Tuesday, November 27, 2012

NLRB Upholds District Council’s Dockbuilders’ Election Victory

NLRB Hearing Officer Rejects Amalgamated’s Objections to District Council’s Dockbuilders’ Election Victory

A National Labor Relations Board Hearing Officer has issued his Report recommending that objections filed by the Angelo Bisceglie led Amalgamated union be overruled and that the District Council be certified as the collective bargaining representative for nearly 800 Dockbuilders employed by the General Contractors Association (GCA).

The District Council won the election back in March by almost a two to one margin. But the Amalgamated filed objections that have now been rejected after nearly three days of hearings in early October.

The Hearing Officer credited the testimony of EST Mike Bilello, finding it “straightforward and more reliable than contradictory testimony.”

In contrast, the Hearing Officer found the testimony of Amalgamated supporter Eric Gunderson “to be overly evasive during cross examination” so that his testimony couldn’t be believed.

Source: NYCDC

Hudson Yards Shovel-Ready


In a critical breakthrough for Hudson Yards, the MTA board is expected tomorrow to let Related Companies start $50 million of preliminary work on its Coach headquarters tower before the developer closes on its 99-year lease of the 26-acre site from the agency.

In exchange, Related will give up its right to defer closing until three citywide economic “triggers” have been met. The company founded by Stephen M. Ross also will commit for the first time to a firm closing date: June 1, 2013, although both Related and the MTA say it will likely occur sooner and possibly by this Dec. 31.

The agreement is anything but a technicality. Despite a recent blizzard of coverage touting the rail-yard project as an epochal achievement for Mayor Bloomberg, Related has yet to start building the Coach tower more than a year after a photo-op at which Ross, Bloomberg and Coach CEO Lew Frankfort said construction would start by this past summer.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Bilello Faces Four Counts of Charges

On August 28, 2012, a four-count charge was filed against NYC District Council Executive Secretary-Treasurer Mike Bilello and former President Bill Lebo.

Lebo who was elected last December (with Bilello) and hired (at a annual salary of $185,000) as an "assistant" was forced to resign in September after receiving a "Notice of PossibleAction" from the Review Officer. Lebo's forced resignation has rendered the case against him moot.

The four-count case against Bilello includes Constitutional and Bylaw violations of, harassment, falsifying meeting minutes, acting unilaterally without delegate body approval (which is required by the Bylaws) and failing to inform the membership about the MWA arbitration, which is a "grave and imminent crisis."

On August 8, pursuit to section 5(f) of the Bylaws, I requested a joint investigation be conducted by Inspector General Scott Danielson (IG) and Chief Compliance Officer Josh Leicht (CCO) concerning the "appalling failure of decorum and procedure," during a delegate body meeting on July 25, where Bilello and Lebo became unhinged (hear audio) , made intimidating and harassing comments, incited members of the delegate body, and moved to file charges against me, allegedly for revealing the "business of the brotherhood "on this blog (see article: "Insanity").

Chairman Walter Mack had delayed calendaring these cases before the Trial Committee awaiting the investigation and "long overdue" report.

On November 7, the IG and CCO issued their much anticipated joint report. Their report is a disgraceful whitewash in its inaccuracies and transparent motives, and it appears to reasonable people who have read the report that the Bilello administration has succeeded in intimidating the IG and CCO into doing its bidding.

With the termination (at the request of the District Council) of Mack and Jim Zazzali as Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Trial Committee last month, the case against Bilello is now adjourned without date, and its future progress will depend on the IG's office.

Below are the charges filed.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Contract Update

At the president nomination meeting held on Wednesday, November 14, 2012, presidential candidate Dan Franco, asked Review Officer Dennis Walsh (RO) to give an update on the Wall & Ceiling contract.

Below is the RO's response.

“We are moving forward with the Wall & Ceiling. The District Council has engaged Standard Data Corp for the revisions for time to be entered. Stewards will be able to access the site on the computer with specific job numbers and passwords. It will then be sent to the employer. There will be a limited amount of time – 48 hours – to accept or correct any recorded time. Once in, every member can access the database to see the time that was entered in. Each person will have the ability to log on and inspect. They can report errors on or off the record. If there is a disagreement, there will be a mechanism to dial back and forth for corrections. Serious disagreements will be settled by grievance or arbitration.

There has been training for stewards, representatives, and employers. There will be live testing at job sites. I’ve seen the program, and it’s revolutionary. It engages the membership. Once the field is tested, it will be presented to Judge Berman and would then be signed on a provisional basis to make sure that it works.

Mike (Bilello) mentioned that there may be a one (1) to two (2) week delay due to the weather. They have been working with the employers and there has been a minor issue for the stewards having access to computers during work hours. If the Wall & Ceiling disagree with this...if they want the benefits of the contract, then they have to work with the District Council to get that. Willful violations will have penalties.”

Friday, November 23, 2012

Contract Update

New York City has long been known for its towering structures and the highly skilled tradesmen and women who build them. The NYCDCC is dedicated to making sure that our hardworking members continue to be the workforce that makes this the greatest city in the world—with a livelihood that allows our families to thrive here.

The NYCDCC negotiating team continues to work tirelessly on behalf of our brothers and sisters to ensure that we reach agreements that provide good jobs for our members. We are determined to reach agreements that increase wages and maintain good benefits like affordable healthcare.

Most of our members are aware that we have already reached an agreement with the Association of Wall-Ceiling and Carpentry Industries. This is a contract that accounts for a huge portion of our workforce, covering about 8,000 New York City union carpenters.

“The Wall-Ceiling agreement is a huge step forward,” said Executive Secretary-Treasurer Michael Bilello. “We believe this agreement will lead to more work for our members and improve our market share in New York City.”

Some important changes to the new contract include a new manning provision and key wage increases. The inclusion of full mobility in this contract hinges on our contractors’ compliance in instituting mechanisms to improve the reporting of work hours.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving Brothers and Sisters

The first Thanksgiving in the New World was celebrated in mid-October 1621, nearly a year after the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

Much later, George Washington was the first of many US presidents to formally proclaim a day of thanks. The following prayer was offered in 1789, in appreciation of the hard-earned independence of the United States of America:

Almighty God, we make our earnest prayer that Thou wilt keep the United States in thy holy protection; that Thou wilt incline the hearts of the citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to government, and entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another and for their fellow citizens of the United States at large.

And, finally that Thou wilt graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility and pacific temper of mind which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion, and without an humble imitation of whose example in these things we can never hope to be a happy nation. Amen.

As you gather with your family and friends, please take a moment to give thanks for the men and women serving in our armed services who cannot be with their families this holiday.

I wish you and your family a safe and Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A Message from our Executive Secretary-Treasurer Michael Bilello

The future of organized labor in New York City is at a crossroads. Non-union employers are multiplying and growing bigger, secured retirements are disappearing, good job opportunities are dwindling and the middle class is shrinking. The question is, do we allow ourselves to be pushed out of what was once a haven for organized labor or do we fight back. The choice is simple, but the solution involves a lot of hard work. Thankfully, there is a road map to success.

To follow this path your District Council is reexamining its methodologies and building new coalitions with unionized and non-unionized workers, tenants, politicians, community leaders and other organized labor groups. As part of this movement, we are launching an unprecedented multi-union campaign this fall to reestablish New York as a union town.

The Build Up NYC campaign is an alliance of working men and women within several unions, trades and industries committed to responsible development and good union jobs. Working together, we are committed to ensuring that the construction, operations and maintenance of NYC’s buildings are safe, sound and built toward growing the middle class. This massive undertaking will include political action, worker and tenant outreach, expert studies, ongoing media campaigns and multiple public actions—all working in concert to help rebuild, regain and protect the city’s working class. We ask for your support in the coming months as we unveil Build Up NYC.

New Contract

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The District Council Want's Your Feedback!

Updated 11.22.2012

The District Council has added a new feedback feature (required by the Bylaws and pushed by the RO) and has launched a new Facebook page (no content yet) "in an effort to strengthen its community and better communicate to the members and the general public."

Members can submit their material by using the feedback link now up on the District Council's home page or submit your comments to communications@nycdistrictcouncil.org for consideration.

The DC says..."Certain pieces will be published on the website and/ or the Carpenters Magazine periodically based on Executive Committee and Editor approval. The committee and editor also reserve the right to refuse publications or to edit any editorial material as seen appropriate."

(John's note:  I find it rather pathetic that this is what passes for bold reform under the Bilello administration, and that the District Council had to be pushed by the RO into getting a member feedback featured up and running. 

After all the abuse and corruption the membership has endured, you would think that such a section would be a no brainer. I suspect that the RO will have to continue to push this feature, you may want to copy me or the RO on any feedback you submit to make a record of what is received and rejected.

Monday, November 19, 2012

New York City Rapid Repair Program Seeks Contractors

Contractors can now register online for New York City’s rapid repairs program that will help homeowners rebuild after Superstorm Sandy. The Building Trades Employers Association of New York City is helping to reach out to contractors and suppliers by hosting a registration form on its website.

The program, called NYC Rapid Repairs, was announced Nov. 9 by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Director of Housing Recovery Operations Brad Gair. Homeowners need help and they need it now, the mayor said in a news release: “We’ve come up with an innovative and unprecedented way to bring government resources to bear on this recovery effort.”

The city is sending teams of contractors and inspectors into neighborhoods with damage in partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Unlike the typical FEMA process where homeowners hire contractors individually, owners who sign up for the program at NYC.gov will be served by teams working their way through the city by geographical area.

“The current plan is to divide the city into three or four geographic areas with a program manager for each,” says Louis J. Coletti, president and CEO of BTEA. “We got a call from Caswell Holloway, deputy mayor for operations, asking BTEA to be a central coordinating point.” Coletti said funding will come from FEMA and compared the response to the cleanup of the World Trade Center site after 9/11.

Interested contractors also have to register with the FEMA Disaster Response Registry’s System for Award Management. They also must complete the FEMA Vendor Profile Form. Contact the Industry Liaison Support Center at FEMA-Industry@dhs.gov for this form or call 206-646-1895.

Materials supply is another issue the teams have identified and will be addressing, Coletti says. The city is trying to avoid putting people in trailers, he adds, “when we could fix the homes and let families move forward.”

Posted from iPhone—Source: http://enr.construction.com/buildings/building_types/2012/1113-new-york-city-rapid-repair-program-seeks-contractors.asp

Friday, November 16, 2012

Whitewash: Bilello Exonerated by IG & CCO

On November 7, 2012 Inspector General Scott Danielson (IG) and Chief Compliance Officer Josh Leicht (CCO), issued a four page report that exonerates Executive Secretary-Treasurer, Mike Bilello of improper conduct and finds that there was inappropriate conduct by former District Council President Bill Lebo (who was forced to resign) during a meeting (see article "Insanity") of the delegate body on July 25, 2012, where both Bilello and Lebo, during questioning, on the MWA crisis, became unhinged, harassed, intimidated, threaten and allowed members of the delegate body to disrupt the meeting, and moved to file charges against me, allegedly for revealing "strategy," by posting the names of newly hired "outside attorneys" on this blog.

The much delayed and anticipated joint report is a disgraceful whitewash in its inaccuracies and transparent motives.

And, it appears to reasonable people who have read the report that the Bilello administration has succeeded in intimidating the IG and CCO into doing its bidding.

In a November 13, email commenting on the report, Review Officer Dennis Walsh wrote:

"Though reasonable men might draw different conclusions from what they observed at the July 25th delegate meeting, I am of the view that the events which were the subject of the report represent an appalling failure of decorum and procedure and that the conduct of the chair could fairly be characterized as harassment."

In response to the report, I emailed the IG and CCO and wrote among other things, that "the joint report is filled with inaccurate quotes, lies, material taken out of context and in no way reflects what transpired at the delegate body meeting on July 25, 2012."

"You have delivered a whitewash report that misrepresented EST Bilello's response to my questions by cherry-picking Bilello's comments in an effort to exonerate and portray him in the most desirable way."

Chemical Dangers During a Home Renovation

People should be aware of dangerous chemicals before, during, and after a home renovation. The dangers of chemicals are not like dangers people may experience elsewhere; chemical dangers are many times unseen. People may not notice these dangers until they are already seriously ill. Many of the illnesses that people may experience from chemical hazards are not simply coughs or sneezes. These are illnesses such as mesothelioma and other cancers. Therefore, people must be certain that they are aware and protect themselves from home renovation dangers.

Older homes are usually the first homes that people decide to renovate. These homes may have been built 30, 60, or 90 years ago. These homes are also the ones that contain the most dangerous chemicals. The reason these homes may have a higher percentage of dangerous chemicals is because most of the material used in the construction was before federal regulations were put into place. These homes may contain asbestos, which is a potential cause of mesothelioma and lung cancer. These homes may contain lead paint, which can also cause detrimental lung problems. These homes may also contain pesticides, which can prove to be very harmful if the person breathes in the material. Renovating an older home may not only cause health hazards to the renovator, but other people near the renovation may experience health problems. Most of the material used in the older homes will not cause a problem until the renovation begins. When the renovation begins, the fumes and other fibers are released into the air.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Candidates Approved for Special Presidential Election

Greetings Fellow Carpenters:

A meeting was held yesterday evening, Wednesday, November 14, 2012, 5 PM, at the NYCDCC Labor Technical College (LTC), 2nd fl. Common Room, for the purpose of nominating candidates for NYCDCC president.

The RO announced that all five candidates (that had submitted 150 or more valid nominating petition signatures) were approved, with the candidates being: Dan Franco, Joe Geiger, Martin Maguire, Steve McInnis and Jeremy Milin.

The RO then asked one-by-one in alphabetical order by last name whether there were nominations for each of the approved candidates.

George Rodriguez nominated me, Dan Franco. Geiger was in attendance but no nomination for him was made; he and all else remained silent. John(?) Murphy nominated Martin Maguire. Charles McInnis nominated his son Steve McInnis. Michael Power nominated Jeremy Milin.

In solidarity,
Dan Franco

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Carpenters Nail Down Volunteer Work in Sandy-Stricken Areas

By Carol Worrell

Building trades workers including the New York City District Council of Carpenters along with the Building Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, began an organized volunteer effort on Staten Island today, Nov. 9, the first part of a plan to help rebuild Hurricane Sandy-ravaged areas.

The workers met at 7 a.m. at the Federal Emergency Management Agency tent on Father Capodanno Blvd. in Staten Island and began the first phase of relief—the cleanup process, which includes pulling out sheetrock and flooring, says Michael Bilello, executive secretary treasurer at the District.

Phase two, the operation phase, will consist of determining how to best help council members who have reported damage to their own property and requested assistance, Bilello says. The council has a charity fund for members that is in the works that will be “tailored to suit the needs of the disaster,” he adds.

“The main thing is to get people off the streets,” Bilello says.

The third phase will be the rebuilding process itself.

Bilello says that, so far, about 55 to 60 District members have called in to volunteer and about 75 members have called in for assistance. The District’s apprentices are also expected to sign up to volunteer in the field next week, he adds.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Mack and Zazzali Terminated

By decision dated October 31, 2012, the Review Officer Dennis Walsh, at the request and with the participation of the District Council, terminated the relationship of Walter Mack as Chairman of the Trial Committee and Jim Zazzali as Vice-Chairman of the Trial Committee to be effective no later than November 30, 2012.  Mack and Zazzali were hired in July, 2010.

Walter Mack
James Zazzali

Hurricane Sandy Volunteer Opportunity in Staten Island

There is a volunteer location for Friday, Nov. 9, on Staten Island. Anyone interested, please report at 7am, at the FEMA tent on Father Capadano Blvd. and Hunter Ave.

Please bring your tools, including a hammer, sheetrock knife, pry bar and hard hat. Also, please wear you carpenter hat, shirt and/or jacket. For more information and to check in call Chris Wallace, who will be on location, at 917-376-5513 .

Also, anyone who is willing and able to volunteer can contact the Carpenters Assistance Program and supply them with your contact information and when you are available.

If you would like to volunteer to help those devastated by Hurricane Sandy, you can call  the Labor Technical College at 212-727-2224.  Please be ready to provide your name, phone number and when you will be available.

Special Election for NYCDCC President

By Daniel J. Franco

Members that submitted 150+ nominating petition signatures for NYCDCC president: Steve McInnis, LU157; Joseph Geiger, LU1556; Martin Maguire, LU157; Jeremy Milin, LU157; Paul Tyznar, LU45; Dan Franco, LU157.

Monday, November 5, 2012

District Council Special Election Update

To all concerned members:

Due to unanticipated and unprecedented hardships presented by Hurricane Sandy, this is to advise that I will review any and all nominating petitions for the office of President of the District Council submitted to me by 6 p.m. on Wednesday, November 7, 2012.

I ask the District Council and local157.blogspot.com to post this information on their respective web sites as soon as possible.

Dennis M. Walsh
Review Officer

Fitzmaurice & Walsh, LLP
15 Chester Avenue White Plains, NY 10601

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Carpenter: Fall 2012

Read the latest issue of The Carpenter.