benefits than doing the same work under other contracts, like the Wall-Ceiling, or BCA.

We are told the Contribution Break Down is as follows:
  • Pension Fund: $2.50 per hour, up to 40 hours. 
  • Hollow Metal Welfare Fund: $5.70 per hour, up to 40 hours. 
  • Vacation Fund: $2.61 per hour, up to 40 hours. 
  • Supplemental Fund $.04 per hour, up to 40 hours. 
  • Custom Woodworking Industry Fund: $.01 per hour, up to 40 hours.
  • Labor Management Fund $.08 per hour, up to 40 hours. 
Total employer contribution: $10.94 per hour, up to 40 hours.

(Note: under Hollow Metal, $26,000 medical expense cap, 1200 hours required before coverage eligibility may be established, hours are non transferable between Hollow Metal & District Council Welfare Funds.)

Contract Update: Full Mobility

Dear UBC Brothers and Sisters:

We all know that "Full Mobility" is a hot button issue in regards to our ongoing contract negotiations. A proposal or an amendment to the proposal on the table should be as follows if the contractors continue to insist that "full mobility is a non- negotiable issue."

Please note that this recommendation is a last ditch resort, this is intended to be a so called, "ace in the hole."

Proposal is as follows:

  1. The District Council will give the contractors full mobility 
  2. Full mobility will only be given to the contractor in the area of the home local of the project. 
  3. Contractors working on projects in the Borough of Queens can have full mobility using only members from Local 45. 
  4. Contractors working on projects in the Boroughs of Manhattan and the Bronx can have full mobility using only members from Local 157. 
  5. Contractors working on projects in the Borough of Staten Island can have full mobility using only members from Local 20. 
  6. Contractors working on projects in the Borough of Brooklyn can have full mobility using only members from Local 926.
  7. Shop Stewards will be assigned the same way, only Local 926 members can be a shop stewards in Local 926 jurisdiction, only Local 157 members can be shop stewards in Local 157 jurisdiction, only Local 20 members can be shop stewards in Local 20 jurisdiction, and only Local 45 members can be shop stewards in Local 45 jurisdiction.
Matching Issues: 
  1. If a contractor wants to employ a member for example from Local 45 in Local 157s jurisdiction that Local 45 member would have to be directly matched by a Local 157 member from the OWL on 1:1 basis. This would be the same process in all Local Unions jurisdiction throughout the New York City District Council of Carpenters. The individual working outside of his home Local Unions jurisdiction would be considered and "Out of Area Carpenter." 
  2. If a contractor wants to employ member for example from the Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters or any other United Brotherhood of Carpenters affiliate this member would have to be matched directly from the OWL on a 2:1 basis on any project throughout the New York City District Council of Carpenters affiliate Locals 45, 157. 20, and 926. This individual would be considered and " Out of Towner." 
  3. Also note that while working in the jurisdiction of the affiliates of the New York City District Council of Carpenters and "Out of Towner," may be receiving a higher rate into their fringe benefit package. For example in some areas neighboring the New York City District Council of Carpenters, a member may be receiving in there home Local or Council a $10.00/ hour contribution into their welfare aspect of their fringe benefits, while working in New York City District Council affiliates they will be receiving a $11.25/ hour contribution into their welfare aspect of their fringe benefits. The proposed would be that all excess funds $11.25 -$10.00, $1.25 would stay with the New York City District Council of Carpenters and serve as a "tax" for working on a project in the jurisdiction of one of the affiliates of the New York City District Council of Carpenters. Practice right now is that a check gets cut for the individual that is considered an " Out of Towner," working in New York City from the New York City District Council of Carpenters paying that difference $1.25/ hour back to that "Out of Towner." 
With the current state of the fund in the New York City District Council of Carpenters this would be a way to ensure that something stays with the New York City District Council of Carpenters Benefit Funds.

Your feedback is appreciated,
Concerned Members

(John's note: The following was presented at the last delegate body meeting).

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Message From The Fraternal Order of Woodworkers

The Fraternal Order of Woodworkers Special Called Meeting Thursday, June 28th, 2012. 

As we find ourselves in, what we hope, is the tail end of an economic debacle, District Council restructuring, extremely important contract relations and now the fallout of the Manufacturing Woodworking Association, many members are extremely concerned. The questions are many and the answers are few. Our membership deserves to be kept up to date on all the important changes that will affect their lives and families.

Our NYCDCC woodworkers have been helping to build New York with integrity, hard work and honor for many years. The shops and installers have been making a living and prospering on the hard work and dedication of the union woodworker in N.Y.C. We have been installing their products and also trying to make a living. It seems that at every opportunity to take away from these dedicated workers, they cut and complain they are losing their shirts. Meanwhile, the dedicated worker show up everyday and install the jobs at hand. We deserve more respect and a little appreciation for helping these companies to make their fortunes as we try to get by on less and less.

Woodworkers in New York City must stand together and be proud of the fine work that we do. They are talking about pay cuts and have already begun to cut benefit rates for our brothers and sisters in the shop. Don't think that if some of these unscrupulous contractors get what they want, it wont spread to the rest of the carpentry trade in NYC.We are all in this union and should pull all carpenters together and stand tall.

The Fraternal Order of Woodworkers are having a special called meeting on Thursday, June 28th, 2012. This meeting is open to all woodworkers in the NYC area and we urge you to participate in this informational gathering. If your livelihood depends on working in the shop or in the field installing, you need to come to this important meeting and join together with others that share in this common goal. All F.O.W. members are required to attend this meeting.

The meeting will be held at the NYCDCC Labor Technical College, 2nd, floor at 5:00 pm, June 28th, 2012. Please feel free to come down and ask questions with all fellow woodworkers in N.Y.C. There have been requests made to have some representatives from the Council to field questions and concerns you may have about our situation with the Manufactures Woodworking Association.

The NYCDCC is involved with many ongoing legal issues concerning the current MWA situation and cannot comment or advise us at this time. This is also why this gathering is so essential. We must show all concerned that the woodworkers in NYC stand united and will do what is necessary to keep our trade and union strong for future carpenters.

This is your union and your livelihood. Please come down and get involved with the important changes that will affect you and your families for the future.

Thank you,
The Fraternal Order of Woodworkers.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Blue Card Update: Vacation Check Received with No Deductions

Please be advised that, effective immediately, the deduction of union working dues and assessments payable to the District Council pursuant to authorization cards (commonly known as the "blue cards") is no longer in effect. Accordingly, union working dues and assessments will no longer be deducted from your Vacation Benefits.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

LU157 Delegate Election Results

From: Daniel J. Franco
(Note: The following preliminary results are subject to correction.)

Below are the names and ballot positions of the candidates that ran for LU157 Delegate. The election occurred at 395 Hudson St., 2nd Fl, Wednesday, June 20, 2012, between 6:30AM to 5:00PM.


1. Gerry Matthews - 83
2. Dan Franco - 91
3. Anthony Madaio - 43
4. Kenny Bluhm - 49
5. Chris Berlingo - 29


1. Mike Connor - 87
2. James P. Noonan - 78


1. John DeFalco - 213
2. Thomas J. Kineavy - 181
3. James Fisher - 218


1. Tommy McKeon - 152
2. Tommy Gaulrapp - 133
3. Robert F. Corrigan - 112

Members Eligible to Vote: 9999
Members that Voted: 507

Number of votes in descending order:

1. James Fisher - 218
2. John DeFalco - 213
3. Thomas J. Kineavy - 181
4. Tommy McKeon - 152
5. Tommy Gaulrapp - 133
6. Robert F Corrigan - 112
7. Dan Franco - 91
8. Mike Connor - 87
9. Gerry Matthews - 83
10. James P. Noonan - 78
11. Kenny Bluhm - 49
12. Anthony Madaio - 43
13. Chris Berlingo - 29

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Contract Update


The reality of the bleak future facing union labor in New York City unless labor- management cooperation wins out finally hit home with the ironworker’s union agreeing to an unprecedented wage and benefit rollback that is shaking up development in the city.

Reacting to the possible loss of lucrative work at Hudson Yards followed by the Tappan Zee Bridge, members of Metallic Lathers and Reinforcing Ironworkers Local 46 voted to cut their compensation and work-rule changes that could slash total project costs by a significant amount. It seems that the iron workers finally realized that the Tappan Zee Bridge could be rebuilt without them, saving the state money, and that Related Cos. is aggressively seeking cost savings at Hudson Yards that may result in their using a combination of union and nonunion workers. Those projects are typical; just part of the potential problems faced by union construction right now, right here in New York City.

Reported by Crain’s New York Business, Michael Locker, a construction industry expert who consults for Local 46, said, “When labor and management really want to put their heads together and solve problems, they can.”

I promise we are putting our heads together and using common sense to solve the problems of mobility and compensation that we face at WC&C. And I can assure that your representatives will succeed in negotiating contracts that will bring more profitable work to our contractor members.

Meanwhile, while our eyes have been on negotiations, our warm winter slipped by hardly noticed at all and spring has begun to feel like early summer. Safety now takes on a new dimension on hot construction projects and it behooves us to ensure our people on the job take proper measures to protect against heat prostration.

OSHA has kicked off a national outreach initiative to educate workers and their employers about the hazards of working outdoors in hot weather. The outreach effort builds on last year’s successful summer campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of too much sun and heat. For outdoor workers, ‘water, rest and shade’ are three words that can make the difference between life and death,” Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis said. “If employers take reasonable precautions, and look out for their workers, we can beat the heat.” This is an important issue. Vital as our labor/ management deliberations are, they pale in importance when measured against fatalities in the workplace. Let’s not forget safety on the job.

Executive Director
John DeLollis

Back to Square One

With a paltry 13% of eligible New York City District Council of Carpenter’s (NYCDCC) members voting, the voice of the UBC has been heard, rejecting a five year Collective Bargaining Agreement we began negotiating 18 months ago. Discouraged at the low turnout at the ballot box and not surprised of the outcome, we are back to square one.

Mobilization and compensation appear to be two major issues to overcome. Mobility affords the contractor to employ any NYCDCC member possessing the qualifications and skills for the tasks requested (ie: framing, sheetrocking, ACT Ceilings, millwork, etc.). Regulating mobility severely hampers the contractor’s ability to compete in the ever shrinking market share of union construction.

Compensation always becomes a spirited conversation during negotiations and I’m confident we can find some common ground to agree on. We have reopened negotiations, had a few meetings and are committed to finding common ground on an agreement before June 30th when the one year evergreen extension expires.

On the international front, we have been granted a sixty day extension on the AWCI International Agreement. One meeting was held in Washington on April 20th, 2012 and another is scheduled for June 7th, 2012. We have circulated a survey to our membership requesting feedback of the importance of the two man international agreement is to our association. I would like to thank you in advance for your feedback. Again I am confident we can find a common ground to finalize that agreement.

In closing I would like to thank Lee Zaretsky for his services on the AWCI Board of Directors. His three year term expires this coming fall. WCC Chairman Brian Gordon has gracefully accepted to fill the vacated seat. I look forward to working with Brian on the international level with our AWCI partners. Enjoy your summer.

Mike Weber

(John's note: Since elected leadership of the District Council has not officially informed the membership on the status of our contracts I thought you might enjoy an update from the Association of Wall-Ceiling & Carpentry Industries of New York, written in Off The Wall Spring 2012).

Monday, June 18, 2012

New Twist in 6-Year Fight With Developer: Union Rally Leads to Riot Charges


Outside a nonunion hotel construction site in Midtown Manhattan, a familiar scene unfolded last September: several hundred construction workers gathered to chant pro-union slogans.

To Robert James, an organizer for the laborers union, the rally seemed unremarkable.

That impression changed seven months later, when the Manhattan district attorney’s office notified Mr. James that he had been indicted on charges of coercion, inciting to riot and unlawful assembly. A second organizer was charged with assault, as well as riot and unlawful assembly.

The indictment of the two union organizers is the latest chapter in a six-year battle between the construction unions and a prolific hotel developer and his contractors over substandard wages. It has become a cause célèbre among labor leaders, in part because the presumed victim in the case, Cava Construction, is owned by a reputed member of the Genovese crime family, Carmine Della Cava. Mr. Della Cava, who was the driver for the boss of the Genovese crime organization in the mid-1980s, was convicted of a huge bid-rigging scheme in the 1990s.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Our Thoughts and Prayers are with You

Laura Jeanne Lebo
It is with deep regret that we announce the passing of Laura Jeanne Lebo, wife of District Council President Bill Lebo.

Laura Jeanne Lebo, 47, of Baldwin, NY passed away on June 14, 2012. Beloved wife of William. Loving mother of Tamara. Cherished daughter of Robert W. Madigan and Dolores Davis-Kahn. Dear sister of Robert W. Madigan Jr.

The District Council asks all members and employees to keep the Lebo family in their thoughts and prayers.

Arrangements are as follows:

Viewing hours will be on Saturday June 16, 2012 from 7PM to 9PM and Sunday June 17, 2012 from 2PM to 4PM and 7PM to 9PM at the Fullerton Funeral Home 769 Merrick Road in Baldwin, NY 11510

A Mass will be held on Monday June 18, 2012 at 9:45 AM at the Saint Christopher Church located at 11 Gale Ave in Baldwin, NY 11510.

Please feel free to post your online condolences for Bill and his family.

Fullerton Funeral Home added the video tribute Laura J. Lebo.

VOTE Joseph Passero for President Local Union 1556

Dear Brothers and Sisters of Local Union 1556

Change is in the air. You can feel it or ignore it at your very own personal peril. These last few years/months have been different from what we all usually expected. We have been merged, we have seen many people come and go and yet, some want things to remain the same.

Our deep and great history has shown us that dockbuilders, timberman, divers, tenders, hod hoist carpenter and core drillers are essentially conservative, but now, to try and conserve what we have is madness, because change is in the air. If we do not adapt to the new situations under which we must survive, then we will perish and become the new dinosaurs.

I am Joseph Passero, a proud diver/dockbuilder that has in the past sought and fought for what is right for the members. In my zeal to achieve our survival (in these very difficult times), some have chosen to marginalize me, minimize me and pray that I would just go away and melt into the background. But my determination to see a better local, transparent and loyal to its members has not been affected.

The majority of you, the members can see for yourself who are the people that have our local's interest at heart. Change is in the air and I ask you to join me in defining our future, our destiny without the shackles of those that have misled us all in the past. We can together forge a new direction which is accountable and transparent, that is responsible and trustworthy, that is real in these difficult times to our needs. I ask for your help because I am not, never have been, nor will ever be associated with the past "leaders" that have brought us all too where we are now.

I pledge before you now to run an administration that will carefully weigh the best interest of our membership. I pledge to secure our jurisdiction and make no concessions to those that would water down our rights and our prestige as craftsmen in our industry. I pledge to lead, with the input of every member and the consent of each and every one of you. I will update all of us as to progress or setbacks transparently. We are all in this together. I pledge zero tolerance for cronyism and favoritism. After all, the local belongs to all of us and should reflect this basic truth: that any leader or administration is acting in behalf of the intended beneficiaries of the local: this means you! And you are the most important part of this union as a member in good standing whose productivity contributes to the wellbeing of all our membership. In putting all of you as individuals first. We cannot fail, this is my pledge for a new direction.

I am asking for Your Support and Vote Joseph Passero for President of Local Union 1556 for a New Direction, not business as usual.

You can contact me about issues or concerns with our Local or the NYCDCC, my email address is my phone number is 646-456-6966.

Joseph Passero
Local Union 1556
UBC Certified Shop Steward

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Got jobs? New York City does

The city economy continued its remarkable run, adding 14,100 private-sector jobs in May, according to data released Thursday. But unemployment ticked up.

By Daniel Massey

The city economy continued its remarkable run of growth in May, adding 14,100 private-sector jobs and bringing total private-sector growth to 70,100 for the year, according to an analysis of state Department of Labor data released Thursday.

The unemployment rate ticked up slightly, to 9.7% from 9.5%, but that increase was because job growth did not keep pace with a jump in the city workforce, which expanded by 11,000 in May. The city netted 12,300 jobs last month after losses in the public sector, according to the analysis by real estate services firm Eastern Consolidated.

"A growing labor force shouldn't be a surprise when we keep coming out every month saying how strong job growth is," said James Brown, principal economist at the state Department of Labor. When the economy improves, the workforce typically expands as those discouraged from looking for jobs begin hunting again.

The city has added 7,800 more jobs in the first five months of the year than it did in all of 2011.

Despite the job growth, James Parrott, chief economist at the Fiscal Policy Institute, said that the recovery wasn’t reaching all New Yorkers. The average duration of unemployment in the city is now nearly 10 months, with 110,000 workers out of work for more than a year.

“When you factor in discouraged workers and those working part-time involuntarily, the city’s true unemployment rate is 16%—a crisis by any definition,” he said.

In the past year, most of the city's gains have come in leisure and hospitality and professional and business services. From May 2011 to May 2012, the city added 75,700 private-sector jobs, more than three-quarters of which have come in those two sectors.

"A lot of what drives the national numbers, we're not directly tied to," said Mr. Brown, citing auto manufacturing and export-related industries as examples. "We're more tied to business profits and tourism."

In May, professional and business services added 8,500 jobs, while leisure and hospitality posted a 3,800-job gain. Other industries that added jobs were real estate, which grew by 2,200 positions, and arts/entertainment/recreation, which gained 2,100. Defying recent layoff announcements, Wall Street added 1,500 jobs, bringing its total increase for the year to 3,400.

After two solid months, construction shed 3,600 jobs in May, the only industry with a significant loss. Barbara Byrne Denham, chief economist at real estate services firm Eastern Consolidated, said the loss is likely an aberration, as building permits are on the rise.

Since bottoming out in September 2009, the city has added 205,800 private-sector jobs, for a growth rate of 6.6%. The nation, meanwhile, has added 4.3 million private sector jobs, a 4% growth rate.

"New York City's economy continues to accelerate as the U.S. economy decelerates," Ms. Denham said.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Code of Ethics

In June 2012, The Delegate Body approved New York City and Vicinity District Council of Carpenters Code of Ethics

PREAMBLE A commitment to fair and ethical business practices is fundamental to the proper functioning of the New York City and Vicinity District Council of Carpenters (“District Council”). Our continued success will only be achieved if all officers, employees, and agents of the District Council and its Local Unions maintain the highest level of personal integrity and observe the highest standards of ethical conduct.

The Code of Ethics that follows sets forth the fundamental values of the District Council to help guide its officers, employees, and agents in their day-to-day decision making and conduct. The Code is intended to express the District Council’s absolute commitment to establishing and embedding a culture that values and expects integrity and ethical conduct from all of its representatives and from every individual and organization with whom the District Council conducts business.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Roll Back Corrupt Forde era Assessments

The following email was sent today to the Executives Officers of the New York City District Council of Carpenters.

EST, Michael Bilello
President, Bill Lebo
Vice President, Mike Cavanaugh 


I applaud your recent initiative to no longer collect Working Dues and Working Dues Assessments through Vacation Benefit deductions. This has been a great issue of contention with the membership for to long.

It is time we take the next bold step and roll back the corrupt Forde era imposed working dues assessment and $500 fine for picket duty, which from its inception has been construed by the membership as extortion.

As you know the membership is grossly over assessed. I urge you and the Audit committee to review all assessments and working dues and recommend to the delegate body an elimination of these gross over assessments.

We should be fiscally responsible and hold our spending budget to the 1% assessment and per capita tax collected from each local.

The membership lives within a strict budget, so should our District Council.

Plain and simply, These working dues increase was a money grab by the corrupt Forde administration, administered by a policy of fear and intimidation that has not benefited the membership one iota.

The membership never voted on these working dues and it is adding insult to injury and a slap in the face to every member of this Union to keep these assessments in place.

Acting fiscally responsible with members money should be our top priority.

Its time to cut spending across the board, cut membership assessments and create a realistic and meaningful financial climate that benefits our membership.

(John Musumeci is an elected Local 157 Delegate to the Council and creator/editor of

cc: Delegates
     Review Officer, Dennis Walsh

Retirees File Class Action Lawsuit

On May 23, 2012, Plaintiffs, by and through their attorney, The Law Office of Harvey S. Mars LLC, as and for their Complaint, allege as follows:


1. This is a class action pursuant to the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947. as amended, ("LMRA"), 29 USC § 185, et. seq. and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 ("ERISA"), 29 U.S.C, § 1001 et. seq. to enjoin the defendants, the New York City District Council of Carpenters Welfare Fund ("Welfare Fund" or "Carpenters Welfare Fund") from requiring contributions and co—payments from the plaintiffs and other similarly situated retired participants of the Welfare Fund. This action also seeks to enjoin the Council of Carpenters Welfare Fund and its Trustees and Executive Director from making any payments from the assets of the Welfare Fund to the New York City District Council of Carpenters (“District Council") and to require the Defendants to repay to the Welfare Fund all monies improperly transferred. Plaintiffs additionally seek the costs and attorney's fees incurred in prosecuting this action.

2. Effective June 1, 2012, the retiree class will all be required to make substantial payments for what were previously free health benefits and their participation in the health plan will be terminated unless such payments are made. There are approximately eight thousand retired carpenters in the class and an additional number of spouses and eligible dependents, and it is therefore impracticable to bring all of them and the other class members before the Court. There are questions of law and fact presented herein which are common to the entire class of persons; the named plaintiff`s’ claims are typical of those of the class; and the defendants have acted or refused to act on grounds identical in opposition to the interests of the entire class. The named plaintiffs will fairly and adequately protect the interests of the said class.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Assessments and Working Dues should be Voted on by the Membership!

(John's note: Local 157blogspot, has obtain a March 2, 2001 letter written from Brother Michael Bilello to GP McCarron, stating that the delegate body imposed assessments and working dues on the membership without a rank and file vote, which in Bilello's opinion, is a violation of the UBC Constitution and the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 (LMRDA).

March 2, 2001
Douglas J. McCarron, General President United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America
101 Constitution Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20001

Dear Sir and Brother,

I am a member of Local 157 in New York City, and I am writing to you in regard to the recent assessment imposed on the membership of the New York District Council of Carpenters. As you may know, on June 22, 2000, the delegates of the Council voted to levy a $.30 assessment on the membership for every hour worked, effective July 1, 2000. This assessment is debited from each member's vacation account, commencing in December, 2000, when the vacation monies for the period beginning July 1, 2000 were dispersed.

The $.30 is distributed to three newly created funds: $.20 is for an organizing fund, $.05 is for a communication fund, and $.05 is for a political action fund. While these millions of dollars in additional revenue for the Council, used for its proposed purpose, is not something that any good union member would be opposed to, the concern that I am writing to you about is one of a procedural problem.

The fact that the delegate body imposed this assessment on the membership without a rank and file vote, in my opinion, is a violation of the UBC Constitution (as Amended January 1996), and the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 (LMRDA).

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Blue Card Update: June Vacation Checks Delayed

Re: Important Notice Regarding Change in Payment of Working Dues and Working Dues Assessments 

Click to enlarge.

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

The District Council will no longer be collecting Working Dues and Working Dues Assessments through Vacation Benefit deductions under previously executed authorization cards (commonly known as the blue card). This change is effective immediately. As a result, you will be receiving your full Vacation Benefit without any deductions for payments due to the District Council.

The District Council is in the process of implementing dues check-off provisions that would allow for automatic paycheck deductions from weekly pay subject to your execution of a valid authorization form. Dues check-off provisions are a lawful, very common, and convenient way for members to pay union dues. In the meantime, we have implemented several ways for you to meet your financial obligations to the District Council. Those payment options, along with the amount due and the due date will be included with your vacation check.

It is extremely important to remember that, although the payment method is changing, there is no change in your financial obligations to the District Council. We urge you to act quickly in making your required payment to the District Council. We need to continue without interruption our efforts to rebuild our Union into a united fighting force against the many threats confronting the unionized construction industry in New York City.

(John's note: BLUE CARD BOY LIVES!)

Source: NYC District Council

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Judge rejects union on cranes


A Manhattan judge on Wednesday rebuffed the operating engineers' effort to block the city from implementing controversial new crane licensing requirements.

Judge Paul Wooten rejected a request by International Union of Operating Engineers Local 14-14B for a temporary restraining order preventing the rules from being put into effect. The rules were supposed to take effect in late May, but background checks and other paperwork mean it will be several months before any licenses under the new standards can be granted. The judge set a hearing for Aug. 8 on the union's lawsuit challenging the rules.

The operating engineers filed suit in state Supreme Court in Manhattan last month arguing that new crane licensing rules would "unlawfully dilute safety standards." The suit argued that the Department of Buildings exceeded its authority by eliminating legislatively mandated rules; that the new rules invalidly do away with the requirement that applicants for a license train in the city; and that a new national test does not take into consideration the city's unique urban density.

In the near term, the union had asked for a restraining order preventing the rules' implementation until the court decided the lawsuit.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Genovese operative Joseph Olivieri sent emails from prison in attempt to get union carpenters back under mob's control: report

Monitor Dennis Walsh says mobster regularly communicated with lawyer from Fort Dix lockup

Dennis Walsh, (r.) a  court-appointed monitor, says Genovese crime associate Joseph Olivieri said wise guy regularly
emailed lawyer in effort to funnel union carpenters into a new, mob-controlled union. 


A top Mafia operative used his email access from federal prison in an attempt get union carpenters - the city's biggest trade group - back under the mob's thumb, a new report reveals.

Joseph Olivieri, the Genovese crime family's liaison to the city's trade unions, was sentenced to 18 months in June 2011 for lying about mob infestation of the 20,000-member District Council of Carpenters.

In a report released Monday, Dennis Walsh, a court-appointed monitor overseeing the cleanup of the long-troubled union, found that Olivieri didn't let prison slow him down. Walsh subpoenaed months of Olivieri's emails from the minimum-security prison camp at Fort Dix, where Olivieri regularly communicated by email with lawyer Angelo Bisceglie in an effort to funnel union carpenters into a new, mob-controlled union.

The Bureau of Prisons says inmates do not have direct access to the Internet but communicate electronically to the outside world by submitting messages to prison officials for review.

Officials must approve of the inmate's contacts, and the text is perused to make sure it's not a threat to security or part of a continuing criminal conspiracy.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Report: Wage snafu adds billions to project costs

A Columbia University white paper charges that a misapplication of the law sets a prevailing wage at developments that don't require it. Critics disagree.


A new report charges that prevailing wages across New York are often set improperly, adding up to $3 billion a year to public infrastructure projects across the state.

A 45-page white paper by the Center for Urban Real Estate at Columbia University argues that prevailing wages in New York are miscalculated and urges reforms that would peg the rates to federally published data on average wages.

Under state law, prevailing wage is set at the rate in a union contract that covers at least 30% of the workers in a trade and locality. Yet the report contends that in many instances, prevailing wages are being set even when 30% of the workers are not covered by union agreements.

"The underlying premise of prevailing wage legislation is not a bad one—that if you're pouring government money into an area, then you need to be sure that money doesn't undermine the labor market," said Julia Vitullo-Martin, the report's author. "But almost surely, 30% is not met in a lot of cases because unionization in construction is on the decline."

Ms. Vitullo-Martin argues that data show construction unions represent considerably less than 30% of the construction workforce throughout the state, as well as in most, if not all, localities, including the city. She cites an analysis of federal stats by that shows 25.9% of construction workers statewide were covered by union contracts in 2011, while only 23.6% of construction workers in the New York City area were covered by such agreements.

Monday, June 4, 2012

The Fourth Interim Report of the Review Officer

Review Officer, Dennis Walsh has issued his Fourth Interim Report, the report contains numerous items of interest and is a must read for all members.

"No one should assume that because, at least for now, the District Council is free of organized crime influence and the members are finally governing their District Council, the Union can revert to the warm bath of old ways. The Union must move forward and continue to constantly analyze how to improve its operations and control costs."

It's all Related

Trio dominates development in NYC.

“IF THE CITY DOES WELL, WE ALL DO WELL,̶: said Related Cos. CEO Stephen Ross, depicted here with partners Jeff Blau (left, in illustration) and Bruce Beal Jr. (right).

By Daniel Massy

When Jeff Blau started at The Related Cos. in 1989, the first task Chief Executive Stephen Ross gave the 21-year-old was to buy up auto shops in Willets Point, Queens. Related built stores for Kmart, and the retailer wanted one in the area. Nothing came of it, but 23 years later, Related is about to gain control of Willets Point in a high-stakes gamble to salvage the city's most complicated real estate development project.

To understand why Related triumphed over three other bidders there is to understand why it has become the leading developer in a city notoriously difficult to build in: Related thrives on that complexity. It is better at navigating the obstacles—from bargaining with unions to compromising with city officials—and more willing to take risks than its rivals. It thinks in decades, not quarters.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Benefit Funds

NYC Construction Wages Increase, Jobs Decrease

Construction employment in New York City was 102,600 in the first quarter of 2012, a three percent decline from the same period a year ago and the lowest level of industry employment since the first quarter of 1999, according to a New York Building Congress analysis of New York State Department of Labor employment statistics.

The 102,600 construction jobs represent a 20 percent decline from the first quarter of 2008, which was a peak year for City construction activity.

New York City construction employment for all of 2011 averaged 111,500, down from 112,400 jobs in 2010; 120,700 jobs in 2009; and 131,800 jobs in 2008. According to its recent Construction Outlook Update, the Building Congress projects construction employment will increase to 120,800 this year.

Construction industry employment generally is lowest in the first quarter of each year because companies reduce employees on payroll during the winter months.

The heavy construction and civil engineering sector shed 2,600 jobs from the first quarter of 2011 to the first quarter of 2012, a 32 percent decline.

The specialty trades sector, which includes plumbers and electricians, lost 1,800 jobs during this time period. The building construction sector, however, saw a net gain of 1,300 jobs.

The average wages earned by construction workers continues to increase, however.

Construction workers in New York City earned an average of $51,000 in the first nine months of 2011, the latest period for which data are available, compared to $49,200 for the same period in 2010 and $48,600 during the first nine months of 2009.

Given that fourth quarter earnings are generally highest, due to year-end bonuses, it appears that annual earnings in 2012 will top $70,000 for the first time in New York City. Annual earnings reached $69,700 in 2010 and $69,300 in 2009.

"Government spending on infrastructure projects helped buoy the industry in the aftermath of the Great Recession. Thanks to ongoing City and State capital projects and the injection of federal stimulus money, infrastructure related jobs in heavy construction and civil engineering increased in 2009 and 2010 but are now declining," said New York Building Congress President Richard T. Anderson. "While this sector represents just five percent of the industry's employment, the year-to-year reduction in these jobs is a source of concern as it suggests that private sector firms are laying off workers as a result of decreased government spending.

"On a brighter note, we are encouraged by the uptick in employment for buildings workers, which suggests that private sector developers and institutions are beginning to invest once again in residential, commercial and institutional properties," Anderson added.

Source: Citybiz 

Friday, June 1, 2012

Benefit Changes

As we previously advised, the Trustees have been considering changes to the benefits available through the New York City District Council of Carpenters Welfare Fund ("Welfare Fund") in order to control costs and ensure the Welfare Fund's financial stability for the future. The Trustees recently adopted changes to the Welfare Fund that go into effect on June 1, 2012.