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More positive news on the economy Posted by on

Leading up to the State of the Union address last night, there was some good economic news on the economy told by MSNBC's Rachel Maddow. No, money for construction projects are not falling from the sky. It will still take some time for an economic recovery to fully reach the construction industry.

But there are some important sings that an economic turnaround has been sharper and quicker than some feared. Talk of a "double-dip" recession or second Great American Depression have disappeared. And economists from both sides of the political spectrum are starting to talk about the success of the Recovery Act (the "Stimulus Bill").

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

TAGS: Economy, Obama

Move-in begins Posted by on

Carpenters with Interstate Office Partitions are finalizing work on the third floor assembling office furniture. At the same time, staff from the New England Regional Council of Carpenters has started to move in to their office space on the floor. The move is scheduled to be complete by the end of this weekend.

There are some final punch list items to be completed by subcontractors throughout the building, all items are scheduled to be complete by the end of next week. A few items that will be finished this spring include landscaping, fencing and exterior painting at the terrace (including handrails).

The FFE (furniture, fixtures, and equipment) work on the second and first floors will be coordinated by the Boston JATC and are scheduled to be completed in the coming weeks.

go union carpenterscenter, Ive been carring a book... Posted by on

go union carpenterscenter, Ive been carring a book for 30 yrs now and never dreamed the future young people comming up csn snd will be schooled at shuch a high level ,count your blessings kids ,
amasing job well done to the leadership.

About Scott Brown Posted by on

David Letterman's "Top Ten Surprising Facts about Scott Brown":

10. He's the nephew of godfather of soul James Brown.

9. Climate change is partly the result of his smoldering hunkiness.

8. His response to the health care reform crisis: "Don't blame Conan."

7. Got his start in politics by rounding up illegals to work in Mitt Romney's yard.

6. Once in state senate he cracked a walnut with his ass.

5. Purchased his first car at Harrison Ford.

4. Promised people of Massachusetts he'd bring back witch trials.

3. When his daughter was a finalist on "American Idol," he exchanged beauty tips with Ryan Seacrest.

2. His election helped GOP ratings skyrocket to 17 percent.

1. So cold in Boston today he actually put on pants.

Enforcement of laws making a comeback? Posted by on

While the special election and health care suck up all of the headlines locally and nationally, the Obama administration is governing under the radar in a way that will have direct benefit for working people.

"In electronic web chats, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and other officials emphasized the agency would once again go to bat for workers?? interests, not just with the rules proposals but with increased enforcement. OSHA, for example, is hiring 100 more inspectors, she said..."

"...The Wage and Hour Division is hiring 250 new investigators and will concentrate on industries with high violation rates that ??employ vulnerable workers,?? Deputy Administrator Nancy Leppink said in her on-line chat. They include agriculture, restaurants, janitorial, construction and car washes, ??among others,?? she said.

Under the Bush Administration, wage and hour enforcement was not a priority and OSHA enforcement was drastically scaled back in favor of "voluntary compliance" by employers. For union carpenters, the enforcement of wage and safety laws could have a significant impact. Lowering the incidence of violations will allow union contractors to compete for more jobs.

Brown Campaign cheating on taxes? Posted by on

Brown campaign cheating on taxes?
Differences between Massachusetts Senate candidates Martha Coakley and Scott Brown have been pretty stark during the campaign. From demanding Wall Street bailout money be repaid to creating a fair tax code for middle class Americans, their positions are often in direct odds with each other. But a revelation on Saturday about how the two campaigns treat their own staff told union carpenters all they should need to know to make their final decision for the Tuesday special election.

At a campaign stop on Saturday morning, Coakley noted that far from supporting expanding access to health care for workers, Brown didn??t even offer it to his own campaign staff. Brown has promised to be the ??41st vote?? to kill health care reform should he get elected, so not offering his staff health care coverage??as the Coakley campaign does??was not shocking. The Brown campaign's response still brought a surprise, though.

A spokesman for the Brown campaign tried to justify not offering health care to the staff by saying: ??We have a small staff and they are paid as independent contractors.??

But that??s even worse: a gimmick straight out of the worst non-union contractors' playbook.

As union carpenters know, classifying workers as ??independent contractors?? is an all too common scheme by contractors to avoid legally required insurance and payroll taxes. It gives them a significant bidding advantage and cheats the Commonwealth of hundreds of millions of dollars of owed tax revenue. In this case, it seems simply a money saving scheme by the Brown campaign. Campaign ??staff?? are anything but independent. They work in the campaign office, at the specific direction of campaign management and with little or no control over their budgets or hours.

??Any union carpenter or citizen of the Commonwealth that works hard and pays their taxes in compliance with the law should be appalled,?? said Mark Erlich, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the New England Regional Council of Carpenters. ??If Scott Brown has such a poor understanding of the law that he thinks his campaign staff are all independent contractors, he is certainly not fit to be a United States Senator.??

Attorney General Martha Coakley has made a consistent commitment to heading off misclassification of employees as independent contractors since taking office. Her office has worked with the task force established by Governor Deval Patrick and brought cases against employers who misclassify workers to avoid tax and insurance obligations.

First and third floors complete Posted by on

Volunteer members from Local 2168 have been installing wood flooring on the second floor.

Before floor installation began, crews working for Allegheny Contract Flooring completed preparatory work on the existing concrete floor (see past post and video).

Floorlayers working for Pavilion Floors have completed installation of carpet in the office spaces, vinyl flooring in storage rooms, and cork flooring in break rooms. Walnut wood flooring is currently being installed by Local 2168 volunteers in the main lobby, corridors and the communicating stair connecting the second floor to the first floor.

Final touch-up painting is scheduled for completion on the first floor later today. While that is going on, crews with Pavilion Floor are completing the vinyl base board work.

With the first floor painting complete, the crew will move up to the second floor to complete the final coat and touch up work. As on the first floor, Pavilion Floor will then install the vinyl baseboard. Baseboard is a functional feature that covers the joint between the wall surface (drywall) and the floor.

In areas where there is wood flooring, wood baseboard will be installed by carpenters working for Archer Corporation. The wood baseboard was manufactured by carpenters at the Millwork One factory located in Rhode Island.

By the end of the work day today, the first and third floors will be complete. The second floor is expected to be complete by the end of next week.

Certificate of Occupancy (temporary) Issued Posted by on

As of Thursday, January 14, 2010 the City of Boston's Inspectional Services issued a Certificate of Occupancy (temporary).

The certificate is temporary because there is additional work, which does not affect life-safety issues, to be performed in the building.

This clears the way for furniture, files, and all other items to be moved into the building.

A final certificate will be issued when all work is complete.

2010 NERCC Scholarship Opportunity Posted by on

The Scholarship Sub-Committee of the New England Regional Council of Carpenters has established the guidelines for the eligibility, application, and awarding of scholarships for 2010.

Please read the following guidelines before submitting your application:

2010 NERCC Scholarship Guidelines

2010 NERCC Scholarship Application

Applicants should submit the completed essay, application form and most recent transcript of grades by 5:00 p.m. on April 16, 2010 to NERCC Scholarship, ATTN: Malerie Anderson, 750 Dorchester Ave., Boston, MA 02125.

Applications received after April 16, 2010 will not be eligible.

To eliminate bias, the scholarship committee is blind to the identity of the applicant. Essays are numerically coded to prevent any reader from having knowledge of the writer. Winners of the top two prizes will be asked to read their essays at the June 2010 delegate meeting. Persons awarded first or second place in a prior year are ineligible for first or second place in subsequent years.

TAGS: Members, Nercc

Looking for positive news on the economy? Posted by on

Jon Chesto, Business Editor for the Quincy Patriot-Ledger, offers a bit in a blog post yesterday. His post is in reference to the "Beige Book," a publication regularly put out by the Federal Reserve Bank.

Even commercial real estate, the big downer in these reports lately, showed some hopeful signs. Yes, it??s slow out there, both in terms of leasing and property sales. But one Boston contact reported an increase in leasing activity in recent weeks, and another reported an increase in sales from earlier in the year. Sure, many other commercial real estate contacts are still reporting dreadful conditions. But this is the first time that we??ve seen anything resembling positive news in this sector in quite some time.

TAGS: Economy

Bill Moyers Posted by on

Worth the next three minutes of your life...

Construction site theft on the rise in Boston, B-2 Posted by on

Boston Police are warning of an increase in theft on construction sites. Reports of stolen tools, materials and copper pipes have been on the rise in District B-2, the Roxbury area.

For more information, see the Citizen Observer site.

Inside the Coakely campaign Posted by on

As the campaign for a special election to fill the Massachusetts Senate seat formerly held by Ted Kennedy nears it's end, there are a dizzying array of polling results showing the race to be deadlocked, close or not so close.

The varied poll numbers have led to questions about how the candidates have run their campaigns and what, if any, indicator they may be for the national political landscape.

All of that may come into clearer view after voters actually have their say on January 19. Until then, candidates, campaigns and citizens are still hard at work trying to convince and pull voters to the polls.

Today's Boston Globe takes an insider's look at the Coakley campaign and some of those involved with it. Featured in the article are some quotes from Carpenters Local 108 Business Manager Jason Garand, one of a host of union members who view Coakley as the only reasonable choice for construction workers and union members.

??No candidate is going to have the energy Kennedy had,???? says Jason Garand, business manager of Local 108 of the New England Regional Council of Carpenters. ??We would rather have a person who talks quietly and carries a big stick than someone who talks a good game but doesn??t remember your name.????

The carpenters cite the attorney general??s investigation into the underground economy in the construction business, a phenomenon Garand says costs builders jobs and the state millions in unpaid taxes.

??Martha really is a breath of fresh air for labor,???? he says. ??She does what she says she will do.????

Carpenters for Coakely Posted by on

Union Carpenters turned out to show their support for Senate Candidate Martha Coakely last night. The visibility was in front of the University of Massachusetts, Boston campus leading up to Coakley participation in the final debate before the January 19 special election.

Carpenters Going Green: Point Breakdown Category 5- Indoor Environmental Quality Posted by on

9 points Attained

Prerequisite - Environmental Tobacco Smoke Control ?C the entire building has been designated as non-smoking. Any exterior smoking must be 25 feet away from entries, outdoor air intakes and operable windows.

1. Outdoor Air Delivery Monitoring ?C the building is designed with a permanent CO2 monitoring system in all higher occupancy spaces

2. Increased Ventilation - designed to comply by allowing the mechanical system to provide breathing zone outdoor air ventilation rates and at least 30% above the minimum rates

3. Construction IAQ Management Plan ?C During Construction Suffolk Construction is committed to implementing a construction IAQ management plan in accordance with LEED requirements

4. Low-Emitting Materials ?C Adhesives and Sealants (VOC limits) Specified adhesives and sealants that comply with the South Coast Air Quality Management District Rule #1168 and Green Seal Standard

5. Low-Emitting Materials ?C Paints and Coatings (VOC limits) Project uses paints and coatings inside the building envelope that complies with the Green Seal Standard GS-11 for paints and primers Standard GS-03 for anti-corrosive paints and the South Coast Air Quality Management District Rule 1113 for finishes, stains, and sealer

6. Low-Emitting Materials ?C Carpet Systems (CRI Green label program and VOC limits). The project uses carpets and carpet cushions that meet the testing and product requirements of the Carpet and Rug Institute??s Green Label Plus Program. All of the carpet??s adhesives will meet VOC limits.

7. Low-Emitting Materials ?C Composite Wood and Agrifiber Products - Will not use composite wood and agrifiber products that contain urea-formaldehyde resins inside the building??s envelope.

8. Lighting ?C individual controls for 90% of occupants. There are lighting controls for every regularly occupied space. Private and shared offices have two-level occupancy sensors, individual workstations have flexible, integrally-switched task lights, and classroom/conference spaces have multiple levels of switch controls to allow for adjustment of lighting levels in accordance with the activity.

9. Thermal Comfort Design - targets to maintain 75 degrees and 50% relative humidity in the summer and 72 degrees in the winter.

Project Update: first and second floor work continues Posted by on

A few projects have been completed in the pavilion entrance of the building including the installation of the reception desk, painting, and flooring. The flooring in this area includes stone tile on the main floor and wood on the the stair treads connecting the entrance to the second floor.

The wood chosen for the Pavilion stairway is called Ipe. Ipe, pronounced "ee-pee," is also known as "Brazilian Hardwood" and is one of the hardest woods known to man. It is a deep dark brown colored wood with exceptionally fine graining. It is one of the densest woods available and is fire resistant. The exterior stairs are also being laminated with Ipe.

Fourteen welding booths have been received and installed in the welding area. This is located on the Northeast portion of the building and the large glass windows makes this training area visible to those traveling on the Expressway.

Meanwhile, interior signage has been hung throughout the building. These include office numbers, room names (i.e. electrical closet, pump room), non-electric life and safety signs (exit signs), floorplan signs, and fire alarm pull switches.

Finished lighting fixtures, which are complete on the third floor, are being installed on the second floor.

Elevator inspections were held last week. Each elevator (passenger, freight, and wheel chair lift) passed inspection. Fire alarm inspections are scheduled to happen this week. Boston Inspectional Services will conduct initial inspections and provide a temporary certificate of occupancy, which will give clearance for furniture to be moved in to the space. The Final inspection is slated for January 28th.

Then and now Posted by on

December 2008

January 2010

Unique training opportunites featured in The Daily Millbury Posted by on

The Daily Millbury featured a story about the unique training opportunities that apprentices from the New England Carpenter Training Center have taken part in at the Carpenters Center.

The New England Regional Council of Carpenters bought the building at 750 Dorchester Ave. in Boston almost three years ago. Once the site for the Dirigo Spice Corporation as well as a laundry for the Archdiocese, Council has spent the past few years converting it into the Carpenters Center. Ultimately serving as its headquarters, it will also be the home to the Boston Carpenters Apprenticeship Program and other entities affiliated with the group.

This past Monday, L-shaped reception desks for the third and first floor arrived at the site, shipped from the New England Carpenters Training Center located in Millbury.
The entire story can be read here.

NPR highlights misclassficiation investigation at Stowe. Posted by on

Vermont Public Radio broadcast a story Tuesday about the problems the Stowe Mountain Lodge is facing as the state Department of Labor investigates the misclassification of workers building a new luxury year-round retreat.

Union carpenters, including Council Representative Matt Durocher, are heard speaking in the piece as they banner and talk to visitors. They have been trying to raise awareness of the business practices of Kal-Vin Construction, who is performing drywall work. Pizzigalli Construction is the General Contractor on the project.

Kal-Vin, out of Hudson, New Hampshire, operates under several different names, that seem to share a common interest in misclassifying workers to lower their cost. Unfortunately, the scheme puts workers at risk and gives them an unfair--and illegal--advantage against honest union and nonunion contractors.

Labor to lose another Senate champion Posted by on

Connecticut's Christopher Dodd is expected to announce his retirement today from the United States Senate, ending 34 years of representation of the state in Washington. Dodd, who has been trailing in recent polls for re-election in November became a Congressman in 1974 and moved to the Senate in 1981.

Though he has faced troubled times and challenges, Dodd has been a consistent supporter of Democratic principles, particularly when it comes to union workers, holding a career 91% voting record with the AFL-CIO.

"In Washington there are different levels of influence and effectiveness. Senator Chris Dodd was a widely respected and highly effective representative of working people," said Mark Erlich. "He not only supported us, he had the stature and commitment to lead the charge on the floor of the Senate, in the committee meetings and in the halls of the Capitol. We appreciate his long career of dedicated service. We will miss him and we wish him well."

Dodd's retirement is expected to draw Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal into the November election. Former Congressman Rob Simmons and World Wrestling Entertainment Executive Linda McMahon are battling for the Republican nomination.

NERCC Political Director Tom Flynn said Dodd's retirement signals a call for union carpenters to ramp up political action once again.

"The recent loss of Ted Kennedy and now Chris Dodd's retirement present another challenge to our members in New England and all working people in the country," said NERCC Political Director Tom Flynn. "It is a reminder that we need to be vigilant and dedicated to making sure our voices are heard, in our districts and in Washington."

Third Floor nearly complete Posted by on

Work is nearly complete on the third floor of the Carpenters Center. The flooring has been installed, which includes carpet in the offices and hallways, hardwood in the lobby, linoleum in the storage closets and cork in break room.

Architects from ADD, Inc. completed a walk around of the third floor last week and created the punch list for the floor. During a punch list walk around the architects look for things such as nicks in walls, scratches in the paint, light bulbs that need replacement, defects in products, caulking and seal of windows, and door lock function. A list is created of every item that needs to be addressed and yellow sticky notes are attached to the area to specify location.

Yellow sticky notes mark punch list items.

The various trades will respond to the punch list and make the necessary repairs and finish work.

Once the punch list is complete the final cleaning for the floor will begin. After the cleaning, each room will be locked shut until the furniture is moved in, which will happen in late January.

While crews work on punch list items, carpenters working for Pappas Co. began installing venetian blinds throughout the floor.

A little over a year ago.... Posted by on

Carpenters Going Green: Point Breakdown Category 4- Materials and Resources Posted by on

Prerequisite 1, Storage and Collection of Recyclables: The Carpenters Center will have recycling areas that serve the entire building for paper, corrugated cardboard, glass, plastics, and metals. Storage rooms for the recyclable materials are provided on levels 1,2, and 3.

3 Points Attained

1. Construction Waste Management ?C divert 50% from disposal
2. Construction Waste Management ?C divert 75% from disposal - Suffolk Construction implemented a Construction Waste Management Plan as a means to ensure that a minimal amount of waste debris is disposed of in a landfill, and that all LEED requirements are met.

3. Recycled Content ?C 10% by cost (post-consumer + ½ pre-consumer) - A minimum of 10% of the total materials cost needs to be the recycled content value of the project.

Post-consumer and post-industrial recycled content is in the building??s materials and products. Some materials and products that contain recycled content include structural steel, carpet, flooring, and acoustical ceiling tile.

This box of carpet squares reads:
"High Recycled Content. 100% Recyclable."

98%! Posted by on

As of January 4th, construction of the Carpenters Center is 98% complete!