Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Carpenters may be close to nailing contract

Union leadership votes expected after 14 months of back-and-forth between 25,000 carpenters and the contractors who hire them.

By Daniel Massey

A seemingly never-ending labor saga that has left 25,000 carpenters without a contract for the last 14 months could be nearing an end.

The executive board of the New York City District Council of Carpenters is expected to vote Wednesday on a contract proposal by the Association of Wall-Ceiling and Carpentry Industries, a collection of contractors that employs more than half of the union's members. If the union board OKs the deal, the agreement could be presented to the union's 100-member delegate body for approval as soon as Wednesday evening. It's not clear if the union's rank-and-file members will be given the chance to ratify the contract.

"We've made a proposal," said John DeLollis, executive director of the contractors' association, though he declined to offer specifics other than to say it includes a controversial clause that allows contractors to hire union members without official referrals from the carpenters union. "I'm hopeful it goes through, and we'll have a deal after 20 months of negotiations."

A spokesman for the District Council of Carpenters said that contract negotiations were "ongoing" and declined to comment further.

The workers' contracts expired June 30, 2011, and have been extended numerous times to allow for continued negotiations. The latest expiration date is Aug. 31. Tentative deals were reached at one point, but in March, union members soundly rejected contracts with four industry associations, including Wall-Ceiling, largely because they included the hiring clause, known in union circles as "full mobility."

Contractors have pushed for the provision, which would allow them to bypass the union out-of-work list and select any member of the District Council to work for them. The current system compels them to hire at least one-third of their workers via union referrals.

Contractors have argued that full mobility will save them money by increasing productivity. But union members contend that it will kill important protections like seniority.

The deals that were rejected by the union members were negotiated by the union's previous leadership. The new executive secretary-treasurer of the union, Mike Bilello, argued against full mobility during his election campaign last year but may be forced to back off that position to forge a deal.

A blog run by a union delegate reported that the head of the Wall-Ceiling association made a presentation to delegates in late July in which he said he would offer a wage and benefits bump of $13.13 per hour, or 15.4%, to around $90 an hour, over five years, in exchange for full mobility and several other provisions.

Those terms were rejected by the union's leadership, says Dennis Walsh, a federally appointed monitor who watches over the union. He said any deal that includes full mobility would likely have to include a monetary sweetener. "It boils down to money," Mr. Walsh said. "There's strong sentiment against full mobility, and if the money is not adequate, they're not going to get the 50.1% of the delegates to drop their objection."

Mr. Walsh called the Wall-Ceiling deal "the benchmark contract for the carpenters union" and suggested other deals could follow if that one is hammered out.

(John's note: This video was originally posted March 18, 2012.)


  1. Are the UT delegates seriously going to attempt a vote @ tomorrows delegate meeting. When do the members get the opportunity to deal w/their delegates regarding the contents of the agreements. Remember Judge Bermman assured there would be 14 days notification online for such " DEMOCRATIC" purposes.

  2. Where is hypocrite Lebo's outrage?

    It is disgusting that the rank and file and elected Delegates have to read about a contract deal and vote in Crain's.

    On January 31, 2012 at a Local 45 union meeting President Lebo singled me out by name as a security risk, alleged I was responsible for the January 10, Crain’s article, “In blow to contractors, gaffe stalls union vote,” and implied I was responsible for the threats of legal action against the District Council by contractor associations who were angry that they had to read about the tabling of the contract in Crain's.


  4. Hypocrite Lebo's words to Judge Berman.


    MR. LEBO: Good morning, your Honor. Bill Lebo, Local 45. Your Honor, the only thing I want to address here is the contract issues. Now, it's my understanding in the bylaws that it will take place -- it will take effect in January, sorry. The delegates, it states in there that the delegates have the -- they have the right to decide how the contracts will be ratified.

    Now, I know at my local meeting this past October I made a motion that our delegates, whoever was elected --because at the time the elections were just going on -- whoever was finally elected should stand up and let and tell the delegates present at this contract negotiation meeting that they feel or the local feels that the membership should have final ratification of the contracts and they should make that motion.

    The motion was passed at the local meeting, and it's going to be interesting to see what comes of this because in order to get a true consensus of what the membership wants -- I haven't heard anything today about notifying the members of what the negotiations came down to. We don't know what the final issues are.

    And, by rights, we should so that we can debate it on the floor and let our delegates know how we feel about it.

    Now, the delegates at this point if they were just given the issues wouldn't really know how the membership's true feelings were about it so to get a true consensus would be a ratification by the membership. And like I said, it should be interesting to find out if our delegates do go ahead with that because they do have that right in the bylaws.

  5. In response to a question posed by federal judge Richard M. Berman at the status conference on November 7, (see transcript link below)


    Review Officer, Dennis Walsh and counsel to the District Council, Brian Quinn submitted a letter on November 10 to judge Berman outlining the schedule for finalization of collective bargaining agreements, including publication of draft agreements to the membership.

    The District Council circulated the agreements to relevant contractors associations last week and the Council has ask contractors' associations to respond in writing by the close of business Monday, November 14, regarding any changes to the agreements.

    It is expected that final changes to the agreements will be made the week of November 14, allowing for the agreements to be posted on the District Councils website for review by the membership by Friday, November 18, 2011.

    A vote by the newly elected delegates to the District Council is expected to be scheduled for no shorter than two weeks later, or not before December 2, to facilitate review of the agreements by the membership as well as any comments the membership wishes to make to the delegates.

    Under this schedule, it is expected that the final vote on the agreements will take place the first full week of December.

  6. The rules have changed + I WANT A BUYOUT !

  7. Proposed Agreement Between the New York City District Council of Carpenters And the Association of Wall-Ceiling & Carpentry Industries of New York, Inc.

    Current Wage/Benefit Package $85.03
    Upon Implementation of New CBA +$2.13 = $87.16
    January 1, 2013
    (or 3 months after implementation) + 2.40 = $89.56
    July 1, 2013 +$2.40 = $91.96
    July 1, 2014 +$2.40 = $94.36
    July 1, 2015 +$2.40 = $96.76
    July 1, 2016 +$2.40 = $99.16

    There will be a supplemental wage increase from September 1, 2012 to December 31, 2012 in the amount of $0.35 per hour in order to allow the elimination of the half day holiday pay for Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve to take effect in the 2012 calendar year.

    If implementation of the new CBA occurs after September 1, 2012 the supplemental $0.35 increase will continue from implementation, until 4 months or 17 weeks has elapsed.

    Manning Provision- The first carpenter on the jobsite shall be the Foreman and may be selected by the Employer. The second carpenter shall be the shop steward referred by the Union. The remainder of the carpenters shall be selected by the Employer. Any employees not members of the NYCDCC shall be matched 1:1 from the NYCDCC Job Referral List.

    Two man jobs- For jobs only requiring two employees, the Employer will be permitted to work without a certified shop steward without a time limitation. Any employee who is not a member of the NYCDCC will be matched 1:1 from the NYCDCC Job Referral List. The Union will assign one of the two members with the duties of the shop steward. In the event of any violation of the two man rule, the contractor will lose this privilege for the remainder of the term of the contract. If there is a third employee dispatched by the NYCDCC Job Referral List, that employee shall be a certified steward and the steward will remain for the duration of that project. This is not to be used as a “head start.”

    Holidays- The last legal working days before Christmas Day and New Year’s Day are to become full day holidays. All work performed on these days to be paid at the double time rate.

    Shift Work- No premium on shiftwork provided the shift is a second shift starting immediately after the first shift.
    Off hour shift language to remain the same, however “starting no later than 8:30 p.m.” changed to “starting no later than 10 p.m.”

    Section 9(a) Agreement- both parties agree to enter into a Section 9(a) agreement upon demonstration by the NYCDCC of its majority status. The parties agree to utilize the services of a third party neutral (e.g., labor arbitrator or member of clergy) for this purpose.

    Dues Check-off- Employers agree to implement a dues check-off authorization system for the collection of working dues to be forwarded to the Union.

  8. 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 lesson 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 or 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.

    This mindset that the DC & 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 try & pass what they could not get over on Judge Berman. This is round 2.


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