Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Asbestos Dumped In Elmhurst

Anthony Di Marco points to a van filled with bags of asbestos that were taken shortly after he and Michael Donnelly discovered them dumped outside.

While investigating a wage and hour dispute in Elmhurst last week, New York City District Council of Carpenters Representative Michael Donnelly found a little more than he had bargained for.

On Jan. 8, Donnelly said he found two 30-yard dumpsters containing plastic bags marked “DANGER ASBESTOS” outside of 74-16 Grand Ave – the site of his investigation with Cobex Inc., a general construction company.

“I was there with my colleague Anthony Di Marco investigating a wage and hour case at Corbex Inc., and as we were exiting the building, we saw the containers in front of the door,” he said. “They were right there in plain sight, improperly sealed.”

According to Donnelly, as he and his colleague began looking at the bags, two men pulled a white truck with a New York registration of 81891-JW into the area and began loading the containers in, attempting to flee.

“We started taking pictures when this happened,” Donnelly said. “It appeared as though they were trying to cover up the dumping.”

The state of our unions

These days it’s rare to read a story where New York takes the No. 1 spot.

But recent figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics help confirm New York’s leadership in two categories. The first is the percentage of its workforce that is unionized — 23.2 percent. The other is the percentage of its public-sector workforce that is unionized. Other studies put that number at 73.3 percent, double the national rate.

For most Americans, the word “union” conjures up iconic images of muscled men assembling cars, fitting pipes or constructing buildings. But that hasn’t been the reality since 2009, when the number of unionized government workers first surpassed unionized private-sector workers.

That, plus hard economic times, highlights an increasing conflict within Big Labor: between the brotherhood of the public sector and the brotherhood of the private sector.

Say what you will about the high costs imposed by private-sector unions. These unions are at least tethered to reality — i.e., to the private sector — in some way. If their company or industry goes down, they know they will take a hit (just ask the bakers at Hostess).

By contrast, when public-sector unions are told there isn’t enough money for all they want, their answer is, simply, “raise taxes.” And often the politicians oblige.
In recent years, some in the private-sector unions have begun to realize that they are paying the price. They pay most directly as taxpayers, of course. It’s dawning on the out-of-work drywaller or cement worker that it’s his tax dollars subsidizing the local teacher who pays next to nothing for his or her health care.

But these private-sector workers are also paying the price in terms of diminished job opportunities. Look around at the building trades — the steamfitters, the drywallers, the carpenters. For many of these unions, unemployment has been several times as high as the national rate of 7.8 percent.

We suspect that’s one reason that in New Jersey, Senate President Stephen Sweeney supported Republican Gov. Chris Christie’s reform of pensions and benefits for state workers. Sweeney may be a Democrat, but he’s also a leader in the ironworkers union, and he understands there won’t be any jobs for ironworkers if New Jersey doesn’t clean up its fiscal house and get its economy back on track.

In other words, it’s not only business that pays a price for a highly unionized government work force. Other workers pay, too.

Posted from iPhone

Source: NY Post

Disaster Inc: Some Companies Win Big Post-Sandy

A store in the Rockaways rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy.

By Stephen Nessen / Robert Lewis : Reporter, WNYC

New Yorkers weren’t the only ones monitoring Sandy in the week before Halloween. A Georgia contractor was tracking the storm closely as it made its way north toward Lower Manhattan where his potential clients’ commercial buildings sat doomed to flood.

By the time Sandy was ready to hit the area on Oct. 29, Peter Hajjar and several of his employees at Reliable Restoration were parked outside Philadelphia waiting to move.

As soon as the storm passed they sped to the Financial District and began pumping out the flooded buildings.

In less than two months Hajjar and his Atlanta-based company, which specializes in repairing storm damage, billed commercial building owners for $4 million worth of work.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Prosecutors target builders on minority-hiring mandates

 Struggling to meet quotas, contractors find themselves accused of fraud.


About 100 CEOs from New York's construction industry gathered at a Times Square hotel last fall for a conference on hiring subcontractors owned by minorities or women. But the event was not about networking: Speakers included Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch and city Department of Investigation Commissioner Rose Gill Hearn.

"The message was basically 'We're coming after you,' " recalled one attendee.

That wasn't news to many attendees. Prosecutors have brought a slew of high-profile cases against major city contractors in recent years alleging fraudulent hiring of women and minority-owned subcontractors to meet mandates on city, state and federal projects.

Many of those cases have come out of Ms. Lynch's office, but Mr. Vance got into the act in mid-January, securing a $10 million settlement from Siemens Electrical (the successor to Schlesinger-Siemens Electrical), which was controlled by German conglomerate Siemens AG. In a deferred prosecution agreement, Siemens Electrical admitted to filing false documents stating it had hired a minority contracting firm to help build the $3.2 billion Croton water-treatment plant in the Bronx. In fact, Schlesinger-Siemens Electrical provided much of the labor and equipment.

The government is not asserting that minority-owned firms are not being paid, but that they are being denied the chance to mature and gain expertise by doing their own work.

"Up until these types of investigations, there was no clear definition of what assistance a primary contractor could or could not provide [to subcontractors]," said Louis Coletti, president of the Building Trades Employers' Association.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Obama's Abuse of Power


An appeals court says his recess appointments are unconstitutional. 

President Obama has shown increasing contempt for the constitutional limits on his power, and the courts are finally awakening to the news. A unanimous panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Friday that the President's non-recess recess appointments are illegal and an abuse of executive power.

On January 4, 2012, Mr. Obama bypassed the Senate's advice and consent power by naming three new members of the National Labor Relations Board and appointing Richard Cordray to run the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Other Presidents have made recess appointments and we've supported that executive authority.

But here's the Obama kicker: He consciously made those "recess" appointments when the Senate wasn't in recess but was conducting pro-forma sessions precisely so Mr. Obama couldn't make a recess appointment. No President to our knowledge had ever tried that one, no doubt because it means the executive can decide on his own when a co-equal branch of government is in session.

In Noel Canning v. NLRB, a Washington state Pepsi bottler challenged a board decision on grounds that the recess appointments were invalid and that the NLRB thus lacked the three-member quorum required to conduct business. The D.C. Circuit agreed, while whistling a 98 mile-per-hour, chin-high fastball past the White House about the separation of powers.

NY unions lose ground, but state remains No. 1

by Greg David

Like the rest of the country, the percentage of workers who belong to a union in New York state is declining. But some things never change: New York remains the most unionized state in the nation and is much more heavily organized than the adjacent states for which it competes for jobs.
Today, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported only 11.3% of American workers were unionized in 2012, down from 11.8% the year before. The number declined in New York too, dropping from 24.1% to 23.2%.

Here is the percent of unionized workers in New York over the past six years, starting with the boom year of 2007.

Year    % unionized
2007    25.2
2008    24.9
2009    25.2
2010    24.2
2011    24.1
2012    23.2
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Nationally about one-third of public sector workers belong to unions while only 7% of private sector workers are members. New York figures were not immediately available, but a report issued by the Murphy Institute of the City University of New York in September showed 13% of the private sector was organized and 73% of government employees. The 73% number is the most important one of all. New York’s No. 1 ranking is a result of the fact that such a huge percentage of the public belongs to unions compared with other states. (The Murphy Institute usually updates its study in the fall).

The BLS report maps the country and when you look at it, New York is only one of the 48 states with a number higher than 20%. (Alaska and Hawaii with their very unique economies remain almost as unionized as New York.)

Washington is No. 2 at 18.5%, followed by Rhode Island and California. New York competitors like New Jersey (16.1%), Pennsylvania (13.5%) and Connecticut (14%) are far less unionized and are in the middle of the pack for the Northeast and Midwest.

Carpenters Union Cosolidations Affect Thousands

There is a feeling of uneasiness among thousands of local union members who are slowly finding out about a mass consolidation. The Mid-Central Illinois Regional Council of Carpenters covers 41 counties and represents nearly 5,000 workers in the state.

The parking lot at Carpenter's Local Union #16 in Springfield is empty, the door is locked, and union members are greeted by a letter from Washington D.C. outlining the ten central Illinois unions now dissolved.

Here is a breakdown of consolidations:

  • Locals 63, 183 and 2189 are now Local Union 237, which will be based in Peoria. 
  • Locals 44 and 347 will now be Local Union 243 in Champaign. 
  • Locals 16, 189, 904, 742 and 725 are now Local 270 in Springfield.
Several Local 16 members stopped by the union hall on West Lawrence Avenue after hearing the news on the street. They expressed concerns about their wages and their pensions.

Regional Council Executive Secretary/Treasurer Steve Heckwine said they have nothing to worry about.

“Their pension is still secure, the amounts that they're paying into their pension will remain the same, their hourly wage rate will remain the same," he said. Heckwine also said the regional council staff will keep their jobs. While all ten carpenter union halls in central Illinois while either close or be re-chartered, the opportunities for union members will grow.

“It does put new resources in the hands of the local unions, and it does give them more of an ability to go out there and protect the member's market share, to protect their jobs, to find more work opportunities," Heckwine said.

Heckwine said he was just notified of the changes this week, and the regional council is now working on sending out a letter to all union members affected, as well as updating the locals’ websites.

In addition to the consolidations, $200,000 will be pooled from the closing union halls and put back into the newly chartered locals.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Time to Retire ‘Scabby the Rat’, Says Top AFL-CIO Official


Scabby the Rat'
Go to any labor rally and you are likely to see a towering symbol of union pride: a 16–foot-tall, inflatable plastic rodent known as “Scabby the Rat.” Although “scab” is a derogatory word for temp workers hired by bosses during strikes, in Scabby’s case, it’s a term of affection.

According to the website of Big Sky Balloons & Searchlights, the exclusive makers of Scabby the Rat, the floats were originally designed for Chicago unions. Since then, “the rats have multiplied and are found thriving throughout the U.S.A.”

However, Scabby may be harder to find at rallies if one union leader gets his way. Today, Sean McGarvey, president of the 2-million-strong AFL-CIO Building and Construction Trades Department, tweeted, “Meeting with our Presidents and state councils. Issued a call to retire the inflatable rat. It does not reflect our new value proposition.”

The call to retire Scabby was met with dismay by some in labor movement. In response to McGarvey’s tweet, Chicago labor activist (and In These Times contributor) Micah Uetricht tweeted, “Booooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.”

“You can’t spell DIRECT ACTION without RAT” tweeted another Pittsburgh area organizer.

“As usual, nobody bothered to ask the membership what we think about that!” Carpenters Union Local 157 member Gregory A. Butler wrote to me on Facebook. “I've been a shop steward for 15 years and I just found out about this decision from you! Sorry, but that's that bullshit.”

Friday, January 25, 2013


Send a Protest Letter Today!

Brothers and Sisters, The New York City District Council of Carpenters has partnered with Corporate Campaign, Inc. to develop the Campaign to Stop Construction Sweatshops

Headquartered in New York City, Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association-College Retirement Equities Fund (TIAA-CREF) is a leading provider of retirement plans for people who work in the academic, medical, cultural, governmental and research fields. It is also a provider of life insurance.

The company touts its commitment to social responsibility and "investing for the greater good." But is pouring billions into construction sweatshops, tobacco companies and Killer Coke socially responsible and promoting the greater good?

TIAA-CREF is financing and is an equity partner in a construction sweatshop in Long Island City. 

The company is partnering with developer O'Connor Capital Partners and its general contractor McGowan Builders. McGowan subcontracts to firms that do not provide their workers with retirement plans or health care benefits and pay far less than the area standard wage. Responsible contractors cannot compete with such exploitative conditions which lead to a race to the bottom.

Help us make TIAA-CREF live up to its claim of being "socially responsible" and "investing for the greater good." It should start by ending its investments in construction sweatshops!

WE NEED YOUR HELP NOW! We set up a simple form for you to send a protest letter to President & CEO of TIAA-CREF Roger Ferguson.

Help us with this innovative and ambitious effort to secure justice for carpenters and other construction workers in New York City & Vicinity, our nation's construction capital!


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Build Up New York Rally in Brooklyn

A controversial new luxury hotel and condo tower with spectacular waterfront views is coming to Brooklyn Bridge Park- despite political opposition to the private development.

The Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation selected Toll Brothers and Starwood Capital Group as the development team for a ten-story hotel with 200 rooms and a five-story condo building with 159 apartment that will be built in the park next to Pier 1 along Furman Street, which will provide $3.3 million a year to maintain Brooklyn Bridge Park, city officials said.

The hotel is to be called 1 Hotel, and the proposed building plan will feature nearly 16,000 square feet of restaurant space, 16,000 square feet of banquet and meeting space, 2,000 square feet of retail space, a 6,000-square-foot spa and fitness center and 300 parking spaces. It also includes park restrooms as well as maintenance space for park operations. The development is expected to generate approximately 210 permanent jobs and 300 construction jobs.

Building trade union members were out in force yesterday protesting and sending a message, that the 550,000-square-foot complex, set to open in fall 2015, is built using union labor.

Platform Construction Animation

The start of major construction by Brookfield Office Properties on the deck over an Amtrak rail yard is a milestone — and not just for Manhattan West, Brookfield’s $4.5 billion development between Ninth and Dyer avenues.

The platform launch is a crucial breakthrough for the entire Hudson Yards District. Below is a contruction animation of how the platform will be built.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Arbitrator Drastically Limits Remedy Available to MWA Employers

Breaking News...The labor arbitrator in the MWA case rejected the employer associations’ demand for an award from the District Council and Funds of more than $60 million. Arbitrator Rosemary Townley, in issuing her remedy award, rejected most of the MWA employers’ demands and instead awarded a retroactive wage amount of $8 million.

She also ruled that she doesn’t have jurisdiction under the MWA collective bargaining agreement to hear claims related to benefit fund contributions because such claims have to be determined by a different arbitrator under different procedures. That means that the Funds are owed more than $3 million in delinquent contributions from those MWA employers dating back to May 2012 and that any employees whose medical coverage was reduced should have coverage fully restored.

The original grievance was filed by the MWA, which moved it to arbitration. The grievance involved the MWA’s claim that its employers in the architectural millwork industry are competitors with a District Council signatory shop that does work for trade show displays.

Nevertheless, the arbitrator had determined back in May 2012 that the MWA millwork employers were competitors of the trade show shop and its agreement with the Distinct Council should apply to the MWA. The remedy award that was just issued was to settle disputes between the District Council and the MWA regarding the full scope of the remedy available to the MWA employers.

The District Council’s officers and staff leadership, along with legal counsel, are reviewing all options based upon the arbitrator’s remedy award.

Read the Arbitrator's Official Decision below.

Democracy and Free Speech Triumphs

Score a big one for Democracy and Free Speech.

In a resounding victory for democracy and members free speech rights, Review Officer Dennis Walsh, today issued a veto of the charges filed by former District Council President Bill Lebo against me.

While pursuing "perfectly legitimate questions" regarding the MWA arbitration, during a delegate body meeting on July 25, 2012, District Council Executive Secretary-Treasurer Michael Bilello and then President Bill Lebo, in appalling failure of decorum and procedure, became unhinged, bullied, harassed and improperly incited members of the delegate body to infringe on my speech. The two council leaders also incited members of the delegate body to harass, intimidate and file charges against me, (Lebo wrote the charges up on behalf of the delegates) in retaliation for allegedly revealing "strategy," by publishing an article about the retention of three attorneys to represent the council in an ongoing dispute and arbitration with the MWA. (click for exclusive audio and transcript).

In characterizing the charges against me, Walsh wrote, that the charges are "impossibly vague." "The idea that the publication of an accurate news article by a member -- for members -- which reveals nothing previously and timely identified by the District Council as confidential business could be conduct that might be punished, perhaps even by expulsion, should be abhorrent to all members."

Citing the objectives of both the Consent Decree and Stipulation and Order, of fostering democracy and maintaining and running the District Council democratically, Walsh said, "such objectives cannot be achieved without an informed membership capable of engaging in enlightened debate on issues relevant to their rights, monies and membership in the District Council."

Walsh criticized the District Council saying, "Democracy at the District Council must be more than a concept and hortatory platitude. The District Council has repeatedly shown it is incapable of supporting a key component in this process: adequately informing its members of news that affects their Union and their livelihoods."

And Walsh had high praise for this blog, "local157.blogspot.com has become the go-to source for union members to find the latest news regarding District Council matters.""Mr. Musumeci, to the contrary, has made informing the membership his singular and zealous avocation, which has benefited thousands of members over the years."

The message is clear. Rank and file carpenters are free to exercise their protected right of free speech within their union without fear of reprisal. Indeed, Walsh said it best, "Democracy and the free exchange of ideas that informs it must not be stifled by the District Council or its surrogates expansively interpreting UBC constitutional terms and bringing charges based thereon in order to quash dissent."

Kudos to Review Officer Dennis Walsh.

Read the Notice of Veto below.

Project Highlights Labor's Lag


As developers plan to break ground this week on the second phase of the City Point development in downtown Brooklyn, the long-anticipated project has become a flashpoint in a simmering battle over the use of nonunion construction labor.

Developers said construction work on City's Point's 670,000 square feet of retail space portion will be at least partially nonunion, and at least some of the space for about 700 apartment units likely will be as well. The 1.8 million square-foot project is being built with affordable-housing subsidies on city-owned land on the site of the former Dekalb Market and is among the largest developments in Brooklyn since the recession.

The three-part project's first phase was also nonunion and was the site of periodic protests, but the labor situation for the larger second phase underscores how the city's powerful construction unions are losing their grip on development projects.

The hard-hatted construction worker once symbolized the strength of the city's labor movement, but now only about half of the industry's jobs are unionized, said Richard Lambeck, chairman of the construction management program at the New York University Schack Institute of Real Estate. Just 15 years ago, Mr. Lambeck said, 80% to 90% of construction work in the city was union. A 2011 report by the Regional Planning Association said union labor has declined to 60% from 85% in the 1970s.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

NYCDCC’s New Website Emphasizes Goals of Transparency and Openness

Updated 1/20/13

This excerpt was taken from last months Fifth Report of the Review Officer, regarding the Councils new website.

District Council Web Site, Information and Transparency

Section l2.G of the District Council Bylaws states that “the Executive Committee shall have the authority and responsibility to provide information about the District Council to the public and the membership including by publishing The Carpenter and effectively maintaining the District Council website. When presenting information to the public and the membership, the Executive Committee shall provide information fairly reflecting the range of positions and points of view on subjects relevant to the District Council and members.”

Despite the foregoing requirement, the Executive Committee has failed the membership by either negligent lack of attention to the rule or willful avoidance of it. 

(John's note: Count four of my four-count charges against Executive Secretary-Treasurer Mike Bilello and former President Bill Lebo is for violating section 12.G)

I have had to repeatedly prod the District Council leadership over the course of months to address this deficiency. Within the last month, I informed counsel that, without appropriate action by the Executive Committee, I would be left with no recourse but to assert my authority to compel compliance.

Contract Update: Where is my Raise?

Where is my raise and why are we being kept in the dark regarding our contract?

That's the two most important questions asked on job sites throughout the city that fall on the deaf ears of the Bilello administration.

Carpenters have been working without a new contract since June 30, 2011. The last time carpenters received a raise was October 1, 2010, when UBC Supervisor Frank Spencer, decided to unilaterally delay for 90 days, our July 1, 2010 contractual raise, thereby giving contractors a multi-million dollar gift on the backs of hard working union members.

Spencer also unilaterally change the terms and conditions of our 2006 five-year collective-bargaining agreement when he gave back a $2.13 per hour raise schedule for January 1, 2011.

While we struggle to pay our bills and put food on the table, the Bilello administration, despite having thirteen months in office and claims of working "tirelessly," has failed to nail down a new contract. This inability to negotiate and implement a contract, has and continues to cost this membership tens of millions in lost wages and benefits!

On August 22, 2012, New York City District Council EST Mike Bilello, after months of dithering, flip-flopping, broke his campaign promise, and took a major step towards finally ending this seemingly never-ending labor saga that has left 8,000 carpenters without a contract, by reaching an agreement with the Association of Wall-Ceiling and Carpentry Industries that includes "full mobility,"ignoring the will of the membership, who soundly rejected full mobility last March.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Free Speech Under Attack

(John's note: The District Council is attempting to shut this blog down, thereby silencing yours and mine protected free speech rights! Any attorneys who would like to help protect and defend union members free speech rights please contact me).

On January 13, 2013, I sent the Review Officer (RO) an "Application for Veto," requesting a veto of the charges filed against me on July 25, 2012 by former New York City District Council president Bill Lebo, on the grounds that the charges are a infringement of my “free speech rights” and retaliation in violation of Title I of the Labor- Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA), 29 U.S.C. §§ 411-415.

On January 14, the RO sent a "Notice of Possible Action" to District Council attorney James Murphy, relating to my request, requesting among other things, a formal written response on the question of "whether the District Council Executive Committee should proceed with consideration of whether to refer Bill Lebo’s charges" against me to the Trial Committee or "whether 29 U.S.C. Section 411 and the ruling in the Price case, and any other argument asserted by me, preclude such consideration and referral."

The RO stated he would be obliged if the response included "a discussion of whether the District Council suffered any harm as a result of the publication of Mr. Musumeci’s article on the retention of the three attorneys in question and whether any expressly confidential or proprietary information was disclosed in the article (and how Mr. Musumeci was put on notice of such confidential or proprietary status)."

Below is the response from District Council attorneys James M. Murphy and Adrian Healy, received yesterday.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Exclusive Audio RO Town Hall Meeting

By Joseph

On January 16, 2013 Review Office Dennis Walsh held a town hall meeting, below is exclusive audio where among other things, the RO gave a status of our contract, discussed the lack of timely information posted on the Councils website, and answered member questions on various topics. EST Bilello was also present and among other things defended the Councils website.

(Note: The Forum ran for over 3 hours, due to technical difficulties approximately the last 30 minutes was not recorded)

iPhone/iPad users click here.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Register Now for Structure Tone Job Fair on Feb. 5th

The Structure Tone organization is an international full-service construction services provider. The organization's subcontractors are hiring candidates to fill various trade positions throughout New York City, which include electrical, mechanical, carpentry, and more. Structure Tone is working with Workforce1 and its staff of experienced recruiters to hold pre-screening events for interested candidates. Candidates must attend a Workforce1 pre-screening event to be considered for a position with Structure Tone.


November 2012

Pursuant to Section 12 (K) of the By~Laws, the District Council Executive Committee presides over the uniform system of steward review procedures set forth herein.

Statement of Policy: A steward is the District Council's "eyes and ears” on the job site. The two principle obligations of a steward are to enforce the collective bargaining agreement and to obtain data for accurate time reports submitted to the District Council by the steward as required. The Shop Steward Code of Ethics sets forth a shop steward's duties in greater detail and all stewards must be familiar with and comply with its requirements. Problems on the job which cannot be dealt with effectively by the steward should be promptly reported to the Council Representative assigned to the job. lf the Council Representative assigned to the job is not available stewards should promptly report the matter to the Council Representative Center. A steward who does not properly perform his or her duties may be removed from the position. A steward review must then be conducted in accordance with this policy and these procedures.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

It’s the roaring 30s: Projects bring new life to far West Side


The start of major construction by Brookfield Office Properties on the deck over an Amtrak rail yard is a milestone — and not just for Manhattan West, Brookfield’s $4.5 billion development between Ninth and Dyer avenues.

The platform launch — first reported on nypost.com yesterday and to be formally announced today — is a crucial breakthrough for the entire Hudson Yards District.

It might be years before the area is built to anything like its full potential. But Mayor Bloomberg can take pride in having promoted and nurtured the creation of a new commercial zone west of Ninth Avenue that would have seemed a pipe dream a few years ago.

By the time he leaves office next year, each of the district’s major development sites — Manhattan West and Related Cos.’ much larger Hudson Yards — will have one major component in full-bore construction.

Brookfield’s 120,000 square-foot deck — an extraordinary investment for a project that doesn’t yet have any buildings — will span the train yard 65 feet below street level in an irregular rectangle bounded by Ninth and Dyer avenues and West 31st and 33rd streets.

Weaker Bolts in Arena's Prefabricated Facade Assembly Pose No Threat to Safety

By Nadine M. Post

Concern for public safety at Brooklyn's Barclays Center—after the discovery that mostly under-strength bolts were used in the facade's prefabricated facade assemblies—was allayed soon after the error's discovery last August, says the curtain wall inspector. Even so, this week, the arena's curtain-wall fabricator is finishing up a fix that replaced 1,768 of the 23,351 bolts.

"There is a tremendous amount of redundancy," says Israel Berger, CEO of the New York City-based curtain wall consultant, Israel Berger & Associates. IBA is the special inspector for the arena's curtain wall.

"You would have to have so many events happening at one time in one spot to reach the capacity of the bolts, let alone exceed it," says Berger. Even then, assembly components would overdeflect, not break, he adds.

Barclays opened Sept. 28 and the assemblies weathered Superstorm Sandy. IBA says it alerted the city's Dept. of Buildings to the mix-up and the fix on Sept. 5 in its report for a temporary certificate of occupancy. DOB spokesman, Anthony Sclafani, says DOB was not alerted, as it would have expected.

The facade has a latticework of 12,000 dissimilar pre-weathered steel panels. At the fabricator ASI Ltd.'s plant, groups of panels were to be bolted via angles and braces to either a curtain wall panel or a support frame. Part way through the job in late 2011, ASI defaulted financially. Its surety took over, hiring FacadeTek to finish (ENR 7/16/12 p. 20).

Monday, January 14, 2013

Notice Regarding Change to RO Hotline Number

Due to technical issues, the RO Hotline number is in the process of being changed. To report any evidence of corruption call the Review Officer directly at 914-610-1663. You may also call Chief Investigator Jack Mitchell directly at 646-595-9244.

A new toll free number for the RO Hotline is being obtained and will be published imminently.

If you must make a toll free call one may be made to the New York City District Council of Carpenters Office of the Inspector General Hotline at 855-UBC-TIPS

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Review Officer Town Hall Meeting

This is a reminder to all members of local unions affiliated with the District Council, as well as employees of the District Council, Benefit Funds and local unions, are invited to attend a Review Officer Town Hall Meeting this Wednesday, January 16th, at 4:30 p.m. on the second floor at 395 Hudson Street.

The RO expects that EST Bilello will be present for the first hour and he has also invited Funds Executive Director Laura Kalick and Funds Counsel Elizabeth O’Leary (who will likely be able to attend after 5:30).


An Open Letter to Review Officer, Dennis M. Walsh requesting Veto of Charges

I respectfully request a veto of the charges filed against me (attached) on July 25, 2012 by former New York City District Council president Bill Lebo, for writing and posting information on the MWA Arbitration Crisis (which the District Council has failed to provide) on the grounds that the charges are a infringement of my “free speech rights” and retaliation in violation of Title I of the Labor- Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA), 29 U.S.C. §§ 411-415.

I seek and ask for immediate veto relief to (1) veto the charges against me, (2) order the District Council to refrain from further processing the charges against me, (3) enjoin the District Council from infringing on free speech rights or retaliating against me for exercising those rights and or prosecuting similar charges against me or other union members who exercise those protected rights.

Title I of the LMRDA, § 411–15, provides union members with an exhaustive “Bill of Rights” enforceable in federal court. These rights are designed to guarantee every union member equal rights to vote and otherwise participate in union decisions, freedom from unreasonable restrictions on speech and assembly, and protection from improper discipline.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Updated OWL Rules

View the updated New York City District Council of Carpenters Job Solicitation, Registration and Referral System Work Rules.

1.Establishment of Job Referral System: The New York City District Council will make available a non-exclusive and non-discriminatory referral list for individuals seeking work with signatory contractors or otherwise bound to a collective bargaining agreement with the District Council. The terms job referral list" and "out of work list", as used in these rules, are interchangeable and have the same meaning.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

RO comments on the conduct of the July 25, Delegate Meeting

(John's note: Below is an excerpt from the December 19, 2012 Court Conference with Judge Berman where Review Officer Dennis Walsh discusses the conduct of the July 25, Delegate Body meeting.)  

MR. WALSH: Judge, before we turn to the benefit funds, I do want to bring up a point about the delegate body.

There are some in the administration who think I was perhaps a little harsh in my comments about the conduct of certain delegate meetings, but I don't think I was. I think that the union needs to aspire to a very high standard in the conduct of its governmental affairs.

There have been meetings -- and I hope that they do not ever happen again -- but there was one particularly poorly run meeting in July which has received some attention. I think it is a poster child for what not to do when you are the president of the district council and trying to run a proper meeting under the parliamentary rules of the UBC. It reminded me, because I observed it, in some cases of an exhortation to a mob.

Court Conference Transcripts of December 19, 2012

Review Officer, DENNIS WALSH
Attorneys for Review Officer Walsh, BRIDGET ROHDE
Attorneys for District Council, JAMES M. MURPHY
Attorneys for District Council, IRWIN ROCHMAN
Attorneys for Carpenter Fringe Benefit Funds, RAYMOND McGUIRE
ALSO PRESENT, Walter Mack, James Zazzali

THE COURT: So I have a proposed agenda from Bridget Rohde. I'm happy to follow that agenda. We have a lot of items to consider. I also had mentioned in an endorsement that I talked about this trial committee issue. If anybody wants to, we can add that at the end. So why don't we just start with the first item on the agenda is status of collective bargaining.

MR. WALSH: Your Honor, good morning. Dennis Walsh, the review officer in this matter. The status of the collective bargaining includes, I think, an historic milestone for the district council. The benchmark agreement between the district council and the wall-ceiling association is, I believe, very close to implementation. And that, of course, is with the court's consent.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Court Rejects Challege to RO Investigation

The Court hereby denies Bisceglie’s application as follows:

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Millwrights Agreement

Below are copies of the Millwright agreement and wage and benefit rates.