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Avalon Bay embarrassed again Posted by on

A story appeared today in the New Haven Register about NERCC Carpenters demonstrating in front of an Avalon Bay project in Connecticut. This major developer has chosen to turn a blind eye to the exploitation and abuse of immigrant workers in the construction industry; even when it happens on their own job sites.

The company would have people believe that all is well and they take care of any problems that arise on their job sites. Perhaps Mr. Kinter, from Avalon Bay, would like to explain why there were 10 Stop Worker Orders issued on their site by Connecticut state authorities.

The New Haven Register??s site, like many other news sites, allows readers to post comments about a story. Reader comments appear beneath the story with a form for submitting more comments. Members are encouraged to use this feature and express their feelings about stories they read online concerning union and construction issues. Remember these are public forums, so be direct, but respectful of others. Site editors do reserve the right to remove comments they find objectionable.

Obama on UBC endorsement Posted by on

"For more than 120 years, the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners has worked to ensure that hard work is rewarded with the opportunity to thrive and build a better life. But after eight years of an administration that has rewarded wealth instead of work, and with John McCain promising four more years of those polices, that dream is in danger. The UBC shares my conviction that we need to come together to make sure that the America Dream lives on for our childre n, and I'm thrilled that they will be standing with me in this critical election," said Senator Barack Obama.

UBC press release on Obama endorsement Posted by on

United Brotherhood Of Carpenters Endorses Obama
Wednesday August 20, 6:37 pm ET

WASHINGTON, Aug. 20--Leaders from throughout the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners today unanimously endorsed Barack Obama for president.
"On all the fundamental issues that affect the lives and well-being of our members, the choice of candidates in this election is clear," said UBC General President Douglas J. McCarron in announcing the endorsement, the first the union has made in a presidential contest since 2000.

"More than 10 years ago our union undertook a comprehensive program of change in order to meet the needs of our members and the industry. It was difficult but necessary, and the results of that work are clear. Our union is growing and our members are enjoying the benefits of that growth.

"It is time that our country takes the same steps to change direction and address the serious problems that affect all working men and women. This administration leaves behind a staggering debt, a legacy of unfair trade deals, and a crumbling infrastructure that will cripple our ability to compete economically.

"We believe that Barack Obama recognizes the necessity for fundamental change in our nation's policies," McCarron said at the close of a meeting of union leadership in Washington, D.C.

The United Brotherhood of Carpenters represents some 550,000 workers in the construction and forest products industries, including large memberships in key swing states such as Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Nevada.

Why not reward good employers? Posted by on

Senator Durbin, from Illinois, introduced legislation that would ofter a tax credit for employers that do GOOD things for their employees. Unfortunately, no action was taken on the bill.

Patriot Employers Act - Amends the Internal Revenue Code to allow a taxpayer certified as a Patriot employer by the Secretary of the Treasury a tax credit for one percent of such employer??s taxable income. Defines a ??Patriot employer?? as any taxpayer who: (1) maintains its headquarters in the United States; (2) pays at least 60% of the health care premiums of its employees; (3) observes a policy requiring neutrality in employee organizing drives; (4) maintains or increases the number of its full-time workers in the United States relative to its full-time workers outside of the United States; (5) provides full differential salary and insurance benefits for all National Guard and Reserve employees called to active duty; and (6) provides its employees with a certain level of compensation and retirement benefits

More testimony on misclassification Posted by on

New Hampshire Congressman Paul Hodes recently held a meeting in his district to hear about the issue of misclassification in the construction industry. Ashley Smith of the Nashua Telegraph covered the event. Her story, quoted below, can be read here.

Mario Plante owns a contracting company in Hudson, but he turns to
Massachusetts for most of his business.

It's nearly impossible to
land a job in New Hampshire because too many of his competitors avoid paying
workers compensation insurance by illegally classifying their employees as
independent contractors, Plante said. That cuts their costs by about 30 percent,
making it easier to come in low on every project bid, he said.

Mass AG issues advisory on OSHA 10 requirement Posted by on

In August 2008, the AGO issued "An Advisory from the Massachusetts Attorney General's Fair Labor Division on Chapter 306 of the Acts of 2004, An Act Relative to the Health and Safety on Public Construction Projects, 2008/2."

Chapter 306 of the Acts of 2004, An Act Relative to the Health and Safety on Public Construction Projects, (the "Act") requires employees who work on public construction sites in Massachusetts to have completed a 10 hour course in construction safety approved by the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA) and requires employers to certify that employees will do this. The Advisory provides guidance on which employees must have the OHSA training and how employees can demonstrate they have taken the training, the documents employers need to submit to comply and the manner in which the Attorney General will enforce the Act. The Advisory was issued after extensive meetings and discussion with stakeholders in the construction industry and with unions.

The Advisory can be viewed online in pdf format here.

Connecticut serious about stopping cheats Posted by on

The Connecticut Department of Labor has made aggressive and effective use of a new law in that state to curtail tax and insurance problems in the construction industry by those who intentionally misclassify employees as independent contractors.

Following compliance checks at construction sites throughout the state, the
Connecticut Department of Labor has issued ??stop work orders?? to 60 companies
this year for failing to comply with workers?? compensation requirements.

According to Gary Pechie, Director of the agency??s Wage and Workplace Standards:

??The legislation is effective in helping the Labor Department improve working conditions on construction sites, and helps to ensure that employers who violate state laws do not have an unfair advantage over others.??

Did You Know? Posted by on

There are a number of claims to the inventor of the pile driver. A mechanically sound drawing of a pile driver appeared as early as 1475 in Francesco di Giorgio Martini's treatise Trattato di Architectura. Also, several other prominent inventors James Nasmyth, watchmaker Sebastiaan Valouè, Count Giovan Battista Gazzola, and Leonardo da Vinci  have all been credited with inventing the device. However, there is evidence that a comparable device was used in the construction of Crannogs at Oakbank and Loch Tay in Scotland as early as 5000 years ago. Otis Tufts is credited with inventing the steam pile driver in the United States.

Source: Wikipedia

What We Do - Pile Driving / Diving Posted by on

Often the first workers on site, pile drivers drive metal sheet piling to hold back the dirt during excavations; drive concrete and metal piling as part of the foundation system for large buildings; drive wood and concrete piling to hold up docks, wharfs and bridges; and construct slurry wall systems.

In some cases they work on off-shore oil rigs and as commercial divers involve din underwater construction. Pile drivers are also required to install heavy timbers and weld or cut large metal beams.

What We Do - Floorcovering Posted by on

Installing carpeting, hardwood flooring and soft tiles and "linoleum-type" products made of vinyl and rubbers is the work of floorlayers. They install a wide range of decorative floor covering in commercial buildings, hotels, homes and churches. Union contractors and members are also available to install specialty flooring for hospitals, labs and computer environments.

A few years ago, the United Brotherhood of Carpenters worked with flooring contractors and major manufacturers of flooring products to develop a certification process for flooring installation. The INSTALL program (International Standards & Training Alliance) was designed to show that certified flooring installers were capable of the high quality work demanded by end users.

Every member who graduates from Local 2168's apprenticeship program is INSTALL certified and the leadership of the local is suggesting all members increase work opportunities by becoming INSTALL certified.

Mass AG settles wage case Posted by on

Olympic Painting and Roofing, a company NERCC has long been chasing for misclassifying and cheating workers, pled guilty yesterday to failing to get proper workers' compensation insurance as part of a settlement with Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley's office.

The settlement also included Olympic agreeing to pay 69 workers close to $50,000 in owed overtime pay. They will also pay fines of more than $11,000 in fines and will be barred from obtaining public work for three years.

NERCC Organizers have been following Olympic for several years, finding them one of the worst actors in the industry. Their "business model" is largely based in exploitation of immigrant workers who do not understand their rights or feel helpless to protect them.

Olympic has been the subject of several TV and print news stories about their misdeeds. Despite a front page article in the Boston Globe detailing that they were being investigated by the Massachusetts Attorney General, they were hired by former Governor Mitt Romney to paint his tony Belmont mansion.

In 1988, Olympic's owner pled guilty "to workers' compensation fraud charges, failing to pay unemployment tax contributions, and other violations" according to today's article in the Globe.

Did You Know? Posted by on

"More concrete is used than any other man-made material in the world. As of 2006, about 7 cubic kilometers of concrete are made each year more than one cubic meter for every person on Earth...More than 55,000 miles of highways in America are paved with this material."

Source: Wikipedia