Thursday, February 14, 2013

Contract Update: Carpenters may be close to nailing contract

Hypocritical Leader Bilello
Delegate votes expected after months of back-and-forth talks between carpenters and the contractors who hire them.

At last nites delegate body meeting, 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 thousands of carpenters without a contract, by reaching an tentative agreement with the Building Contractors Association (BCA).

The executive board of the District Council recommended having the agreement presented to the union's 100-member delegate body for approval as soon as Wednesday February 27, 2013.  The union's rank-and-file members will not be given the chance to ratify the contract.

The tentative agreement is for three years through 6/30/15 and would offer a wage and benefits bump of $10.33 per hour, to $94.36 an hour. The agreement among other things includes, an 80% "Market Recovery Rate" on certain projects and building classes and a full mobility clause.

Because the "full mobility" clause represents a change to the hiring ratios (67% - 33%) mandated in a May 2009 federal court order, it will have to be approved by the court. The union's federal-appointed monitor, Review Officer (RO) Dennis Walsh, and the U.S. Attorney's Office must also approve the deal, which includes that the employers and District Council "must include a compliance program."

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 fouthteen 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!

Breaking another campaign promise, Bilello was against putting the contact up to a membership ratification vote, instead he sought to only have the delegate body approve the deal in a meeting scheduled in two weeks.

Local 157 Delegates Mitch Sonntag, and Greg Kelty made motions for a membership ratification and roll-call vote, which was voted down by a majority of the delegates.

"Absolutely disgraceful, what are these delegates afraid of, they don't even want their members to know how they voted," said a carpenter in the members gallery who wished to remain anonymous.

Last February, Bilello was in favor of the membership voting on contracts, “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 said.

Bilello also said, "History was made when our members were given the power to vote on their labor agreements for the first time ever. Our goal is to continue to involve members in this process by bringing you all of the most current information regarding the contracts."

Other than Bilello dumping the "Proposed Building Contractors Association Agreement," on the councils website without any explanation, their has been no updates which contradicts Bilello's previous statement of "bringing you the most current information regarding the contracts."

Go to the councils website and read the proposed contract and compliance program, contact your delegates and let them know what you think and how you want them to vote.



  2. They're not dropping! Been waiting?

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