Thursday, August 23, 2012

Carpenter union's leaders OK contractors deal

A new contract with employers swaps easier hiring rules for union carpenters with a near-17% wage and bennies hike over five years.

By Daniel Massey

New York City District Council of Carpenters delegates voted overwhelmingly Wednesday night to approve a new five-year contract with a key industry association, a major step towards ending a protracted labor saga that has left the union's 25,000 members without a contract for 14 months.

The deal with the Association of Wall-Ceiling and Carpentry Industries, a collection of contractors that employs more than half of the union's members, passed by a vote of 60 to 23. Earlier this year, the union's rank-and-file members soundly rejected several contracts that had been negotiated by the union's previous leadership, but they will not be given the chance to ratify the deal this time around.

The agreement includes the controversial hiring clause known as "full mobility," which allows contractors to bypass the union out-of-work list and select any member of the District Council to work for them.

The current system compels contractors to hire at least one-third of their workers via union referrals, as per a court order.

Contractors have argued that full mobility will save them money by increasing productivity. But many union members have contend that it could kill important protections like seniority and could lead to corruption. They rejected the previous deals largely because they contained full mobility. The new executive secretary-treasurer of the union, Mike Bilello, argued against the hiring clause during his election campaign last year, but was forced to back the provision to forge a deal.

John Musumeci, a delegate who runs a blog about the union, said he voted against the deal because so many union members tell him they oppose full mobility. "Every rank-and-filer I come into contact with is overwhelmingly against full mobility because they feel they have no protections on the job site," Mr. Musumeci said. "You could be discriminated against because of age or how fast you work and be left with nowhere to go for employment."

Mr. Bilello said that delegates looked beyond the full mobility issue, "recognizing other attributes" in the agreement. He said one key provision could put 1,000 carpenters to work each year by forcing employers to hire a member of the district council for every carpenter they hire who is not a member. 

"This is a time when other trades have taken pay cuts or are looking at concessions," Mr. Bilello said. "We’ve gotten our members a good increase and the ability to put more of them to work.

John DeLollis, executive director of the contractors' association, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. He had told Crain's in the past that the uncertainty of not having a contract was making it difficult for contractors to run their businesses.

In exchange for conceding on the hiring clause, the carpenters will get an increase in their wage and benefit package of $2.13 an hour upon implementation of the deal, plus annual bumps of $2.40. The wage and benefit package will rise to $99.16 at the end of the deal, from a current level of $85.03, a nearly 17% raise.

The Wall-Ceiling deal is considered the benchmark contract for the carpenters union and should pave the way for agreements with other industry associations.

Because the full mobility clause represents a change to the hiring ratios mandated in a May 2009 federal court order, it will have to be approved by the court. The union's federal-appointed monitor, Dennis Walsh, and the U.S. Attorney's Office must also approve the deal.

Mr. Walsh has said that full mobility could work as long as it comes with vigorous enforcement that includes electronic scanning of union cards, video cameras and a team of investigators to ensure it does not lead to bribery demands or other forms of corruption. He did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The District Council has been plagued by corruption for years. In 1990, the federal government brought a racketeering suit against the union, beginning a two-decade period in which the organization has been under monitoring by U.S. officials. In 1994, the government entered into a consent decree with the union, and in 2010, a federal judge appointed Mr. Walsh to oversee the operations of the union and its benefit funds.

Last year, the union's previous leader, Michael Forde, was sentenced to 11 years in prison for accepting bribes from contractors. And earlier this year, Mr. Bilello, a longtime carpenter, took office, promising to root out corruption in the union.

(John's note: The contract has not been signed and may not be implemented without the RO's and the government's approval of the required compliance component before it is submitted to Judge Berman for consideration).



  2. Full Mobility negates the 67% - 33% Standing Order of Judge Haight dated May 26, 2009 and it cannot be negotiated away via an alleged Contract Negotiation btwn. the D.C. & the Wall & Ceiling Contractor Association - period.

    The D.C. Executives and their in house and outside counsel have failed the class on lessons learned ala Forde & Thomassen as directly related to the OWL & Referral List.

    The Standing Order of a sitting Federal Judge cannot be negotiated away via a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) for a new Contract. Moreover, the D.C., its Attorneys of record & Contractor Associations and their Attorneys of Record and the UBCJA International and their Attorneys of Record cannot do this without filing a formal legal motion & challenge to same and witout having the current sitting Judge, Richard M. Berman issue a ruling from the bench and in writing and on the record for all to hear & see. To date, this has not been done.

    This mindset that the District Council & a Contractor Associations can end run, negate, alter and amend a Federal Court Standing Order via a Restructuring Plan and/or letter writing campaign or via a CBA negotiation w/o filing the proper Motions before the Court undermines the inherent authority of the Court itself as well as that assumed under the Courts monitoring of the 1994 Consent Decree.

    In the interim, there is a deafening silence on this subject matter from the United States Attorney's Office.

    Every Delegate has a duty to bring this issue to light and to make the proper Motions at tomorrows meeting to table the Vote until the Wall & Ceiling and the UBCJA International (the two chief proponents) and their respective legal counsel submit this properly before Judge Berman. Without said submission's any & all votes cast are illegal!

    This is a classic case of the inmates running the asylum; and, it would be akin to an inmate (Forde) and a Probation Officer negotiating a new sentence for a convicted felon among themselves w/o the direct involvement of the court. It would be like Forde taking a vote at his lunch table to reduce his sentence to time served...all those in favor say aay?

    Now how far do you think he would get with a move like that? Time to use the bean....ole Douggie boy & Judge Conboy are using the new exec's to get to try & pass what they could not get over on Judge Berman. This is round 2.

    It is not the purview of the U.S.A.O or R.O. to inject themselves directly into contract negotiations for any new CBA and/or insist that terms & conditions voted down by the rank & file (Full Mobility, Magic Stewie Wand (scanners)) be inserted into any new contract and to then deny the members the right to ratify or reject it via a Secret Ballot vote. The USAO & RO are there to prevent & detect corruption, not to further it or to ignore the law in whole or in part.

    When the standing order for the 67% - 33% OWL-Referral procedure dated MAT 26, 2009 is ignored by the two parties with standing who are also members of the State Bar without formal submissions & briefs to the Court; well, Houston, we got a problem.

  3. The New York & Vicinity District Council of Carpenters, the "District Council" receives Federal funding for both Apprentice & Journeyman programs to ensure that woman, minorities & the so called aged (50+) are adequately & fairly represented.

    Many of said members noted above work "from the Hiring Hall" as their exclusive source of Employment.

    The Out of Work List (OOWL) & Referral Program for such rank & file members who rely wholly upon it as their only means to be placed on District Council jobsites came with a specific caveat, the being the 50% - 50% Rule, which was subsequently amended via formal Motion to the current 67% - 33% Rule upon a standing order of the honorale Judge Haight, dated May 26, 2009 (7-page ruling).

    The D.C. Officers & Executive Committee just committed a grave infractionof the Consent Decree by their unilateral implementation with a known & corrupt Contractor Association - the Wall & Ceiling folk. People seem to forget tha their last employer trustee/fiduciary Joe Oliveri was indicted, tried & convicted for perjury.

    Yet, these same people are not under investigation & review by the court, the R.O. or the United States Attorney's Office when they implement via a phony vote a uniquely discriminatory policy, which by its very design will eliminate the majority of work for the aformentioned parties described above.

    The fact is, the discrimination these folk will face is open, notorious & hostile to their interests and will negate them from the rolls of the District Council.

    Surely, this cannot stand.

    The rank & file working Carpenters are note to become a labor experiment for the Review Officer or the the U.S. Attorneys Office while they play game & take years to decide if their views & policies which mimick directly that which the UBCJA International & ex Judge Conboy could not get away with wihtout so much as a wimper from Federal Judge Richard M. Berman.

    Condoning discrimination of these members is abhorrent and just plain wrong. Ignoring the law while pushing this Contract is a disgrace.

    Affected members sould file for a temporary injunction and a permanent one once that issue is resolved.

  4. " I am Incorruptible"........I am Transparent.....I belief in rank and file ratification of all contracts" I will never sell out my union brothers,for less than 225,000 Dollars a year" "i am against full mobility" Whatever haunts me,i will use the crucifix of my salary to exorcize it,if that doesnt work,i'll ask McWilliams to organize support against it,And McGuiness to organize political support against my demons.But i will never,ever betray my agenda for pay increases ( for those UT members whose support made possible the end of the McGuire era and fool mob-ility),welcome to the new paradigm.I am IT. Thank you, thank you very much.Vote for me when i run (you) again into the ground.

  5. Union carpenters may have preferred job protection, but to employers it was poison. A subcontractor doing finish carpentry would have to pay $700/man/day, and get sheetrockers assigned by the hall to do finish carpenter work, a job for which they are incapable of performing. it was a very sick situation. One that in the end drives up construction costs, and reduces competition.

    Which brings us to the prevailing wage open shop destroyer, the PLA or Project Labor Agreement. That guarantees union halls have complete control over labor sites, shutting out non-union labor almost entirely. So many years were spent getting to prevailing wage laws, putting union and non-union companies on somewhat competitive ground, and now the PLA has destroyed that. What is the US District Attorney and federal monitor Walsh doing about that? Sleeping, and placating union membership, making public projects far more expensive than they were under prevailing wage laws before PLA's.

    Read more:

  6. A subcontractor doing finish carpentry would have to pay $700/man/day, and get sheetrockers assigned by the hall to do finish carpenter work, a job for which they are incapable of performing. >>>>>>>>>>>>So fix the problem w a tangible solution. RIGHT! THEY WOULDN'T ALLOW THE MEMBERSHIP OR THEMSELVES DO JUST THAT. Instead they threw the baby out w/the bath water. What utter nonesense you posted

  7. Mike Bilello has lost his chance of being of being a great labor leader and is just another shit in a long list of sellouts. Knowing Mike for years, I believed in his campaign platform + am truly baffled at his flipflop. The carpenters union will move on and I think, not for the better. Mike knew what a deathnail this would be for the carpenters who are old + beat up + still pulled the trigger on this deal. If Mike has any self respect left he will offer guys buyouts and allow them to leave without penalty + their dignity intack. I will never drink the nycdcc kool aid + pity all those that did.

  8. the RO is given final and binding decision (sec 6)page 13 except for collective bargaining contracts (sec 4(f)(1)b )page 7. Any person aggrieved by this decision has 30 days to seek relief by the court.(also sec 6)
    So the mobility haters have a shot of convincing the court this is not in the Unions best interest
    As for anyone else thrown under the bus by the 3 referral change to the OWL I dont see a (legal)leg for us to stand on Perhaps Mr Walsh will listen and let part time work like Trade Show which has its own list have its own separate 3 referrals.

  9. Sunday, May 31, 2009
    Judge Finds District Council in Contempt - Request System Abolished

    1. The District Council and Peter Thomassen, its president, are adjudge and held in contempt of this court for violating the 1994 Consent Decree by bargaining away the job referral rules.

    2. The current Request System, under which contractors have the unfettered right to "request" anyone they want from the out-of-work list, is abolished.

    3. Allow the contractor to select particular carpenters for a job up to but not in excess of 67 percent of the total carpenter work force. That percentage is made up of the contractor's 50 percent under the 50/50 Rule, and an additional 17 percent, representing one-third of, and to count against, the Union's 50 percent. The remaining 33 percent of the carpenter work force will be assigned by the Union from the OWL.

    4. Restore the six-month provision contained in Job Referral Rule 5(B), so that a contractor cannot request a carpenter and have that carpenter count against the Union's 50 percent unless that carpenter has been employed by that contractor during the previous six months. But under no circumstances may carpenters chosen under Rule 5(B) count against the 33 percent assigned by the Union directly from the OWL.

    This resolution is fair and equitable because it recognizes contractors' economic and competitive concerns by allowing them to select most of the carpenter work force on any particular project, while restoring the Out-of-Work List as a meaningful source of employment for carpenters seeking work.

    To read judge Haight's full order below.

    District Council Remedy Order-1(2)


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