Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Why Bilello was Vetoed– Details and Discussion

On Monday, April 29, 2013 Michael Bilello, Executive Secretary-Treasurer (EST) of the New York City & Vicinity District Council of Carpenters was vetoed by the court appointed Review Officer (RO) Dennis Walsh under the authority of the Stipulation and Order entered on June 3, 2010.

Jack N. Mitchell is the Chief Investigator for the RO, in that capacity Mr. Mitchell participated in an ongoing investigation into Michael Bilello. During the course of the investigation he has interviewed members and staff of the District Council and Benefit Funds, reviewed District Council and Benefit Funds documents and records, reviewed investigative documents and discussed the matter with RO investigators.

On March 26, 2013 the RO issued a Notice of Possible Action by the Review Officer (“NPA”) regarding Bilello.  The NPA listed eight instances in which the RO suspected the EST violated the Stipulation and Order.

The following excerpt is taken from the Declaration of Jack N. Mitchell on April 29, 2013 where five of the the eight instances (the other three were not necessary) the RO cited in the veto are detailed and discussed.

(1) from on or about July 1, 2012, through March 12, 2013, you failed to abide by Section 21 of the District Council Bylaws and caused or attempted to cause employer compensation for members to be directed to the New York City District Council of Carpenters Welfare Fund.

According to the collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”) between The Hoisting & Scaffolding Trade Association, Inc. (“HASTA”) and the District Council covering the period July 1, 2011 through June 30, 2016, the members working under that agreement received an increase of $2.60 an hour to their total hourly wages and benefits on July 1, 2012. According the HASTA CBA the “wage rates and fringe benefit contribution within the bargaining unit shall be determined and/or reallocate (sic) by Union at its sole discretion.”

In other words, the District Council decides whether to allocate the hourly increase to the members’ hourly wages, the various benefit funds and/or both. However, Section 21 of the District Council bylaws gives the Delegate Body the sole power to decide all allocations to the various benefit funds. Section 21 of the District Council bylaws states in whole:

All allocations from negotiated total wage amounts to annuity, health and welfare, pension, funds sponsored by the International, apprenticeship, labor-management cooperation committees, vacation  savings, and holiday plans, shall be determined by the Council Delegate Body.

On or about June 28, 2012 Bilello signed a document titled “Rate Increase Allocation” in which the amount of $2.59 an hour was directed to the Welfare Fund for each hour worked by members covered under the HASTA CBA. A copy of the Rate Increase Allocation is attached as Exhibit B.

According to Phil Giudice, Manager of the Agreements Department, the Rate Increase Allocation document is used to create a schedule of wages and benefits that is sent to contractors so that the contractors pay the appropriate wages and benefits.

Giudice also uses the signed Rate Increase Allocation document to enter the rates into the Benefit Funds computer system so that the proper allocations are performed by the Benefit Funds. Based on the June 28, 2012 document signed by Bilello, Giudice created the attached the hourly wage and benefit schedule. See Exhibit C.

According to Benefit Fund staff, since July 1, 2012 contractors working under the HASTA CBA have, as detailed in the hourly wage and benefit schedule, paid $13.84 an hour to the Welfare Fund, an increase of $2.59 from the prior period of July 1, 2011 through June 30, 2012. See page 2 of Exhibit C.

(2) on March 22, 2013, you directed a business representative of the District Council attempting to properly enforce the collective bargaining agreement at the Javits Center to let a suspended member work at the Javits Center knowing that the person had been suspended as a member. 

On March 22, 2013 I was called by the District Council Inspector General and asked to come to his office. Matt Walker, the Director of Operations, was in the IG’s office when I arrived. Walker told me that Paul Capurso, the District Manager of the business representatives and someone who reports directly to Walker, that Bilello directed Andrew Mucaria, a District Council business representative, to allow Cliff Blackwood, a LU 157 member, to work at the Javits Center contrary to District Council policies and the CBA between the Javits Center and District Council.”

At the time of Bilello's directive to Mucaria, Blackwood was suspended from LU 157, Walker told me that he directed Mucaria to put the details in writing and email, which Mucaria did. Regarding Blackwood, the email message states “has been not paid since 3-31-12 cleared for work by EST.” A copy of this email message is attached as Exhibit E.

R0 investigators and I immediately began an investigation into the matter. On Friday March 22, 2013, O’F1aherty and I interviewed Mucaria and Capurso and reviewed relevant documents. O’Flaherty, the R0 and I interviewed Bilello later on March 22, 2013. Members of the RO staff also interviewed Blackwood, Robert Villalta, District Council business representative at the Javits Center on March 22, 2013, Walker, and Javits Center stewards John Diodato and Jack Litterer in the following weeks. Based upon the interviews of Bilello and Blackwood and the Declarations of Mucaria, Capurso and Villalta (copies of these documents are attached as Exhibits F-J), the investigation determined, among other things, the following:

LU 157 member Cliff Blackwood was called to work at the Javits Center for a March 22, 2013 work call at 8AM. Blackwood showed up for work at the Javits Center on March 22nd and was told by Mucaria that he was not able to Work because he was not a member in good standing.

Blackwood was told by Mucaria that as per District Council policy he would not be able to work at the Javits Center until he had a current work card. Blackwood walked away from Mucaria and made a phone call on his mobile phone to the District Council and eventually spoke to Bilello.

Blackwood told Bilello that Blackwood was told that he could not work at the Javits Center because he was behind on his dues. Blackwood also told Bilello that he obtained a loan from his union annuity account and that Blackwood is expecting the check that day or Monday and that when Blackwood receives the check, he will use it to pay his back dues. Blackwood told us that he begged Bilello for assistance on the phone and that Bilello told Blackwood to give the phone to Mucaria.

Blackwood gave the phone to Mucaria. Mucaria took the phone and spoke to Bilello. Mucaria told Bilello that Blackwood was suspended and had not paid dues since March 2012. Bilello directed Mucaria to allow Blackwood to work. At no time did Mucaria suggest to Bilello that Blackwood be allowed to work like the others.

(3) from on or about September 2012, to the present, you foiled to continue the development of the business representative cross-training program recommended by the Review Officer and begun by the former District Council President and Assistant to the EST 

On March 6, 2012, the R0 sent Bilello an email inquiring as to the status of the cross-training program. Bilello responded that nothing had been done to date and Bilello will schedule a meeting with District Council staff to “map out a direction” for the program. A copy of the email and response is attached as Exhibit K. On March 16, 2012, I attended a meeting at which the training of all business representatives in all District Council jurisdictions was discussed. At the meeting was Bilello, the head of the Labor Technical College, the then District Council President, and the district manager of the business representatives, among others. The result of the meeting was that the District Council would first create a program to train all business representatives in the jurisdiction of the dockbuilders.

Between the meeting on March 16, 2012 and June 2012 the District 3 Council did little to train the business representatives or create a program to do so.

On June 4, 2012, the RO recommended in his Fourth Interim Report that the “District Council should greatly accelerate implementation of an intensive training program to educate all business agents about all jurisdictions and CBAS.” See Fourth Interim Report of the Review Officer at 16-17.

Again, the District Council did little or nothing after the issuance of the RO’s report.

On October 1, 2012, I sent Bilello and Michael Cavanaugh an email stating, “recent inquiries of District Council and Labor Technical College personnel indicate that the Council is not currently proceeding with such training [BAS in all jurisdictions].” The email also requested a meeting with Bilello and Cavanaugh Having not received a response to the email, I emailed Bilello and Cavanaugh on October 15, 2012 asking for a response.

Bilello responded the same day with the response: “Was a project Lebos was working on.” I responded to this email asking Bilello “[w]ho is responsible for this project now'?” I never received a response to this email. Copies of these email messages are attached as Exhibit L.

(4) from on or about January 11, 2012, to the present, you failed to review minutes of the meetings of the Board of Trustees of the Benefit Funds with the District Council Executive Committee. 

The Board of Trustees of the Benefit Funds met 12 times between January 11, 2012 and March 26, 2013. I have reviewed all minutes of District Council Executive Committee meetings from January 11, 2012 through March 26, 2013. According to the meeting minutes, at no time did Bilello discuss the minutes of meetings of the Board of Trustees of the Benefit Funds with the Executive Committee.

(5) on March 22, 2013, you failed to cooperate with an investigation of the Review Officer by falsely stating in sum and substance, that a certain business representative "suggested to me that I give [a suspended member] to the end of the week [working at Javits Center, like we are doing for others. ” 

On March 22, 2013 I was present in Bilello’s office at the District Council with O’Flaherty. The RO was on the telephone conducting an interview of Bilello regarding Bi1ello’s directing Mucaria to allow Blackwood to work contrary to District Council policies and the Javits Center CBA. During the interview Bilello stated that Mucaria suggested that Mucaria could let Blackwood work like he let the others at the Javits. See Exhibit F at 1.

Our investigation regarding this matter indicates that this is not true.

First, Mucaria flatly denies he said anything like what Bilello said. In fact, Mucaria told Bilello that Blackwood hadn’t paid his dues since March 2012 and Bilello told Mucaria to allow Blackwood to work anyway. See Exhibit H at 1.

Second, as described in the Mucaria email there were no other members to be “like” No one was allowed to work without paying either their union dues or working dues assessments (“WDA”). Three others were told that they must pay their working dues assessments before they were allowed to work and ten members were allowed to work because they paid their WDA, all as per the District Council policy. See Exhibit E.

Third, in his email Mucaria sent to Capurso, DiNapoIi and Walker a mere hours after the incident, Mucaria stated that Blackwood was “cleared for work by the EST.” See Exhibit E. Finally, no one we spoke to other than Bilello stated that Mucaiia told them Mucaria made any statements that he suggested to Bilello that he allow Blackwood to work like we are doing for the others.

10 comments:

  1. DROP DEAD UNITY TEAM !

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  2. Had Blackwell worked in the last 1 year (04/2012-04/2013) and not paid his dues or was this a hardship where a guy out of work / luck for a year was given an opportunity for a couple of days work (not a full time job) to earn his membership back in good standing. At the end of the day we are a brotherhood here. That being said it could have been me or another brother / sister in good standing working that day. Is brother Blackwells dues up to date today ?

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    1. you have to prove a hardship to take a loan out of your annuity so i would say yeah, he was hard up. should he have stayed on the job just because he and bilello used to work together when 3 others were sent home that day for the same reason? NO

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  3. How about the guy waiting on the list for a job who HAD PAID HIS DUES AND WDA? You know, the guy who was next on the list but didn't get sent out because a member who was NOT IN GOOD STANDING was cleared for work. Is this guy, who plays by the rules that most of us do, a member of this brotherhood at the end of the day?

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    1. EXACTLY. if your suspended, your not a union member at the time. what the hell!

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  4. Veto Moochcaria

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    1. mucaria might be a hard ass, but hes the same hard ass with everyone. at least hes fair unlike bilello

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  5. there is something wrong if 3 dispatches does not add up to 40 hours. A member in good standing wont stay that way long if a few cycles of dispatches leaves them with bankruptcy

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  6. Musumeci it would be GREAT if you could just link shit like this to the DC website so that people get the whole version and not just your typo version of what you feel is important.http://www.nycdistrictcouncil.com/Data/Sites/1/notice-of-veto-by-review-officer-4-29-13.pdf

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    1. It you click on the word vetoed (hyperlink) in the first sentence of the article you would get the "whole version" (52 pages) of the RO's veto. I am attempting to make it easier for you to read by posting an excerpt from the Declaration of Jack N. Mitchell (not my "typo version").

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