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Carpenters And Hillary: Building A Strong America

This week the United Brotherhood of Carpenters posted this video urging members and other labor enthusiasts to join them is supporting Hillary Clinton for President.

The Carpenters join dozens of other national labor unions who have come out in support of Hillary Clinton.

‘National Women in Apprenticeship Day’ A Huge Success


On November 5th, America celebrated the inaugural National Women in Apprenticeship Day. President Obama, along with over a dozen Governors and Mayors, made proclamations praising the Building Trades apprentice programs.

NH Gov Hassan NWAD Proclamation 11.3.15“We recognize the ways apprenticeships foster innovation and prosperity, and we recommit to encouraging and supporting those who offer and partake in them,” proclaimed President Obama.

Across the country, the Department of Labor and local union activists, organized events to focus on the benefits for women of becoming an apprentice.

“The success of National Women in Apprenticeship Day can be measured by the supportive proclamations from governors & mayors, by the reach of 2.2 million impressions on social media, by the celebratory events held all over the country, by the 200,000 cars every day who passed by two different Boston union’s billboards each day last week, and by the enthusiasm with which tradeswomen all over the US shared “selfies” and stories from the job,” said Elizabeth Skidmore, Business Representative for the New England Regional Council of Carpenters.

“Events like National Women in Apprenticeship Day make concrete the growing support for advancing women in the trades,” Skidmore added.

In Boston, the Women’s Bureau and Office of Apprenticeship co-hosted a conversation on Women in Apprenticeship. Public sector leaders from U.S. Department of Labor, EEOC, and state, city, and county officials discussed examples of successful apprenticeship programs and some challenges women still face in entry and retention in many occupational fields.

In Lowell, MA the Women’s Bureau and the Greater Lowell Workforce Investment Board convened a roundtable discussion focused on Apprenticeships in Manufacturing.

Some of the other events included:

  • In Berkeley, CA the Women’s Bureau collaborated on an open house called Celebrating Women in Apprenticeship, which showcased the federal role in promoting apprenticeship and enforcing equal employment opportunity for women and minorities within the building trades.
  • In New York City, the Women’s Bureau attended an event hosted by Nontraditional Employment for Women called “Advancing Women in the Trades: Building on Success” to help increase awareness of and access to nontraditional occupations among women.
  • In Denton, TX, Women’s Bureau spoke at the National Apprenticeship Week event hosted by Power Line Holdings (PLH) Group at Northwest Lineman College.
  • In Philadelphia, the Women’s Bureau spoke at an open house at the Finishing Trades Institute and the District 1199C Training and Upgrading Fund’s Career Fair, which featured guest speakers and previous apprentices.

tipxsThe main focus of the National Women in Apprenticeship Day is to encourage more women to become skilled laborers. 47% of the national workforce is made up of women, yet only make up 4% of the building trades workforce nationally.

Thousands of women are taking the first step towards pay equity, while climbing the economic ladder to the middle class, by becoming an apprentice in one of the many Building Trades unions.

Last year the Building Trades began training 430,000 new apprentices, up nearly 50,000 from the previous year. On top of that, women now make up over 9% of all new apprentices. The National Taskforce on Tradeswomen Issues wants to raise that to “20 percent by 2020.”

There are a few of compelling reasons that women are choosing careers in the Building Trades.

  • The Building Trades offer women an opportunity to learn a valuable skill without years in college and the burden of thousands of dollars in student loans.
  • A women in the building trades has the potential to make $1.2 million dollars more in her lifetime than if she worked in a typical “woman’s” job such as childcare or food service.
  • Get paid while you learn. Apprentices on average earn more than $50,000 upon program completion, and have been shown to increase their compensation by approximately $300,000 over their lifetime compared to someone not completing an apprenticeship.
  • 90% of apprentice graduates enter and sustain meaningful employment.

All across the country, the unions of the Building Trades, are helping young workers find good careers in the Building Trades.

page_8plq95zy0z_1446225077Specifically here in New Hampshire a group of unions have come together to start a new program to give women a chance to see what a career in the Building Trades would look like. The program, Building Pathways, is a six-week class where participants get hands on experience learning about the different trade unions.

Last year, Annastashia Parke felt her life was headed in the wrong direction. She could not afford to attend college but knew she needed to do something more than working in a variety of low-wage jobs. She learned of the Building Pathways program, signed up, completed the pre-apprentice course and now is a second year apprentice with the Ironworkers Local 7 in Boston.

“I am a woman apprentice who is thrilled and grateful to be where she is,” she wrote. “Apprenticeships work; they are a pathway, unknown to many, and it’s about time we speak up!”

At The NALC Convention, Letter Carriers Show Their Support For All Workers


Having  just returned from Philadelphia and an NALC Convention that was inspiring.  I am struck by the fact that Letter Carrier solidarity towards our political fight  for survival has continued to strengthen since our last convention in 2012. What has also increased in intensity is the national war on workers. Battlegrounds were all around us, many speakers at the convention relayed stories about attacks on worker rights and when we stepped outside we saw visible proof with the Carpenters Union picketing the convention center and UNITE HERE picketing the Radisson Warwick Blu which was one of our host hotels. Clearly all our grievances are connected.


Senator Bernie Sanders speaking at the NALC convention

Senator Bernie Sanders delivered a fiery speech which was interrupted multiple times with standing ovations by the nearly 7000 delegates.”Well, I’ve got a message for Mr. Donahoe,” Sanders said. “At a time when the middle class is disappearing and the number of Americans living in poverty is at an all-time high, do not destroy middle-class jobs at the Postal Service. At a time when senior citizens and small businesses depend on the Postal Service operating six-days a week, do not end Saturday mail. At a time when the Postal Service is competing with the instantaneous communications of e-mail and high-speed Internet services, do not slow down the delivery of mail, speed it up. And do not dismantle the Postal Service by shutting down a quarter of the mail processing plants left in this country.”

The address by National Postal Mail Handlers Union President John Hegarty stressed the importance of the newly signed postal alliance which has all four postal unions working together to save the Postal Service. “The Postal Union Alliance puts it out there for all to see; we are united and we can’t be defeated.”



NH State Association of Letter Carriers members Wayne Alterisio and Lew Henry stand with locked out Carpenters

Outside the convention center was a group of locked out carpenters. The Carpenters union which was locked out  seems to have a valid grievance and is currently in court trying to end their lock out. By some reports the Carpenters have been vigilant in contract enforcement and this may have played a role in the hard-line stand  from the convention center. In the spirit of solidarity the carpenters were enthusiastic participants with Letter Carriers and community groups in the Stop Staples rally held on Wednesday. The most contentious issue in their negotiations was a clause to allow increased low wage temporary workers.

NALC3A mile away UNITE HERE organized a  boisterous rally at the Radisson  Warwick Blu Hotel on Friday. The contagious spirit was reminiscent of early OWS in NYC . The workers are in difficult contract negotiations looking for a fair contract with job security. Workers are looking for protection from contracting out their jobs to low wage workers. For a company that is making millions of dollars a year giving its workers a fair contract should not be an issue. This is the latest example that corporate greed is always an obstacle to fairness.

All these workers realize that prosperity spreads  from the middle class out not from the top down. If trickle down economics works we would be flooded in jobs at the present time. The wealthy have not owned such a high percentage of our nations wealth since before the Great Depression of the 20’s. With the extreme wealthy making money at unparalleled rate why wouldn’t they pay their workers a fair wage.

At a workshop local fast food workers outlined their plight against the reckless greed that has run rampant through their industry. A moving presentation from a fast food worker who was fired last week from his job for participating in activism to raise the minimum wage. It was eye-opening. He has two small children and was trying to survive on $7.25 an hour. In reality he had no choice but to fight to raise the wage. He had nothing to lose.

Corporate owned politicians are hell-bent on eliminating public services and replacing those union middle class jobs with low pay, no benefit, non-union jobs. It is accelerating the race to the bottom. In the private sector turning middle class jobs into temp jobs is happening at an alarming rate.  How can the ultra wealthy not comprehend  they are creating an unsustainable economic structure?

Our economic system can either make many people prosper for a long period of time or a few prosper for a short time. Judging by the building wave of economic discontent the clock is starting to run out on our plutocracy.

Union Carpenters Use Influence To Create Jobs

There are many advantages to being a union member.  Union members tend to be higher paid, more skilled, and have higher safety requirements in the workplace.  The building trades especially are one of the most volatile industries.  When the economy tanks, companies (public and private) tend not to due large construction projects.  This is when being a union member is most beneficial.

The New England Regional Council of Carpenters (NERCC) is proud of the work they do.  Most recently they also helped create hundreds of construction jobs and even more long term jobs.  They NERCC  helped the city of Bridgeport to move forward on a project.

The project, the Fairchild Wheeler Multi-Magnet High School, is the largest school project in  Connecticut state history.   The building alone is over 340,000 square feet and will take two years to complete.  Along with the building’s massive size they are also constructing new and innovative technologies for energy.

The most important part of this story is the work that the NERCC did to get the project off the ground.  Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch said “The political action of the trade unions especially the Carpenter local 210 was really important, because the approval process was bogged down….Without the trade union support we would not be standing here building this school right now.

The Business Representative for Carpenters local 210, Mike Robinson, talked about making their presence known.  Robinson said “We probably had 50 plus carpenters at those meetings and it was very pivotal in getting this job through.”

This project is about helping Bridgeport workers.  With hundreds of carpenter hours over the next two to three years and the fact that over 60% of the workers are from Bridgeport,  this is a huge boost to Bridgeport’s economy.

Mayor Finch is also proud of the fact that Bridgeport uses union workers, prevailing wages, and Project Labor Agreements.  He said  through a PLA “we get a job done on time, and on budget.”

Once again the Carpenters Union how effective collective bargaining and grassroots efforts can be in creating new jobs and economic recovery.

NH-GOV: Carpenters Local 118 Endorses Maggie Hassan for Governor

I just wanted to share this press release from Democrat Candidate for Governor Maggie Hassan.  She has been endorsed by the United Brotherhood of Carpenters Local 118.


Monday, March 26, 2012      603-518-5805
Carpenters Local 118 Endorses Maggie Hassan for Governor
MANCHESTER, NH – Democratic candidate for Governor Maggie Hassan has earned the support of the Carpenters Local 118 – the first labor endorsement in the campaign for governor. The Local 118 endorsement represents the support of all union carpenters in the New England Regional Council of Carpenters and the United Brotherhood of Carpenters.  There are approximately 3,000 union carpenters in New Hampshire. 
“Carpenters Local 118 is thrilled to announce our strong support for Maggie Hassan for Governor,” said Joseph Donahue, representative of the Carpenters Union. “We’ve worked with many candidates and public officials over the years and Maggie’s record as a State Senator and Senate Majority Leader is second to none in demonstrating a firm commitment to New Hampshire’s working families.”
“There is too much at stake for any of us to sit on the sidelines in this election. We need to support a leader who can win in November and that leader is Maggie Hassan,” said Donahue.  “The Carpenters are looking forward to working closely with Maggie and her campaign to elect her the next Governor of New Hampshire.”
“I’m honored to have earned the support of the Carpenters,” said Hassan. “They represent some of the best and brightest trades people in our state and I’m excited to have them on board our growing campaign.  I’m also proud to have stood with them in their ongoing efforts to prevent the abuse of workers in the construction industry.”  
“Maggie is a strong and consistent advocate for the issues important to working people in New Hampshire: protecting workers’ rights to collectively bargain, standing up against attempts to make New Hampshire a so-called “right to work” state, and increasing the minimum wage,” said Donahue.   

NERCC:Community challenges Capstone over Cottage flap

This is a re-post of the New England Regional Council of Carpenters Blog.  This message is about an issue that NH Labor News has talked about before.  The issue is that a group of workers  were hire by Builders Construction Services to do work in Durham.  Then at some point BCS decided to fire the workers.  They were also unable to collect their tools or pay.  Some are owed thousands of dollars.

Included in this are links to the local news media outlets that also covered the Press Conference.

Community challenges Capstone over Cottage flap
Posted by NERCC on February 02, 2012 at 02:02 PM

A press conference and rally held by union carpenters and other church, student and community groups in support of unpaid construction workers from a Durham site drew dozens of people as well as multiple media outlets yesterday.

The event was planned to bring attention to a group of workers hired to work on construction of the “Cottages of Durham,” upscale housing for students at the University of New Hampshire. It is being developed by Capstone Development/The Cottages of Durham.

The workers say that they worked for Builders Construction Services from Alabama on the site long hours for many weeks without pay. When they complained about nonpayment of their wages, they were terminated and evicted from their housing.

Supporters of the workers marched to Capstone’s local office, where a company representative came out and claimed the company would look into the issue.

Among the media reporting on the event were:
The Manchester Union-Leader
WMUR-9, Manchester (follow link for video)
Seacoast Online (Portsmouth Herald)
Foster’s Daily Democrat (story and video)
The Associated Press, who’s story was picked up by Boston.com and Yahoo! News, among others.

Statements made or issued during the day tried to distance project owners from accountability for the nonpayment of wages and the termination. But this isn’t the first time Capstone has been called into question for payment issues regarding subcontractors.

According to an article in the Hartford Courant, work Capstone did for the University of Connecticut was marred by an investigation that found “25 of 30 subcontractors working for Capstone on the Hilltop Apartment complex were underpaid by nearly $1 million.”

Future tenants of the Cottages of Durham should take note of UConn’s experience with Capstone. The University had to sue in order to recoup what they estimated to be $25 million in necessary repairs or construction defects Capstone refused to return and fix leading to, among other things, safety code violations. A report estimated that Capstone ultimately agreed to pay almost $15 million to settle the suit, but that was after expending an estimated $800,000 in legal fees.

Please visit the Cottages of Durham Facebook page and politely ask them to do right by these workers.

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