Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Make Assessment Payments via Credit/Debit Card

From the NYCDC— Effective Tuesday Oct 30, 2012 the District Council will begin accepting assessment payment via credit and debit card.

The following cards are the acceptable payment type:
1. Visa
2. Master Card
3. Discover
4. Debit Card with a Visa, Master Card or Discover logo

Note: Regular ATM cards are not an acceptable means of payment.

To make payments, members can call 212-366-7500 Monday- Friday from 8am to 5pm and ask to be transferred to the assessment department for payment processing.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Crane partially collapses, dangles over New York street

A crane atop a luxury Manhattan skyscraper under construction partly collapsed Monday, leaving its arm precariously perched and hanging over West 57th Street. New York police and fire crews are on the scene, and part of the street has been closed off as a precaution, according to Detective Martin Speechley of the New York Police Department.

The New York Office of Emergency Management is asking all occupants of upper floors in buildings near the site of the collapse to evacuate immediately to lower floors. One57, the skyscraper under construction, is offering some of the most expensive apartments in New York, with a penthouse there recently closing for more than $90 million, according to The New York Times.

New York City is experiencing high winds, with gusts up to 60 mph, but the cause of the collapse was not immediately clear.

The city's Department of Buildings on Sunday issued guidance that all cranes needed to be secured ahead of the brunt of Hurricane Sandy. It was not immediately clear whether that guidance was followed at One57.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

New York City Evacuation Zones

Tens of millions of East Coast residents scrambled on Sunday to prepare for Hurricane Sandy, which could make landfall as the largest storm to hit the United States, bringing battering winds, flooding and even heavy snow.

The massive storm, which has already killed 66 people in the Caribbean, was headed toward a densely populated region that includes Washington, New York and Boston and its effects could be felt for hundreds of miles, officials warned.

It could be the largest storm to hit the United States, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

New York and other big cities closed their transit systems and schools and ordered residents of low-lying areas to evacuate before a storm surge that could reach as 11 feet.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg ordered the evacuation of low-lying areas of New York City, (Zone A, shown in red in the interactive map below) from upscale parts of lower Manhattan to waterfront housing projects in the outer boroughs, that are home to some 375,000 people.

Do you vote for presidents who repeatedly lie to you? I don’t.

President Obama and his administration’s reaction to the deadly Sept. 11 attack in Benghazi — is lie, lie, lie and lie.

Myriad are the failures of the Obama administration, but none is more tragic, or more frightening, or more foreboding of catastrophe than the appalling mishandling of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi.

Details continue to leak, but it’ll be hard to top the bombshell from Fox News at week’s end reporting that repeated urgent requests for military help during the attack were summarily denied — for hours.

In those hours, former Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods was killed after he chose to disobey an order to “stand down” — and rushed to aid his fellow Americans.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

For America's future, Mitt Romney for president

Four frustratingly long years ago, a war-weary and economically battered America took a flier on a savior.

It didn’t work out.

Now, in 12 days, the nation will return to the polls — to reject, or to ratify, the results of the great Barack Obama experiment.

That is, to reject or to ratify the notion that hoping for change is a sound footing for productive national policy.

But, by the evidence, it is not.

It cannot create jobs.

It cannot reduce deficits.

It cannot restore foreign confidence in America — or Americans’ confidence in their own great nation.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Decision of Judge Berman

On June 26, 2012 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 Street.

Nee, Messinetti and Holmes filed pro se letters in July to Judge Berman seeking review of the Notice of Veto.

Today, Judge Berman issued his decision and order: "the court finds that the RO's determinations with respect to Nee, Messinetti and Holmes was supported by substantial evidence and were not arbitrary or capricious. Accordingly the application for review are denied."

Stars align for Related, Coach, Hudson Yards

Developer reportedly strikes $400 million financing deal that will fund a West Side skyscraper to house headquarters for luxury goods purveyor Coach Inc.

By Daniel Geiger 

The Related Cos. reached a preliminary agreement in recent days to receive about $400 million in construction financing for a new office tower it is planning to build on the West Side rail yards, according to sources.

The lenders including Bank of America Corp. and JPMorgan Chase & Co., the sources said. The loan is seen as the last hurdle in beginning the 1.7 million-square-foot skyscraper, which is projected to cost about $1.2 billion and will kick off development at the 26-acre rail yards site known as Hudson Yards. Related is planning to build about $15 billion of mixed-use development there over the next decade.

Related, led by its chairman, Steve Ross, who is personally overseeing the site with another top Related executive, Jay Cross, has been in talks for months with luxury accessories company Coach Inc. to anchor the new tower in a 740,000-square-foot deal in which Coach would acquire its space as a condominium interest for roughly $500 million.

Coach's half-billion-dollar contribution to the project was why Related and its equity partners in the building, Oxford Properties and an unnamed United Arab Emirates sovereign wealth fund, need only $400 million in financing to break ground on the building, which will sit at the corner of 10th Avenue and West 30th Street. Related has scrambled to begin the building after Coach placed a year-end ultimatum on the developer, according to a source with knowledge of the various players. Now,

Related is said to be talking to other tenants to take hundreds of thousands of square feet of space in the office tower, including the cosmetics company L'Oreal and German technology giant SAP.

"It's all about the tenants: How do you build on spec without a tenant like Coach in hand?" said Ronald Sernau, a real estate attorney at law firm Proskauer Rose who is not directly involved at the site. "It certainly sounds like the stars are finally aligned, Related has the financing and the tenant."

The building, for which an address has not yet been finalized, will sit on a section of the rail yards at grade level. The rest of the large site requires a costly platform to be constructed as a foundation over the working train yard below for the billions of dollars of office, residential, retail and public space Related is planning to build there.

A spokeswoman at Related would not comment, nor would a spokesman at Bank of America. JPMorgan could not be reached for comment. Coach did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Monday, October 22, 2012

NYC construction growing? Not really

by Greg David 

 Last week the New York Building Congress issued a bullish report on the city’s construction industry. It said that spending would reach $30.7 billion this year, the highest total since 2008, and remain at that level for the next several years.

However, the headline and the reality are somewhat different, it turns out. First, the increase in dollar value is driven in large part by inflation.

While the consumer price index is rising at an annual rate of about 2% a year, cost increases in construction over the past three years have been on the order of 20%, estimates Building Congress President Richard Anderson. In real terms, the report notes, there has been no increase in construction spending in the past three years. Part of this is the rebound in material prices from the lowest of the Great Recession, exacerbated by the increase in the price of oil. Don’t forget that recent contracts provide wage increases, even as they implement work rule changes.

The second—and most alarming—note is that employment in the industry is expected to decline slightly this year, to 110,800, the lowest number since 1998. The lack of any real boost in activity partly explains the decline.

Productivity gains accounts for the rest, but productivity in building works somewhat different than in other industries, Mr. Andersen says. It isn’t primarily the introduction of technology, which has had only some impact in back-office operations. It is the fact that only the best workers have jobs, and they get things done faster and more efficiently.

The Building Congress sees no uptick in jobs until 2014.

The bottom line: Construction is a source of good, middle-class jobs—whether unionized or non-union. It looks like this sector will not be a source of those middle-class jobs.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Delegates Vote to extend RO's term

After a very lengthy discussion and debate, delegates to the District Council voted tonight in favor of extending Review Officer (RO) Dennis Walsh term by 18 months.

The RO is an appointee of the United States District Court pursuant to a June 2010 federal court order. That order expires on December 3, 2012. Under the order, the RO has the right to make a motion to extend his tenure under the order by six months.

Some weeks ago, the United States Attorney asked the Benefit Funds and the District Council to extend the tenure of the RO by 18 months. The trustees of the Benefit Funds have informed the RO and the government that they agree to such an extension.

Delegates hotly debated the issue and voted 45 to 29 in favor of extending the RO's term.

Below is a transcript of the address made to the delegate body by the RO.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

NYC Construction Sector Sees Spending Spike

By Anjali Athavaley

Construction spending in New York City is expected to rise this year while the number of jobs in the industry stays flat, according to an annual forecast by an industry group to be released Wednesday.

The New York Building Congress projects that construction spending will rise 9% to $30.7 billion in 2012. That would mark the first time spending would surpass $30 billion since 2008.

“This is reassuring and somewhat surprising,” said Richard Anderson, president of the Building Congress. The forecast is based on an ongoing analysis of capital budgets, development plans and other indicators.

Even though spending is on the rise, employment in the industry is expected to slip less than one percentage point. The tally of 110,800 jobs in the sector would be the lowest since 1998.

Anderson said jobs in the industry were flat because of more efficient technology that requires less physical labor and a growth in the number of non-union construction jobs.

While a larger, more established firm may be hiring, he said smaller companies are unlikely to be expanding: “There is unevenness in this market, strong as it is.”

Anderson said construction spending is expected to stay flat in 2013 before dropping slightly to $29.1 billion in 2014 with the completion of work at the World Trade Center and sports facilities like Barclays Center and Madison Square Garden.

Union responds to allegations surrounding political sign flap

(FOX 25 / – Following fallout from a video of an apparent union worker claiming he was being forced to hold a political sign in support of Democratic U.S. Senate hopeful Elizabeth Warren, the communications director for the New England Regional Council of Carpenters said in a statement that the union "never has and never will fine a member for not participating in political activity."

In his statement, Bert Durand clarified that the man seen in the video may have been referring to what's called the Member-Union Participation program which requires members to participate in two days of union "sanctioned events."

According to Durand, the union "never has and never will fine a member for not participating in political activity and does not pay members for their participation."

However, Durand did confirm that members who fail to partake in any union activities in a cycle will be charged a "dues assessment" of $250.

The statement issued to FOX 25 also includes a list of activities members can participate in, including building handicapped ramps, playgrounds, and other numerous facilities used by cities, towns and community groups.

The sanctioned events also involve other union-building activities such as organizing, picketing, and demonstrating against contractors that undermine industry standards. Other sanctioned events include attending local zoning and planning meetings as well as supporting political and legislative campaigns that support union construction.

The union uses their judgment when choosing the events. The event must benefit the union or its members in some way. Members are only asked to participate in one event per cycle, and it is made clear to them that they decide which of the events they would like to do.

The Warren campaign came under fire after the video of the reported union worker surfaced on the Internet.

FOX 25's Sharman Sacchetti spoke with Warren on camera and asked her about the incident on Friday. Warren responded that she did not know anything about it. In the interview, she continued to deny knowing about the incident, but later stated that she did not approve if in fact that was the case.

Source: Fox Boston

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Review Officer to address Delegate Body

Walsh's term expires December 3, 2012.
Review Officer (RO) Dennis Walsh will be making an address to the delegate body on Thursday October 18, at 5 pm, all members are encouraged to attend this meeting.

It is my understanding that the government’s proposal to extend the RO's term by 18 months will be put to the delegate body for a vote. The full board of the Benefit Funds has already approved the proposal and it is expected that the District Council Executive Committee also agrees with the proposal.

The RO is an appointee of the United States District Court pursuant to a federal court order. That order expires on December 3, 2012. Under the order, The RO has the right to make a motion to extend his tenure under the order by six months.

The RO has publicly stated that he will do so in the absence of an extension stipulation.  Some weeks ago, the United States Attorney asked the Benefit Funds and the District Council to extend the tenure of the RO by 18 months. The trustees of the Benefit Funds have informed the RO and the government that they agree to such an extension.

MWA Arbitration Update

Breaking news on the MWA situation: There is a conference in federal court on Friday afternoon at 2:30 in the Benefit Funds matter (before Judge Stanton). The MWA will seek permission to amend its answer in the suit brought against it by the Funds (to restore full member benefit payments) by asking the court to allow it to sue the Funds and the District Council for millions of dollars (perhaps as much as $50 million).

In May 2012 we reported 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.

Starting in June, the MWA used that decision to unilaterally cut the hourly fringe benefit rates to all shop and outside installers to $10.94 (a position which the Funds has rejected and filed an action in federal court seeking a preliminary injunction).

In July at a hearing at the American Arbitration Association, the MWA claimed its damages were $59 million based on the Gilbert Displays deal. That is approximately $9 million more than the total assets of the District Council. The District Council made a 4 million cash settlement offer (no question asked) to end the arbitration, which the MWA rejected.

Among other things that occurred at the hearing, Review Office Dennis Walsh informed counsel for the District Council and the MWA that if any award was issued in the range of 14 to 59 million dollars he would make a Paragraph 12.i motion under the Stipulation and Order to preserve the District Council, allow it to meet its obligations under the Consent Decree and Stipulation and Order to end corruption and racketeering and protect the goals of the court orders from being impinged by this matter.

Importantly, after the question was raised by counsel for the District Council, the arbitrator indicated she would in fact like the question of the impact of the Decree and Stipulation and Order addressed in briefs which the District Council filed on September 28, (it is expected that no decision on damages will be rendered for a matter of weeks).

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Special Election for NYCDCC President

Please be advised that a special election for the balance of the term of the vacant office of District Council President will be held on December 20, 2012.

On Friday September 21, New York City District Council of Carpenters President/Benefit Fund Trustee and Bilello administration political appointee and longtime adviser, William S. Lebo resigned after a  "Notice of Possible Action" was served on him by Review Officer (RO) Dennis Walsh.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Special President Election to fill Vacancy

In-person paper ballot election to be held on Thursday December 20, 2012 at 395 Hudson Street.

On Friday September 21, New York City District Council of Carpenters President/Benefit Fund Trustee and Bilello administration political appointee and longtime adviser, William S. Lebo resigned after a  "Notice of Possible Action" was served on him by Review Officer (RO) Dennis Walsh on Tuesday September, 18.

The RO wrote a letter to Judge Berman on September 28, seeking the "consent of the Court to conduct and oversee" a special election to fill the vacancy on an expedited basis and in accordance with special procedures outlined by the RO.

On October 1, Judge Berman issued an order granting its consent for the RO to hold the special election.

NYPD Search for Missing Brooklyn Girl

The NYPD is asking for the public's help to find the girl who disappeared Wednesday September 26th. Roxanne Benanti, who lives in Brooklyn, was last seen leaving on 40th St., near 8th Avenue in Sunset Park, about 8:15 that night, police said.

Cops described Benanti as standing about 4-feet-11-inches tall and weighing about 100 pounds. She was last seen wearing an orange shirt, blue jeans and black sneakers.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477). Tips can also be submitted by logging onto or by texting tips to 274637 (CRIMES), then entering TIP577.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Manhattan building permits jump

New permits for renovation projects also rose significantly in the borough this year. The growth could spur more hiring. 

By Tania Karas 

New building permits in Manhattan are up 94% since the beginning of the year, the city Department of Buildings said Monday, and that's good news for the city's economy. The jump in construction comes even as the cost to build reaches a rate almost on par with costs at height of the building boom.

The city Buildings Department has issued 70 permits for construction of new buildings this year, as of Sept. 30, compared with just 36 during the same period last year. New permits for major renovation projects are also up 12%, year-over-year.

Since new buildings in the city tend to be expensive, multi-story projects, all that new construction equals big revenues and new employment opportunities.

"Big building in Manhattan is on the rise, and that's good news for all New Yorkers," city Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri said. "These major construction projects mean more homes, more jobs—and a stronger economy for our city."

Meanwhile, the New York Building Congress released a report Monday that shows rising construction costs may be approaching the inflated rate they hit at the height of the last decade's construction boom.

Construction costs in New York City rose nearly 3.6% in 2011, according to a construction costs index tracked by trade magazine Engineering News-Record, which the Building Congress referenced in its report. That increase came on top of a 2.4% rise in 2010.

Engineering News-Record projects a 4.3% jump for 2012.

But that jump is less pronounced than during building boom years, the Building Congress said. In 2008, construction costs increased by 5.7%.

"Given that the rise in New York City construction costs now surpasses national trends, the numbers are of concern," Buildings Congress President Richard Anderson said. "Rising costs will make it even more difficult for private sector developers to obtain financing for new projects, while further constraining the capital budgets of city and state agencies."