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

We are already making strides to keep good jobs with good benefits, as well as put our members back to work. As you know, we reached an agreement for some 8,000 members with the Association of Wall- Ceiling and Carpentry Industries. This agreement allows for full mobility. I recognize and understand the apprehension toward this provision. But after careful review of our financials and where we stand in the industry, I recognized the need to reexamine how this could put us back to work, increase our work hours and put our funds back in the black. The agreement with Wall & Ceiling is all but done, but the change in the manning provision is still in the process of being approved by Judge Berman before implementation of the contract can begin. We are still in negotiations with the Building Contractors Association, the Cement League, The Greater New York Floor Coverers Association and the General Contractors Association for new contracts. The negotiating team is working hard on your behalf to ensure we reach agreements that put members back to work, increases wages and maintains good benefits, such as healthcare.

Hudson Yards

We have also signed agreements to put our members on the $15 billion Hudson Yards project, which is the biggest development project in the city since Rockefeller Center was built in the 1930s. This mixed- use complex, slated for Manhattan’s west side, will consist of 13 million square feet of construction. This 26-acre site will create 23,000 union construction jobs estimated at 39 million “man-hours” of work. The prospect of putting our members back to work for the next 10 years at least is real now. Construction begins this fall.

Member Participation

We are stronger together and our unity and strength was evident at the annual Labor Day parade and Charity Softball Tournament. We showed up in record numbers at this year’s parade despite poor weather. In fact, with more than 1,500 members and their families on hand, it was the largest contention of carpenters in decades. The city, our elected officials, the media and other unions took notice. I’d also like to thank the hundreds of members, their families and friends who helped support this year’s Picnic and Charity Softball Tournament. We must remember this day is about more than us. It’s a special day dedicated to those we’ve lost which is why the tournament’s charity fund goes directly to help the families of Brothers and Sisters who have died on the job site.

The Future is In Your Hands

Last and perhaps the most important measure in the fight to maintain good middle class jobs is our participation in the upcoming presidential election. I encourage every member to register and vote. Exercise your right on November 6, 2012. I also encourage you, before you go to that voting booth, to educate yourself and your fellow union members on the facts. Find out which candidate has you, your family and your union’s best interest in mind. Cast your vote for the candidate who has a history and legitimate plan to help working people. Vote for a candidate who believes in a fair share economy and economic mobility. Make your voice heard and choose a candidate who chooses you.

Source: Fall 2012, The Carpenter

1 comment:

  1. Contract a devoted official secretary for only a small amount of what an in-house full-time Executive Secretary would cost! Giving a definitive virtual clerical specialist around the world.


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