Dear Judge Berman:
I am a Delegate and shop steward in the New York City District Council of Carpenters. I understand that you have a very difficult decision to make, and that judgment is going to have a sweeping effect on the carpenters union as we know it.
When l was running for the position of delegate to Local 157, it was not uncommon for those running to have to publicly state at union meetings what their position was on full mobility. The delegates to the various locals were elected by the members of their respective locals, knowing what the position was of the persons they were voting for. The Wall and Ceiling contract was passed as per the Bylaws, by men and women chosen by the membership. For others to take a contrary position is unfair and inaccurate.
Before the initial meeting of the newly elected delegates, we studied several of the contracts. This training session lasted 3 days, and several of the contracts were studied from cover to cover. The delegates voiced their concerns about wording and their displeasure with provisions such as the Favored Nations Clause. l do not understand how anyone can say that nobody knew what was contained in the contract, after going through three days of comprehensive training on the contracts.
When the contract was voted on by the membership via mail in ballot, the Wall and Ceiling CBA with a full mobility provision was rejected. l was one of the very few people who mailed in my ballot, and l voted to reject the contract. I have to say that I do support full mobility and I believe many more carpenters will be employed if it were in place. The reason I rejected the contract was strictly due to the lack of financial compensation. Many members felt the same as me, and it is not fair for a select few to say that the contract was turned down strictly because of full mobility.
Unfortunately the hard working men and women of this union do not want to come forward and publicly say that they support full mobility because the will be scorned and denigrated on websites and chat rooms. There is even a website where an anonymous person wishes cancer upon those who support full mobility. The hard working men and women no longer attend union meetings because they accomplish nothing, and their opinions are not respected. Several of the people, who are petitioning the court, have run numerous times to be a delegate, failing handsomely each time they tried. This is not a mark on their integrity as men simply that the rank and file members do not subscribe to their way of thinking or beliefs.
In conclusion, I am asking you to please allow the decision of the delegate body to stand as we voted. The delegate body is representative of the membership and I feel we acted for those whom we represent.
Good luck in your making your decision. Regardless of the outcome I know it will be with the best intentions for The New York City District Council of Carpenters. Thank you for allowing me to be heard.
Michael J. Donnelly
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
Dear Judge Berman: