Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving Brothers and Sisters

The first Thanksgiving in the New World was celebrated in mid-October 1621, nearly a year after the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

Much later, George Washington was the first of many US presidents to formally proclaim a day of thanks. The following prayer was offered in 1789, in appreciation of the hard-earned independence of the United States of America:
Almighty God, we make our earnest prayer that Thou wilt keep the United States in thy holy protection; that Thou wilt incline the hearts of the citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to government, and entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another and for their fellow citizens of the United States at large.

And, finally that Thou wilt graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility and pacific temper of mind which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion, and without an humble imitation of whose example in these things we can never hope to be a happy nation. Amen.

 I would like to wish you and your family a safe and Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Mobsters plead guilty to racketeering, extortion

By Selim Algar

Hey, the gang’s all here.

A parade of Genovese wiseguys and associates — including an elderly captain and a burly union leader — pleaded guilty to a range of classic mob crimes Wednesday in Brooklyn federal court.

Genovese captain Conrad Ianniello, soldiers Salvester Zarzana and James Bernardone and two others copped to a slew of mafia misdeeds in front of Judge Nicholas Garaufis.

The crime quintet was among 11 Genovese hoods who were swept up in an April 2012 bust and charged with everything from shaking down vendors at the annual San Gennaro festival in Little Italy to extorting contractors on major construction projects to union wrangling.

In addition to his San Gennaro activities, the elderly Ianniello was also charged with running illegal gambling enterprises and union fixing. He copped to gambling and extortion raps.

Bernardone serves as the Secretary Treasurer of Local 124 of the International Union of Journeymen and Allied Trades and Zarzana formerly headed the Local 926 of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners.

“I along with others, conspired to steal property through the threat of economic harm,” Bernardone said meekly in a scripted statement to the court.

Bernardone was smacked with racketeering raps related to his shakedowns of contractors performing work throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens from 2006 to 2009 including the construction of a Hampton Inn on Ditmars Boulevard.

The Bronx resident is out on $750,000 bond but nearly had it revoked in June after he attended a mobster-laden wake that was attended by more than two-dozen known hoods who were paying respects to a neighborhood fixture in March.

A pair of other Genovese associates, Paul Gasparrini and Ryan Ellis, also copped pleas Wednesday.

The gangsters will all remain out on bail until their March 14 sentencing.

Monday, November 25, 2013


An (additional) conference in this matter is scheduled for December 4,2013 at 9:30 a.m.

The purpose of the conference is to further explore(and remedy)the delayed implementation of the anti-corruption "compliance procedures" called for in the recent collective bargaining agreements("CBA")between the District Council and the Wall-Ceiling and Carpentry Industries of New York,Inc.,Building Contractors Association,General Contractors Association of New York,Floor Coverers Association,Contractors Association of New York, and the Cement League.

The Court remains concerned about the disturbingly slow pace of technology implementation, particularly because these matters have been pending since at least August 2012.

Also, as discussed at the November 18, 2013 conference,the Benefit Funds (Ryk Tierney) are directed to provide the Court with written information on all of the costs (IE., advisory fees,commissions,legal fees,etc.)associated with managing the investments of the Funds on or before November 26,2013.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Weekly Compliance Message from the EST

The District Council is continuing efforts towards electronic reporting. Currently, Shop Stewards working under the Wall Ceiling, BCA of NY, CAGNY, GCA of NY (Carpenters), the Floor Coverers and the Cement League Association agreements are required to file their reports electronically. I believe electronic reporting has and will continue to enhance the ability of the District Council and Benefit Funds to ensure that employers meet their contractual obligations and members receive the benefits to which they are entitled.

I want to remind Shop Stewards that they can electronically report time in three ways. Stewards can use the tablet device they received from the District Council. Alternatively, they can log on to the Electronic Reporting System through the District Council website from any computer with internet access, or, if they have an iPhone, they can install an easily downloadable “App” and submit time using their cell phone. It is important that Shop Stewards become familiar and comfortable with using one or more of these alternatives to report time.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Remembering JFK: Where were you when you heard the news?

President John F. Kennedy
50 years ago, America lost a great leader, a man with vision, a man of peace and wisdom. Those who were old enough to remember and understand back then on Friday, Nov. 22, 1963, all have a story about the day President Kennedy was assassinated 50 years ago today.

Most people who are old enough to remember can tell you exactly what they were doing when they heard the news that Kennedy was shot in Dallas, Texas.

To keep history alive, we'd like to hear from those of you can remember. Please feel free to post and share your story.

For those who are too young, but know your parents or someone's story about where they were on the day of Kennedy's assassination, please share.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Transcript of Court Conference on November 18, 2013

THE COURT: We have a couple of items that I was hoping we would talk about today. One is we were going to hear a report on how the funds are doing. Mr. McGuire, we have Ryk Tierney who is here.

MR. McGUIRE: Yes. Mr. Tierney is here and ready to report.

MR. TIERNEY: Thank you. My name is Ryk Tierney. I am the Executive Director of the New York City Carpenters Benefit Funds. For the record, we handle the four major funds for the carpenter benefits, which are the pension fund; the welfare fund, which includes vacation and scholarship benefits; the annuity fund; and then the apprenticeship journeyman retraining, education and industry fund. I will start with the pension fund, an update on total assets as of September 30, 2013.

Friday, November 8, 2013

More Special Obamacare Treatment — But Not for You

Unions haven’t been able to get special Obamacare subsidies like Members of Congress and their staffs did, but they may not go away empty-handed.

The Obama Administration has indicated it will propose a new regulation that could give many unions a break from one of Obamacare’s new fees. This one hits health plans with a $63 per person charge next year.

But many “self-insured, self-administered” plans would be exempt from this fee in future years, thanks to the new suggested regulation—and that could apply to a lot of union plans.

Labor unions accused Obamacare of“shattering” hard-earned benefits and destroying the foundation of the middle class when they begged earlier this year for special treatment. Instead of advocating relief for all Americans, they merely advocated a carve-out for their members.

Meanwhile, people across the country are seeing their plans canceled or premiums increased. For people shopping in the Obamacare exchanges, premiums are going up in at least 42 states.


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Carpenters union gives $100K, leading a last-minute push for de Blasio


Bill de Blasio's massive lead in the mayor's race hasn't discouraged some last-minute contributions to his campaign.

Late last week, the NYC United Brotherhood of Carpenters poured $100,000 into the race, by way of a pro-de Blasio super PAC.

The union gave the donation to the New York Progress PAC on November 1, according to a recent filing with the New York State Board of Elections. (In the closing weeks of the race, political campaigns and committees must report all contributions of $1,000 or more within 24 hours.)

The New York Progress PAC is a coalition of some of the city's most powerful public and private labor unions, including the United Federation of Teachers and the Communication Workers of America, who pooled their resources to support de Blasio's campaign.

The PAC raised more than $1 million back in October to spend on broadcast cable TV ads attacking de Blasio's opponent, Republican nominee Joe Lhota.

In October, the group reported $25,000 from the Plumbing Contractors Political Action Commitee.

According to Josh Gold, political director for the Hotel Trades Council, which has also contributed money to the PAC, the late contributions added a final buy of programming.

“We knew [the spots] would reach the last remaining undecided voters,” said Gold in an e-mail.

The ad, which had already been airing for a week, played during college football matchup on ABC, Sunday Night Football on NBC, the Nets game against the Miami Heat, and coverage of the ING NYC Marathon.

De Blasio's campaign committee, New Yorkers for de Blasio, also received some last-minute contributions, from Napster creator and early Facebook founder Sean Parker; the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees; Unite Here Local 2850 and Unite Here Local 52, all of which gave $4,950 over the weekend.