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NERCC's Carpenters Center catches Globe's eye Posted by on

The Boston Globe and today featured a story about the Carpenters Center being built by the New England Regional Council of Carpenters.

Motorists stuck on the Southeast Expressway soon will have something besides radios and cellphones to grab their attention: trainees learning carpentry at the new Carpenters Center in Dorchester.

The striking $19 million, 75,000-square-foot home of the New England Regional Council of Carpenters is being readied for a Feb. 1 opening on the edge of the expressway. At drivers?? eye level, and less than 30 feet from the southbound travel lane, will be oversize windows that look in on the training center for area carpenters.
The entire story can be read here

TAGS: Media, Nercc

Carpenters Center catches Globe's eye Posted by on

The Boston Globe and today featured a story about the Carpenters Center being built by the New England Regional Council of Carpenters.

Motorists stuck on the Southeast Expressway soon will have something besides radios and cellphones to grab their attention: trainees learning carpentry at the new Carpenters Center in Dorchester.

The striking $19 million, 75,000-square-foot home of the New England Regional Council of Carpenters is being readied for a Feb. 1 opening on the edge of the expressway. At drivers?? eye level, and less than 30 feet from the southbound travel lane, will be oversize windows that look in on the training center for area carpenters.
The entire story can be read here

Carpenters Going Green: Point Breakdown Category 3- Energy and Atmosphere Posted by on

8 Points

1. Optimize Energy Performance Exceed the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers ASHRAE 90.1 Energy Standard by 10.5%
2. Optimize Energy Performance Exceed ASHRAE 90.1 by 14%
3. Optimize Energy Performance Exceed ASHRAE 90.1 by 17.5%
4. Optimize Energy Performance Exceed ASHRAE 90.1 by 21%
5. Optimize Energy Performance Exceed ASHRAE 90.1 by 24.5%
6. Optimize Energy Performance Exceed ASHRAE 90.1 by 28%
7. Optimize Energy Performance Exceed ASHRAE 90.1 by 31.5%

The Carpenters Center was modeled in order to predict how much the design of the building would save money in energy use per year. Comparing it to a typical building using the ASHRAE 90.1-2004 Energy Standard, the project uses 31.5% less energy then a typical building

8. Enhanced Refrigerant Management - all HVAC units for this project are specified to use R-410a refrigerant, and therefore do not use either Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) or Hydrofluorocarbons (HCFC) refrigerants.

Then and now Posted by on

February 2009

December 2009

Carpenters Going Green: Point Breakdown Category 2- Water Efficiency Posted by on

3 Points Attained

1.Water Efficient Landscaping ?C The project is required to reduce water consumption by 50%. The planting plan at the Carpenters Center involves using native trees, shrubs, and groundcovers that have low water needs. The plan reduces potable water consumption by 73.5%.

2.Water Use Reduction ?C 20% Reduction from baseline water use

3.Water Use Reduction ?C 30% Reduction from baseline water use. The Carpenters Center has low-flow toilets, low-flow urinals, and low-flow faucets with sensors throughout the building.

A similar building with an occupancy of 200 persons using conventional fixtures and water closets uses 478,400 gallons of potable water per year. This project will only use 294,320 gallons per year ?C a 38% savings per year.

Kerry Sponsors Bill Aimed at Misclassification of Workers Posted by on

Full story here??

Sen. John F. Kerry, D-Mass., introduced legislation this week that would toughen standards for employers in transportation and other industries that use independent contractors.

The bill introduced Dec. 15 is aimed at tightening a provision in the tax law that businesses argue simplifies the tax code but critics say allows employers to misclassify workers and avoid payments of benefits and unemployment taxes.

Kerry is targeting Section 530 of the Revenue Act of 1978, known as the ??Safe Harbor?? provision. The provision allows employers to classify workers as contractors for employment tax purposes without undergoing a common law test of their status, unless the employer??s classification has no ??reasonable basis?? or fails certain requirements.

Kerry??s bill, the Taxpayer Responsibility, Accountability and Consistency Act of 2009, would require companies to file reports with the Internal Revenue Service on each corporate provider of property and service to whom they pay more than $600 a year.

It would make additional changes to Section 530 to reduce abuses, Kerry and the bill??s co-sponsors, all Democrats, said. ??This is about leveling the playing field and ensuring that America's workers receive the protections and pay they deserve,?? he said.

Carpenters to rally for jobs Posted by on

Carpenters will rally on Thursday, December 17th at 4:00 pm at Bronstein Park in Manchester, NH, located on the corner of Hanover and Beech Street, in the hopes of jump-starting a large project at Manchester??s Job Corps Center.

The project was brought to a halt in November when North Branch Construction, Inc. and the Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. (ABC) filed a bid protest that put an end to the project.

Any and all members are encouraged to attend the rally. Labor leaders, elected officials, youth leaders, and clergy and will be speaking at the event. Hot soup will be served.

For more information about the rally, contact John Jackson at 603-365-0426.

To learn more, visit

Carpenters Going Green: Point Breakdown Category 1- Sustainable Sites Posted by on

8 Points Attained

1. Site Selection - the site was formerly developed and consists entirely of an existing building and paving.

2. Development Density and Community Connectivity - a dense urban site. Within a .5 mile radius of the building??s main entrance there are at least 2 zones that can be designated as residential zones and many basic services within pedestrian access. Basic services include retail, grocery, banks, restaurants, places of worship, schools and a fire station.

3. Public Transportation Access - located .4 miles from Andrews Station and .3 miles from JFK/UMass. MBTA bus stop in front of building.

4. Bicycle Storage and Changing Rooms -providing covered and secured bicycle storage for a minimum of 5% of the peak building users. The bike racks are located in bike storage room on Level 1 of the garage. One showering facility is required for the 167 occupents - located on level 2 of building.

5. Low-Emission & Fuel Efficient Vehicles - providing preferred parking spaces for low-emitting and fuel-efficient vehicles for 5% of the total parking capacity. Spaces will be signed for low-emitting and fuel-efficient vehicles and will be close to main entrance.

6. Stormwater Design ?C the project will capture and treat 90% of the average annual rainfall and remove 80% of total suspended solids. There are five 8?? diameter drywells surrounded in crushed stone that will act as a retention system with capacity for infiltration.

7. Heat Island Effect ?C Non-Roof - 50% of the site hardscape (roads, sidewalks, courtyards and parking lots) have a Solar Reflectance Index (SRI) of at least 29. 63.9% of the project??s hardscape meets that minimum by using a light grey concrete (parking garage deck).

8. Heat Island Effect ?C Roof - A white high albedo roof for the entire surface ?C Carlisle SynTec??s Sure-weld TPO white membrane roofing. The roof has a Solar Reflectance Index of 110, which exceeds minimum requirement of SRI 78.

CT papers cover Stop Work orders Posted by on

The State of Connecticut continues its fight against misclassification of employees and has issued five more Stop Work orders on a job in Fairfield. The orders were posted at the Patterson Club, a new country club being built by general contractor AP Construction.

NERCC Organizer Ted Duarte and Bob Kravitz, owner of union company Whitehawk Construction Services, were quoted in news stories about the action taken by the Connecticut Labor Department:

Bob Kravitz, owner of Whitehawk Construction Services LLC, of Canton, said he bid to do the millwork installation at the Patterson Club, but didn't get the job.

And it was the millwork installers who were cited by the state at the Patterson Club.

"I bid on a number of packages," Kravitz said of his attempt to win the work. He said the selection process included showing the potential client the jobs he's done at Yale University.

"But then the trail went cold," he said. And the job went to someone else.

Kravitz said this is not the first time it's happened. He's lost jobs before to nonunion shops. Sometimes he ends up with the work anyway, he said, because the job gets botched. But, he said, it's never as big a job as it would have been if he'd gotten the project in the first place.
How misclassification works and why it hurts union carpenters and contractors is explained very well in the article, making it a good independent information source to forward to elected officials and others involved in the construction industry. It is available online here.

Gangi featured speaking on stimulus Posted by on

Carpenters Local 111 Business Manager Joe Gangi attended an event with Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Congresswoman Niki Tsongas yesterday to discuss the impact stimulus money is having on job creation. Gangi was interviewed for the report on New England Cable News:

Unions being heard in health care debate Posted by on

Unions are fighting hard on Capitol Hill to prevent a tax on many union health plans from becoming a final part of a national overhaul of the health care system. The Associated Press covered the issue last week saying

At issue for the labor unions is a proposed 40 percent excise tax on insurance companies, keyed to premiums paid on health care plans costing more than $8,500 annually for individuals and $23,000 for families. The tax would raise some $150 billion over 10 years to help pay for the Democrats' nearly $1 trillion health care bill. The legislation, which appears to be edging closer to passage, would revamp the U.S. health care system with new requirements on individuals and employers designed to extend health coverage to more than 30 million uninsured Americans.

The plan would essentially tax people who have been buying their health care in order to pay for those who have not. Similar measures are already in place in many states in the country to provide funds for a ??free care pool?? or ??uncompensated care pool?? whereby medical providers are reimbursed by the state for services given to those who do not have coverage.

Union contractor makes valuable donation Posted by on

Jay Cashman, Inc. has been a union contractor for many, many years. The business--based in Quincy, Massachusetts and with offices in Boston, New York and Florida--does heavy civil and marine construction throughout the United States. Jay Cashman also acts as a developer and generous member of the business community and has been a sponsor of the "Carpenters Cure Fore Ovarian Cancer Classic."

His latest act of philanthropy was to donate more than 27 acres of company-owned land in Stoughton to a YMCA which it surrounds.

Company must pay for insurance, unemployment fraud Posted by on

A Massachusetts roofing company pled guilty Friday to 20 counts of unemployment fraud, four counts of larceny over $250, 60 counts of aiding or assiting in fraudlent tax returns and three counts of workers compensation fraud. Richard Copeland, owner of Copeland Contracting, Inc. (CCI) was given three-and-a-half years of probation and will pay $146,851 in restitution, according to a press release from the Attorney General's office. He was also ordered to complete 100 hours of community service.

From the release:

During the period of November 2003 through January 2008, Copeland held workers?? compensation policies with three different insurance companies. During that time, Copeland avoided paying the proper premium for these policies by misclassifying the type of work his employees performed. Copeland classified his employees as carpenters instead of roofers. During this five-year time period, three workers suffered serious injuries on work sites where CCI was doing business. When the injured workers filed workers?? compensation claims with CCI??s insurance companies, the insurance companies discovered that none of the injured employees were listed on CCI??s payroll. One of the insurance companies then contacted the Massachusetts Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) as a result of the discrepancies between the payroll records and an injured worker??s claim.
The case was investigated by the Attorney General's Insurance and Unemployment Fraud Division as well as the state Insurance Fraud Bureau.

Carpenters Center Going Green Posted by on

The green building movement arose out of the desire for more energy efficient and environmentally friendly building practices. It is a way to minimize both resource consumption and the impact building has on the environment. Green construction methods can be integrated into buildings at any stage, from design and construction, to renovation and demolition.

Green design and building practices significantly reduce or eliminate negative environmental impacts and create sustainable buildings. The most common standard for building green is the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). The LEED Green Building Rating System, developed by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), is a nationally accepted standard for the design, construction and operation of green buildings. According to the USGBC website there are 35,000 projects currently participating in the LEED system, comprising over 4.5 billion square feet of construction space in all 50 states and 91 countries.

LEED for New Construction is a rating system where building projects earn points for satisfying criteria designed to address specific environmental impacts inherent in the design, construction, operations and management of a building.

These points are grouped into six environmental categories:
1. Sustainable Sites, 14 point maximum
2. Water Efficiency, 5 point maximum
3. Energy and Atmosphere, 17 point maximum
4. Materials and Resources, 13 point maximum
5. Indoor Environmental Quality, 15 point maximum
6. Innovation & Design Process, 5 point maximum.

Points are achieved by meeting or exceeding specified requirements in each category. LEED for New Construction ratings are then awarded according to the following scale: Certified, 26-32 points; Silver, 33-38 points; Gold, 39-51 points; Platinum, 52-69 points.

Upon completion, the Carpenters Center will be on target to qualify for LEED Certified status, aiming to receive all 32 of the 26-32 points required.

In the coming weeks, the point breakdown for the certification of the Carpenters Center will be outlined in this blog.

Exterior Systems 90% complete Posted by on

The process of installing exterior panels is 90% complete. The final sections, which will be completed in the coming weeks, include the Alucobond paneling located at the loading dock and a section of panels at the northern most part of the building.

Crews have finished installing the cedar accents on the exterior of the building. They are now installing cedar in the main lobby pavilion. These accents will be found in the area adjacent to the main stairs and on the terrace, adjacent to the pavilion.

Facts about the cedar being installed at the Carpenters Center (as previously posted)

  • 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 (Volatile Organic Compounds).

Obama focuses on job creation Posted by on

Though early talk about a federal stimulus bill centered on economic growth and recovery, some felt too much was invested in tax cuts. And while Wall Street seems to be doing better, the talk of jobs has turned troublesome. More and more, mentions are being made of a "jobless recovery," a startling turn for those who imagined the stimulus bill serving as a job creating machine as the WWII spending efforts are remembered.

So it comes as welcome news that President Barack Obama is now talking about investment in actual job creation. His proposal would take advantage of unused money intended for bailouts of banks and financial institutions. There is resistance from the right, but Obama seems determined to try to use that unused money to both pay down some debt, but stimulate job growth.

In a speech at the Brookings Institution, Obama said he wants to give small businesses tax breaks for new hires and equipment purchases. He also wants to expand American Recovery and Reinvestment Act programs and spend some $50 billion more on roads, bridges, aviation and water projects.

Finally, Obama would offer consumers rebates for retro-fitting their homes to consume less energy.

A new fan of Cape Wind Posted by on

National Grid has reached an agreement to buy power from Cape Wind when the project is built.

Crews are busy completing work on third floor Posted by on

Painting, with the exception of the final coat and touch ups, which will both happen after the flooring is installed, is complete on the third floor. Ceiling installation is also complete on the third floor, the lights have also been installed.

The third floor bathrooms are nearly complete. Floorlayers working for SMR Flooring have completed the installation of slate tile on the floors and ceramic tile on the wet walls. Plumbers with E.M. Duggan have installed the toilets.

All of the case work and cabinetry on third floor is complete. This installation, along with the wood paneling was done by carpenters working for Archer Corp. Both the case work/cabinetry and the wood paneling were manufactured by Millwork One in Providence, RI. The paneling was installed in the hallway off the reception area, inside the large conference room and break room and along the hallway near the conference room at the southeast corner of the building.

All interior glass has been measured and will be installed in the coming weeks.

Green area renamed Posted by on

The Carpenters Union worked in conjunction with neighbors in the area to spruce up the pedestrian cut-though located on the corner of Dorchester Ave. and Howell Street.

The park has been renamed Paul??s Triangle in memory of long time Howell Street resident and community advocate Paul Markilis. Mr. Markilis?? family still resides on the street.

The neighborhood surrounding the park and the Carpenters Center is known as the ??Polish Triangle.?? In this area, Dorchester Avenue, Boston Street and Columbia road converge, literally, into a triangle that extends out into South Boston.

The triangular design of the pergola built by the Carpenters Union is part of an effort to brand the Polish Triangle neighborhood.

Desmond Rohan, neighbor and member of the McCormick Civic Association, which is involved in various beautification efforts throughout the community, including Paul??s Triangle, recently thanked the Carpenters Union saying, ??Your efforts will certainly make it possible to continue improving the area and without your support we would not have made the progress we have to date.??

The McCormack Civic Association, through the support of local merchants and businesses, recently hung wreaths for the holiday season along Dorchester Ave. To learn more about this group, visit their website at

Step one: diagnose the problem Posted by on

Efforts by Union Carpenters or other advocates to uncover bad deeds often run into a wall of ignorance or denial. But two prominently featured stories on today shine a bright light on some significant issues in the construction industry and elsewhere that clearly need some attention.

The first relates to public work being awarded to contractors despite their previous violations of various laws and their failure to disclose those violations as required by law.

The story focuses on stimulus money given to companies for paving projects, but the lack of oversight is clearly a problem that carries into other projects at the state and local level. At it's worst, the problem is intentional, as awarding authorities ignore likely or confirmed violations of prequalification or bidding laws in order to hire the contractor that simply has the lowest price.

A clear example of this can be found in Hanover, where the town awarded a public school project to Callahan Construction, despite multiple warnings from the Attorney General's office that the company had misled the town. At issue there was the company's attempt to prequalify for the project by taking credit for similar work that was done by another company. Though they claim to be a successor, they did not disclose financial problems they would've been required to include in documents if that were the case.

The second is about the massive settlement Wal-Mart just reached with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. This time out, the company is paying $40 million to almost 90,000 workers for illegally lowering workers pay by refusing to pay overtime, manipulating time cards and making workers skip legally mandated breaks.

Yes, 90,000 workers. Hardly a mistake with paperwork. And don't make the mistake of thinking Wal-Mart is being a good corporate citizen by settling the suit; it was filed in 2001!

0.88 Posted by on

As of November 30th, construction of the Carpenters Center is 88% complete!