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NH fends off RTW: Wall St Journal takes notice Posted by on

Still unable to muster the votes to override a veto by Governor John Lynch, New Hampshire Speaker of the House William O'Brien has put off until a special session after the summer any effort to pass so-called "Right to Work" legislation.

O'Brien, a Republican, had promised a swift override, but did not deliver scheduled votes on several occasions. He may struggle to find the votes in the fall, as well, according to one Republican quoted in a Wall Street Journal article today:

"Lee Quandt, a GOP House member from Exeter, N.H., voted against the bill. "New Hampshire is doing very well without it," he said, noting the state unemployment rate is 4.8%. He said many of the state's 63,000 union members, including many police and firemen, vote Republican.

"You don't pick up money and support by sticking it to thousands and thousands of Republicans," Mr. Quandt said. "There's a pretty strong group of Republicans that are not budging."

Carabetta raided, latest problem for CT developer Posted by on

The Carabetta companies have been raided by the FBI and the IRS. It is the latest in a series of problems for Carabetta and their projects.

In April, nine Stop Work orders were issued against nine Carabetta subcontractors on a New London housing project only months after three Stop Work orders were issued against Carabetta subcontractors for similar offenses on a different NEw London housing project.

Both the Meriden Record-Journal and the Hartford Courant had coverage, including details of Carabetta's troubled financial and legal past.

Congratulations Bruins! Posted by on

A special image was placed on the Carpenters Center today to greet commuters and offer a tip of the cap to Boston's latest championship team.

Replacement OSHA cards Posted by on

Members who have lost their OSHA certification cards should contact their local training program to obtain replacements. Members who are not able to produce their OSHA card could be prevented you from working.

OSHA has guidelines for obtaining replacement cards that members should be aware of." From page 15 of the linked document:

"Replacement student course completion cards will not be issued if the training took place more than three years ago. Trainers must provide their name, the student??s name, the training date, and the type of class to receive a replacement. Only one replacement may be issued per student. A fee may be charged by the Authorizing Training Organization to replace a course completion card."

TAGS: Osha, Training

Become a Union Carpenters' Apprentice Posted by on

Become skilled in a trade, and get paid to do it.
Benefits of Apprenticeship:

  • Paid "scholarship" - no or low-cost supervised training
  • Progressively increasing wage with excellent benefits
  • Nationally recognized credential - completion of Apprenticeship Certificate
  • Improved job security and standard of living
  • Opportunity for college credit
  • Pride and Dignity

Who: Anyone age 17 or older who is a High School graduate or has a GED, or has completed of a prejob preparatory course in Carpentry of at least six (6) months, such as United Brotherhood of Carpenters (UBC), Job Corps, or other approved carpentry apprentice preparatory course, or on-the-job training of six (6) months or 1500 hours experience in the construction field that would qualify an applicant as having met the minimum educational requirements. Women, minorities and veterans are strongly encouraged to apply.

How do I apply?
Applicants must attend an informational session at 6:00 PM on any one of the following Wednesday evenings:
June 22, 2011
July 27, 2011
August 24, 2011
September 28, 2011
October 26, 2011
November 30, 2011
January 25, 2012
at the New England Carpenters Training Center, 13 Holman Rd, Millbury, MA 01527

What is a Carpenters?? Apprenticeship?
Apprenticeship is a training program where you earn wages while you learn to become a skilled carpenter. Apprenticeship combines classroom studies with on-the-job training supervised by a trade professional. Much like a college education, it takes several years to become fully trained in the trade that you choose. Unlike college, though, as an apprentice you??ll earn while you learn. At first, you??ll make less money than skilled workers; but as you progress, you??ll get regular raises. Once you have mastered the craft, you will receive professional wages.

Carpenters Union:
The United Brotherhood of Carpenters is North America??s largest building-trades union, with more than a half-million members in the construction and wood-products industries. We recognize that for the union to remain strong, our signatory contractors need to succeed in today??s highly competitive marketplace ?C and our signatory contractors do that with workers committed to safety, productivity, and the proud legacy of our Brotherhood. Skills, safety, and productivity have brought our members fair wages, good benefits, and dignity in work and retirement since the Brotherhood was founded in 1881.

Equal Opportunity:
The Massachusetts Carpenters Apprenticeship and Training Fund (MCATF) is committed to equal opportunity for applicants. The recruitment, selection and training of apprentices during their apprenticeship shall be without discrimination because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, creed, handicap, marital status, ancestry, sexual orientation, arrest record, conviction record, or membership in the military forces of the United States. MCATF will take affirmative action to provide equal opportunity in apprenticeship, and we will operate the apprenticeship program as required under Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 30 and all other applicable laws.

For more information about Apprenticeship, contact:
MA Carpenters Apprenticeship and Training Fund
13 Holman Rd, STE 100
Millbury, MA 01527
(978) 752-1197

TAGS: Training

Mortgage help becoming available to unemployed/underemployed Posted by on

About a year ago, Congress passed the Emergency Homeowners' Loan Program (EHLP) to provide no interest, forgivable loans to unemployed/underemployed homeowners to prevent foreclosures. Initiated by the Massachusetts Communities Action Network (MCAN) and the Brockton Interfaith Community and championed by Congressman Barney Frank, the program has $1 billion in funding which will be spent this year.

Applications for the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) program will begin to be accepted later this month through the HUD website.These pre-applications will be due around July 22. Then a lottery will be held to choose homeowners who can get loans program. Homeowners chosen will have to submit certain named documents to show that they meet program qualifications.

More information is available here for those interested.

Attacks on Davis-Bacon, PLAs fail in US House Posted by on

Last week, the United States House of Representatives considered and defeated two amendments to the Homeland Security Appropriations Bill that would have weakened or eliminated prevailing wage protections or the use of Project Labor Agreements on federal construction projects.

Democrats were joined by a significant number of Republicans in defeating the two amendments. The vote on the Davis Bacon amendment was 183-234, with 52 Republicans joining all but one Democrat to prevent passage. The PLA language lost by a smaller, but still significant 207-213 vote. Twenty-eight Republicans joined Democrats on that vote.

Neither Republican Congressmen from New Hampshire--Charlie Bass or Frank Guinta--joined the side of union members to defeat the amendments. They are the only two Republican members of the House from New England.

RI members approve new contract Posted by on

Members of Carpenters Local 94 in Rhode Island unanimously ratified a new, two-year collective bargaining agreement at a meeting last Saturday. The contract was negotiated with the Associated General Contractors of Rhode Island and includes increases of $1.50 each year.

Seventy-five cents is being added to wages this month. The remaining seventy-five cents for the first year will be added to benefit contributions in January. The allocation for those increases will be determined in December by member vote.

The second year of the agreement is also schedule to include a wage increase of seventy-five cents in June and an increase to benefit contributions of seventy-five cents in January of 2013.

Language changes made to the agreement included mostly housekeeping issues such as a change from benefit stamps to electronic receipts for employer contributions to benefit funds.

The collective bargaining agreement with the Construction Industries of Rhode Island included a wage reopener, only. Wage and benefit changes negotiated as part of the AGC agreement will be applicable to the CCRI contract, but language changes will not.

Both the AGC and CCRI agreements will expire on June 2, 2013.

Appleby retires Posted by on

Brother Chuck Appleby has retired from the Brotherhood and his position as Business Manager of Carpenters Local 24 in Connecticut, effective June 1. A 31-year member of the UBC, Appleby was hired as an organizer in 1998 after participating in one of the New England Regional Council of Carpenters first three day evaluation and training sessions. He worked on the Connecticut Drywall Campaign as an organizer before becoming a Business Agent.

Appleby was the President of Carpenters Local 24 and was elected to the Executive Committee of the New England Regional Council of Carpenters' Executive Board in 1999, a position he has also resigned. He was also a Trustee on the Connecticut Carpenters Benefit Funds as well as a member of the negotiating committees for collective bargaining agreements in Connecticut.

Mark Erlich, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of NERCC has appointed Bob Beauregard to serve as Business Manager for Local 24 and Bruce Lydem to fill Appleby's seat of trustee on the Connecticut Combined Board.

More on Mayo Posted by on

The Mayo Group and owner John McGrail came under public scrutiny again in downtown Worcester when a group of nonunion carpenters set up a strike line outside the Bancroft Commons property at the end of last week and continued it earlier this week. Today, the carpenters demonstrated in front of Mayo's corporate headquarters in Dorchester.

The carpenters are owed $55,000 for work they did on the project for Ramirez Drywall. The subcontractor has not been paid for the work and so he has been unable to pay the workers.

Ramirez and the carpenters contacted NERCC Organizer Manny Gines for assistance, after seeing that the union had helped other workers receive owed wages recently.

Bancroft Commons is a major residential renovation project covering several blocks downtown, bordering Worcester Common and the Worcester Telegram and Gazette. The project has been the site of consistent problems.

Late in 2007, NERCC Organizers talked to nonunion carpenters on the site who were having issues with the way they were being paid. One carpenter told a reporter from the Worcester Telegram that "sometimes" taxes were taken out of his check. The story was given prominent coverage in the paper and Mayo began its strategy of portraying the union as the boogeyman to explain away issues on the job.

Several months later Clive McFarlane, a columnist for the Worcester Telegram, wrote a second piece in the paper, detailing allegations by more nonunion immigrant carpenters employed on the Bancroft Commons project. This time the story got worse. Three of them told McFarlane that they had not been paid wages owed for work they did for Mayo. They were each owed more than $1,700 and had filed complaints with the Attorney General's Office.

Things got worse in January of 2009, when the Mayo Group were indicted by a Worcester Grand Jury for improper handling and disposal of asbestos removed from the property. Investigators alleged that the company:
--failed to conduct a survey to determine whether asbestos was in the building
--threw demolition debris, which turned out to include asbestos, out of second story windows into an open dumpster
--scheduled asbestos to be disposed of at a landfill not approved for asbestos
--did not notify state authorities, as required by law, of asbestos demolition.
--ignored a stop work order from the state and continued to remove asbestos from areas of the building where residents were living.

McGrail and one of the Mayo Group Companies, JMRealty eventually pleaded guilty to several of the counts related to improper handling of asbestos, evasion of unemployment insurance, failure to provide pay records, and failure to withhold income tax. McGrail narrowly escaped jail time. He and JMRealty were fined $100,000 each and sentenced to three years of probation.

After the strike line was established last week in Worcester, representatives of the Mayo Group spoke to Ramirez and the carpenters, but did not pay them. When contacted by the Telegram and Worcester Magazine, Mayo suddenly claimed there were quality issues with the work produced and the issue was the result of the Carpenters union trying to exploit the situation.