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Apprenticeship Contest/Expo 2009 Posted by on

For more information about this year's Contest & Expo click here

TAGS: Training

Carpenters Center goes live with LED Display Posted by on

The Carpenters Union went live today with a major component of the Carpenters Center: a 32?? H x 21?? W transparent LED display. The display is located at the South side of the building and is visible to traffic traveling north along I-93.

A striking component of the building??s façade, the display is made up of horizontally-oriented LED sticks, offering superior brightness, contrast, and image quality. The display is perfectly suited for photographic images, both black and white and full color. It can handle millions of colors.

The horizontal orientation and spacing of the LED sticks allows for 53% transparency, while supporting an average of 40mm resolution. Technology evaluations provided the necessary image quality at viewing distances of 150??, or equal to the distance that passing cars will be viewing the display from the highway.

Looking out to the Expressway from inside the building.

There are only one or two transparent LED installations in the US which are approximately half the resolution of this display and 1/3 the potential brightness - making this sign clearly visible in the middle of the day.

The Carpenters Center display will meet all Federal Highway mandates including the minimum length of time an image must be displayed, known as the digital billboard??s ??hold time.?? The industry??s average digital displays hold time is 8 seconds.

Federal Highway Administration regulates digital display??s brightness by mandating that all digital displays be adjusted to compliment ambient light levels. This display??s brightness levels will be scheduled by a content delivery system that is able to adjust the brightness of the display to match the ambient light levels. This will ensure that the display??s brightness is appropriate to the time of day and seasonal light levels.

Selection and implementation of the LED Display was done with strong consideration given to its impact on the surrounding neighborhood. The display will have no paid advertising content and the brightness levels will comply with the regulations mentioned above.

"We want the sign to send a message about who we are, what we do, and our connections to the communities we live and work in,?? notes Mark Erlich, NERCC Executive Secretary-Treasurer.

Violation of 40B will cost developers $2m+ Posted by on

Two of the larger locally-based residential developers in Massachusetts will pay more than $2 million to settle charges they improperly profited on an affordable housing project. Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley??s office announced the settlement, which was also reported in the Boston Herald.

Edward A. Fish and Francis X. Messina are partners in Commerce Park Housing Associates, a company which built the Turtle Crossing condo project in Braintree, taking advantage of the state??s 40B laws.

Chapter 40B allows residential developers to bypass many local approval processes if their project includes a minimum number of affordable units and the city or town does not already have a certain level of affordable housing units. It also caps the profits developers are able to garner at 20% of the total project costs.

An investigation by the AGs office found that several costs billed to the project by companies related to the developers appeared to be excessive. Though the reported profit on the project was only 19%, according to the Herald story: ??Richard Heaton, a private consultant hired by the town, said the developers may have made a bigger profit by hiring their own companies and then paying them well beyond competitive rates.

??For example, Heaton wrote in a 2006 report, the $3 million in real-estate sales commissions that Fish and Messina paid Peabody Properties, a real estate sales firm that Fish owns, ??appears to be excessive.??

Drug testing does nothing to test impairment. Drug... Posted by on

Drug testing does nothing to test impairment. Drug testing should be required only when performance is lacking or after an accident. Like alcohol, moderate use of drugs by employees during non-work hours should be of little concern for most employers.

Those who give up a little liberty for the sake of a little security deserve neither.

Carpenters to rally for jobs Posted by on

Union Carpenters will participate in a rally to support destination casinos prior to a hearing at the State House this Thursday, October 29.

The rally will being at 8:00 am on the steps of the State House by Boston Common.

TAGS: Casino

Unions in the middle of health care debate Posted by on

From the Hill...

Organized labor is flexing its muscle in Senate negotiations over healthcare reform and winning important concessions from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

Reid has not given labor unions everything. But he has done enough to keep them from turning completely against the bill: including a version of the government-run health insurance program; raising the taxable level on high-cost insurance plans; and increasing the penalty for those companies that fail to provide health insurance to employees.

Keeping labor unions, a reliable Democratic-base group, on his side is an important accomplishment for Reid as he heads into a multi-week floor debate on the party??s biggest legislative priority. If unions were provoked to oppose the bill??s central provisions, it could tear apart the Senate Democratic Conference, pitting liberals against centrists.

Labor unions have put heavy pressure on Reid and other Senate Democrats to move away from the more centrist Senate Finance Committee bill and move closer to legislation approved by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee.

Read the rest of the story here.

I'm always interested in how windows are insta... Posted by on

I'm always interested in how windows are installed because I'm thinking of having my house remodeled. Thanks for this.

Then and Now Posted by on

March 5, 2009

October 23, 2009

Sidewalk poured, landscaping to begin Posted by on

At the end of last week, S&F Concrete poured a section of sidewalk connecting the Pavilion to the city sidewalk as well as the patio adjacent to the Pavilion. Additionally, they poured the sidewalks adjacent to the parking deck and prepared the area for landscaping.

Tress will be planted along the perimeter of the patio and alongside the ramp entrance to the parking deck.

Erlich speaks at Progressives for Menino event Posted by on

Unemployment running out on Americans Posted by on

While 7,000 people a day run out of unemployment benefits, the Congress continues to bicker over how they'll extend them. From

One month after the House passed a bill extending unemployment benefits, the issue is still being debated in the Senate.

Democratic leaders in the Senate introduced a bill two weeks ago to lengthen benefits in all states by 14 weeks. Those that live in states with unemployment greater than 8.5% would receive an additional six weeks.

Senate Republicans, who twice objected to swift passage of the bill by unanimous consent, want to add several amendments. Their requests include paying for the increased benefits with stimulus funds rather than by extending a longstanding federal unemployment tax through June 2011.

While leaders in both parties are trying to negotiate a compromise, Senate Democrats Wednesday evening took a step to limit the debate on the bill and bring it to the floor as early as the end of next week. If it passes, the Senate legislation must then be reconciled with the House version, which extends benefits by 13 weeks for those living in high-unemployment states.

Asphalt to be placed at parking deck Posted by on

Last week, a crew working with S&F Concrete completed the final pour at the parking deck. Asphalt is scheduled to be placed this week in the lower level of the deck up to the ramp.

As explained in an earlier post, visitors will enter from Dorchester Ave and drive on to the top level of the parking deck. The entryway ramp will be centered to the parking deck. The ramp itself is 32 feet wide, to accommodate traffic in either direction coming in and out of the garage, by approximately 25 feet long.

The upper parking deck will have 46 parking spaces and there will be 43 spaces in the lower deck. There will be an additional 6 spaces separate from the parking garage at the North end of the building.

The majority of the parking deck, including the entire upper parking deck is a concrete surface. One section, however, from the base of the ramp at the south side of the parking deck down to the lower level and the first section of the parking decking will be bituminous asphalt. In the lower level of parking deck along the abutter??s side, two vent windows were put in place to create cross ventilation. Asphalt will smoke and burn during a fire, so fire code requires proper ventilation in areas asphalt will be used.

Due to the concrete retaining wall along the north section, the lower level in this area of the garage will be concrete, which will crack under heat but will not smoke/burn as asphalt does.

The blueprint below highlights the area of the ramp and lower level of the garage that will be covered in asphalt instead of concrete. The pink highlights indicate the vent windows along the abutter??s side of the garage. The rendering below the prints shows that the Expressway side of the lower parking deck will be open, allowing air to move freely into the space.

Facts about the Exterior - Cedar Posted by on

As previously posted, Sunrise Erectors also began installing cedar siding between windows on the West side of the building. Cedar accents were selected to help this side of the building conform to the look of the residential neighborhood. The cedar will be installed between windows on the third floor and in a section along the bottom of the windows on the second floor down to the Pavilion level.

Here is some information about the cedar being installed:

  • The western red cedar has a custom tongue and groove shape, giving it a unique appearance and stronger interlocking connection than typical tongue and groove products.
  • The cedar is from 100 year old trees and has roughly 15 rings per inch, making it a long-lasting product with an expected lifetime of 50 years.
  • The cedar sealant is a water-soluble silicone based water-proofer that is less harsh on the environment than oil based products and emits no VOCs.

Information provided by Sunrise Erectors.

McGraw Hill gives glimmer of hope for '10 Posted by on

Some segments of the construction industry could rebound and show some growth in 2010 according to a report on the Wall Street Journal on McGraw Hill forecast. The report is the one of the few positive indicators for an industry that has been hit harder than almost any other.

According to the WSJ article, the report indicates growth in single-family houses, apartment buildings, and highways and bridges next year help to offset continued building struggles in the commercial and manufacturing sectors.

The value of construction starts this year was expected to be down 25% by year??s end in comparison to 2008. McGraw Hill projects a possible increase 11%increase in the value of construction starts in 2010.

WSJ article and the McGraw Hill study require subscription or purchase.

Does the gov't fear unions? Posted by on

David Macary makes the case that they do.

Here's part of what he has to say...

The truth is, the government fears and distrusts organized labor. Why? Because a powerful workers?? collective threatens the status quo. The federal government (and the corporations who run it) fear labor unions the way our country??s founders feared the common man, which was why they invented a device (the Electoral College) allowing them to circumvent the popular vote when necessary.

And why he thinks it's a problem...
But the irony is so thick you can cut it with a knife. With the middle-class now under siege, organized labor isn??t the problem, it??s the cure. And it??s more than simple economics. It??s ethics. If Wall Street had been as law-abiding as our labor unions, there??s no banking collapse. If Wall Street had been as ??honest?? as the average American worker, there??s no crisis, no bail-out, no liquidation of financial institutions.

You can read his entire piece here.

TAGS: Unions

LED Display Installed Posted by on

At the end of last week the LED display was installed at the Carpenters Center.

Crews unload a section of the LED display.

The sign is 32??H x 21??W and arrived on site in 5 separate sections. The display is made up of horizontally-oriented LED sticks, seen below in a close-up photo.

The sign has superior brightness, contrast, and image quality, while allowing for greater than 50% transparency and supporting an average of 40mm resolution. Technology evaluations provided the necessary image quality at viewing distances of 150??, or equal to the distance that passing cars will be viewing the display from the highway.

Although it is 50% transparent, it is capable of displaying a 400 x 600 pixel image. The display can handle millions of colors.

The display will be the highest-resolution transparent LED display in the world and will be seen by over 280,000 viewers per day. There are only one or two transparent LED installations in the US which are approximately half the resolution of this display and 1/3 the potential brightness - making this sign clearly visible in the middle of the day.

The Carpenters Center display will meet all Federal Highway mandates including the minimum length of time an image must be displayed, known as the digital billboard??s ??hold time.?? The industry??s average digital displays hold time is 8 seconds.

Federal Highway Administration regulates digital display??s brightness by mandating that all digital displays be adjusted to compliment ambient light levels. This display??s brightness levels will be scheduled by a content delivery system that is able to adjust the brightness of the display to match the ambient light levels. This will ensure that the display??s brightness is appropriate to the time of day and seasonal light levels.

Information provided by Sensory Interactive.

Advocating for unions to young Americans Posted by on

A piece in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette titled "Young people need unions" by Michael Fedor and Jennifer Jannon makes some interesting points many may take for granted.

In school, most of us weren't taught that America's working people, united in unions, fought to win weekends off, the 40-hour work week, the minimum wage and safe workplaces. Nor were we taught that union members now earn 30 percent more and are 52 percent more likely to have employer-provided health insurance than nonunion workers. Or that for women and people of color, the best guarantee of equal pay for equal work is a union contract.

Even worse is the constant drumbeat that union workers make more money that those outside unions and that that's a bad thing.

TAGS: Unions

Globe covers union endorsements in Mass Senate race Posted by on

Which candidate has more union endorsements? How many members are represented by those endorsements? What's the union endorsement breakdown by industry? And what does it all mean?

Boston Globe political columnist Brian Mooney takes on all of these questions. Mooney's been around Boston, politics and unions a while. He's even been one of the more active union members over at the Globe lately.

Coakley??s union strength is based in the building trades and in the transportation and hospitality industries, because of her aggressive enforcement of the state??s wage laws, a lesser priority for her predecessors. Her office issues news releases at a rate of almost one a week, announcing charges or settlements with companies engaged in fraudulent employment practices, such as misclassifying employees as independent contractors or failing to contribute to insurance for unemployment and workers?? compensation.

Capuano??s voting record in Congress has earned him a 97 percent career rating from the AFL-CIO, and his labor support cuts across several industries, in part because he has voted against most of the United States?? trade agreements with other nations. Manufacturing and industrial-sector unions say those agreements place American workers at a competitive disadvantage because of cheap labor in countries such as Mexico and China.

??Coakley gets great credit with the building trades for being much better on [wage and hour law enforcement], but she doesn??t have all the building trades, and Capuano has experience in broader issues that come before Congress,???? Haynes said.

Facts about the Exterior Posted by on

  • There is over 27,000 square feet of insulation and membrane on the building.
  • There are 866 metal panels total, and their typical dimensions are roughly 2?? x 15??.
  • The largest panel sits at the top corner of the sloped wall near the highway: in addition to the face of the panel, it spans 45 inches over the parapet.
  • Most corner panels need their own box truck to arrive on the site without incurring any damage.
  • The paint colors for Carpenters Center metal panels took months to refine to achieve the level of gloss and shine that we see on the building today.
  • Some vertical members of the entry pavilion curtain wall weigh upwards of 700 lbs each.
  • The largest pieces of glass weight over 200 lbs each.

Information provided by Sunrise Erectors.

Snow job by Kal-Vin at Stowe? Posted by on

Kal-Vin Construction Management has run into more bad publicity, this time in Vermont, where they have been hired to perform work at Stowe Mountain Resort??s Spruce Peak project. The Stowe Reporter ran a story on Thursday after NERCC organizers and members were handing out leaflets questioning the use of Kal-Vin at the resort by the general contractor, Pizzigalli Construction. (Stowe Reporter requires free registration)

The leaflet brought to light the fact that Stowe Mountain Resort is owned by AIG, the now-infamous financial services company which was given direct payments or credit lines of more than $150 billion. Interesting that AIG continued to pay out a similar amount in retention payments and bonuses to employees and then a company notorious for cutting corners on carpenters by skirting tax and insurance laws does work for them.

The company, which operates under the names Kal-Vin, GNPB and Northrock, has apparently changed strategies and is now using more of a ??no comment?? strategy when dealing with unpleasant media inquiries. They refused to comment for the Stow Reporter story.

Just two weeks ago, when a story was being reported about their use of subcontractors who misclassify workers, a spokesperson would not deny the allegation, saying only they ??couldn??t speak on that.??

Also last month, one of their subcontractors working on a Hyatt Place in Montville, Connecticut??Matrix Interior Construction??was issued a Stop Work order for violations of workers compensation and independent contractor laws. An owner of that company has also been involved in a major drug case, after he sold oxycontin to undercover law enforcement agents.

2009 Apprenticeship Contest/Expo Winners Posted by on

On October 1-3, 2009 the New England Carpenters Training Center in Millbury, MA hosted the annual Apprenticeship Contest and Exposition.

Fourth year apprentices from local unions throughout New England competed in five categories, General Carpentry, Interior Systems, Interior Finish, Concrete Forms, and Floor Covering. Demonstrations were put on by Pile Drivers Local 56 and Carpenters Local 94.

Thirty-six high schools attended the Expo on Friday. It is estimated that nearly 1,000 students, instructors and advisors toured the facilities. NERCC staff gave the students guided tours of the facilities at the training center while the contest participants were working on their projects. Upon completion of their tours, each student had lunch courtesy of the Training Center.

Visitors were able to stop by various informational booths including those put on by the Carpenters Health Benefits Fund, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, First Trade Union Bank, the Sisters in the Brotherhood, and the Carpenters Assistance Program.

Thanks to the Local Unions and contractors who supported the contest.

The winners were as follows:

General Carpentry
1st ?C Matthew Malinn ?C Local 40
2nd ?C Matthew Calistro ?C Local 107
3rd ?C David Kulikowski ?C Local 67

Interior Systems
1st ?C Jack Day ?C Local 33
2nd ?C Christopher Gallo ?C Local 24
3rd ?C Joshua Gerrish ?C Local 475

Interior Finish
1st Justin Germond ?C Local 43
2nd Robert Keaney ?C Local 33
3rd ?C Andrew Croteau ?C Local 26

Concrete Forms
1st ?C James Karpicky ?C Local 210
2nd ?C Jonathan Thibault ?C Local 107
3rd ?C Brian Rogers ?C Local 275

Floor Coverers
1st ?C James Navarro ?C Local 2168
2nd ?C Rigoberto Henriquez ?C Local 2168
3rd ?C Angel Ramos ?C Local 43

Al Halpern Award ?C James Navarro ?C Local 2168

TAGS: Training

The Exterior of the Carpenters Center Posted by on

From Suzanne O??Leary, Assistant Project Manager, Sunrise Erectors:
The Carpenters Center exterior is comprised of metal panel rainscreen, cedar tongue and groove rainscreen, curtain wall and storefront systems.

Alucobond panels are the primary material in the metal panel rainscreen, which we receive in the form of flat stock. The rainscreen acts as a second shell to the building, protecting the first layer from weathering and heavy moisture. Any moisture that does penetrate the rainscreen is allowed to dry out through various vents.

Sunrise Erectors fabricates each panel and piece of furring from flat material in their shop in Canton, MA before assembling and installing it. The panel colors were meticulously formulated and have a substantial amount of metallic fleck, adding to the range of each color as go past the building, similar to car paint.

Photo Recap - September Posted by on

68%! Posted by on

As of September 30th, construction of the Carpenters Center is 68% complete!

NNE carpenters ratify new agreement Posted by on

Members in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine last night voted to ratify a new collective bargaining agreement negotiated with contractors working in the three Northern New England states. More than 88% of members voting cast a ballot to accept the three-year agreement, which will provide a $3.90 increase in the total wage and benefit package.

The financial increase is proportionally equivalent to those negotiated in other new agreements throughout the New England Regional Council of Carpenters this year. They will cover anticipated increases in benefit costs over the next three years.

Each year of the agreement $1.30 will be added to the total package, with increases coming in October and April. An immediate increase of $0.65, will be added to hourly pension contributions and $0.02 will be added to wages. The remaining $0.63 from the first and year will be added to hourly health benefit contributions on April 1, 2010. The increases of $1.30 in the second and third year will be divided and allocated by members at a future date.

The agreement also includes language to cover tide work and offshore work, clearly defining shifts, wage and overtime requirements and working conditions for those areas of work.