We reported that on July 1, 2012 Executive Secretary-Treasurer Michael Bilello failed to seek delegate body approval and improperly diverted a July 1, 2012, $2.59 per hour contract raise with the Hoist Trade Association into the welfare fund, costing members millions in lost wages.
We also reported that Bilello has also attempted to improperly allocate the contract raise with the Association of Wall-Ceiling and Carpentry Industries agreement; the March 12, 2013 executed CBA submitted to Judge Berman for approval purports to allocate $2.12 per hour to the Welfare Fund.
Informed sources say that Bilello plans on having all allocation decisions put before the delegates for approval at tomorrows delegate body meeting.
Though not vested by the District Council Bylaws with authority to do so, Bilello failed to seek delegate body approval for allocating monies into the welfare fund. Section 21 of the District Council Bylaws, is very clear, the delegate body decides all questions of allocation of trust fund monies.
I have reviewed the meeting minutes of the delegate body from May 2012 through March 2013. At no time did Bilello inform the delegate body of his conduct to or seek their approval to allocate a contract wage increase into the welfare fund.
The RO is expected to have all of the answers for Wednesdays delegate meeting, "It is certainly possible that gross negligence will be the explanation for the allocation issues," the RO said in an email.
In my view the first contract raise should rightly go into the pockets of the Rank and File who have not had an wage increase since 2010. There will be another contract raise implemented in 3 months, there needs to be a much more informed discussion and debate about reducing and controlling our costs in the welfare fund, and with our choice of a health care provider. We should also have a detailed study of the expected increase in man-hours (2 million) with the approval of full mobility, and the expected increase in man-hours as we enter into a construction spending building boom, before the delegate body wantonly rubber-stamps these allocations to the welfare fund.
The key in solving the problems of the welfare fund is increasing man-hours, increasing the contribution rate does not compensate for the loss in man-hours. We should not have members paying higher rates for the same health coverage.
Below is a the inaugural issue of Benefit Funds News, it was originally posted in December 2011. There is a very good frequently asked questions and answer section regarding the welfare fund. One question that you will find interesting is:
Q. Why not just increase the employer hourly contribution rate?
A. A contribution rate of $11.25 per hour is already substantial and represents over 13% of your total hourly compensation. Increasing the employer contribution rate is not the solution. In fact, it may be counter-productive to improving the employment situation. Because it is in everyone’s interest that our union employers remain competitive with non-union employers, we must start with controlling our costs.
(John's note: Call your delegates and tell them to vote no on increasing the allocation to the welfare fund. In addition to the below newsletter read the Fourth Interim Report by the RO page 56 regarding the welfare fund) .
Fall 2011 Funds Newsletter_01