Friday, July 20, 2012

MWA Arbitration Update

MWA claims damages of $59 million based on the Gilbert/Sheil's shady deal, a sum that exceeds the total assets of the District Council.

New York City District Council of Carpenters officers EST Michael Bilello, President Bill Lebo, Vice-President Michael Cavanaugh, Benefit Fund Trustee Paul Tyznar, and General Counsel James Murphy, were greeted by a group of angry rank and fliers outside the American Arbitration Association offices at 1633 Broadway yesterday morning as they appeared for a schedule 10:00 am hearing.

The rank and fliers, mostly Carpenter Millwork installers employed by Manufacturing Woodworking Association (MWA) contractors Rimi, Nordic, Midhattan, among others were there to send a message protesting MWA bosses unilateral cuts in their hourly fringe benefit rate from $38.88 to $10.94.

We reported that on May 3, 2012 the MWA won in arbitration a lawsuit it brought against the District Council, having to do with a shady deal made in 2009 by Dennis Sheil, (former disgraced Vice President of the corrupt Forde administration) with a company called Gilbert Displays, Inc,  (an out-of-association contractor) that sets the wage and benefit package for journeymen employees at a rate lower than that in the July 1, 2007 - June 30, 2012 agreement with the MWA.

The Arbitrator (Rosemary A. Townley) found in favor of the MWA's arbitration claim, that its "most favored nations" clause entitles MWA employers to receive the same terms granted by the Gilbert/Sheil shady deal.

Last month the MWA bosses used that decision to unilaterally cut the hourly fringe benefit rates to all shop and outside installers to $10.94.

One particularly aggrieved carpenter implored the Council leaders to tell the MWA to go F@*k themselves! But the legal approach was touted, as carpenter bosses dismissed calls for direct action against companies, citing fear of lawsuits.

Rank and fliers interviewed are frustrated and outraged at the cuts in their hourly benefits, as their lives and families lives have been thrown into chaos by the actions of the MWA and the disgusting lack of any official communication by District Council leadership. They expressed that President Lebo, appeared "out of touch and angry," as he express his primary concern over information regarding the MWA arbitration posted on this blog.

Apparently Lebo incorrectly believes transparency and informing the membership about this very serious situation "jeopardizes" the Council's position...It's Utter Madness!

District Council leaders did not invite any of the carpenters present to accompany them for observation of the hearing, or represent the rank-and-file, though it was within their power to do so.

Sources said, the MWA claimed its damages were $59 million based on the Gilbert/Sheil shady deal and that the Council submitted an undisclosed "cash offer" settlement amount to the MWA, with an expiration date of Monday July 23.

The Council will submit briefs (by September) disputing the MWA's damage calculation. One of the new Council lawyers raised the question of the impact of the Consent Decree and Stipulation and Order, which the arbitrator would like addressed in briefs, the source said.

Responding to an email request for comment, Review Officer Dennis Walsh said, "I had earlier in the day informed counsel for the MWA and the Union that if any award was issued in the range I have heard (14 to 59 million dollars) that I would make a 12.i motion under the Stipulation and Order to preserve the Council and protect the goals of the court orders from being impinged by this matter."

As usual, District Council executive officers did not respond to an email request for comment or issue any official statement to date regarding the MWA arbitration. Absolutely Disgraceful.



  2. Why position this as being the mean MWA companies when District Council is equally to blame?
    Membership should NOT be provoked to attack the MWA companies for what District Council did in making this deal.

  3. First Walsh says there is no documentation that either he or the UBC could find that authorizes the Shiel Deal. Then the last night he miraculaoulsy did have such authority. We smell a federal stink bomb having been ignited. A seasoned team of investigators combes the DC comes up with nada, then 13.999 Mil. walks out the door.


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