Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Carpenters Nail New Agreement

Delegate meeting, members gallery sits behind caution tape.
Delegates Approve New Contract— 60 to 23

A seemingly never-ending labor saga that has left 25,000 carpenters without a contract for the last 14 months has finally ended.

At tonight's Delegate Body meeting, the executive committee of the New York City District Council of Carpenters recommended a contract proposal by the Association of Wall-Ceiling and Carpentry Industries, that inculdes "Full Mobility," a controversial clause that allows contractors to hire union members without official referrals from 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.

The agreement was presented to the union's 100-member delegate body for approval by roll-call vote and passed 60 to 23 in favor of the contract.

The carpenters' contracts expired June 30, 2011, and have been extended numerous times to allow for continued negotiations. 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, "full mobility."

Contractors have pushed for the provision, which would allow them to bypass the out-of-work list and select any member of the District Council to work for them.

Contractors have argued that full mobility will save them money by increasing productivity. But union members contend that its bad for the rank and file.

Local 45 member, Demian Schroeder, said: “By giving the contractors 100% control over hiring, and no work-referral system, carpenters would be less likely to make complaints about noncompliance with the contract, labor law violations and safety violations."

Rally handout, click to enlarge.
Rank and file carpenters are holding a rally on August 23, at Council headquarters protesting the new contract and full mobility (see rally handout).

Executive Secretary-Treasurer, Mike Bilello, argued against full mobility during his election campaign last year and for the past eight months, but has now back off that position to forge a new deal.

Bilello nor the executive committee gave support for union's rank-and-file members to ratify the contract as they did last February.

This contract is a "good deal that will benefit our members and the Union."  "We need to get this contract approved and move this union forward," Bilello said."

John DeLollis, executive director of the contractors' association made a presentation to delegates in late July in which he said he would offer a wage and benefits increase of $13.13 per hour, or 15.4%, to $98.46 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.

The new contract offers a wage and benefits bump of $1.00 per hour more than the previous deal rejected by the union's leaderships, in exchange for full mobility and several other provisions.

In February the executive committee recommended and the delegate body voted unanimously to allow the union's members to have final say on a series of five contracts negotiated with contractor associations last year.

“We decided that the best way to go forward was for rank-and-file ratification of the contract,” Bilello said in February.“It's something I campaigned on. It's part of the transparency of the new district council, the desire for us to put control of the organization back in the hands of the membership.”

Bilello has also back off of that position and promise.

Proposed Agreement Wall-Ceiling



At last night's Delegate Meeting, the Executive Committee, and EST Bilello, recommended an Agreement with the Association of Wall-Ceiling & Carpentry Industries for “full mobility” so contractors may bypass the out-of-work list. Our 100-member Delegate Body approved the Contract by roll-call vote of 60-23, and then went on to approve 10% paycuts for the Hudson Yards PLA with Related.



    When: 3PM Thursday, August 23, 2012
    Where: NYCDCC, 395 Hudson, on Clarkson Street


  3. 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.


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