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More carpenters strike for owed wages Posted by on

A group of nonunion carpenters went on strike at two projects yesterday, seeking close to $100,000 in wages owed to them. The carpenters approached the union for help after their employer--New Haven Drywall--refused to pay them and bounced checks for their drywall and taping work.

Carpenters first demonstrated yesterday morning outside of Cohasset AvalonBay, a project that has been slowed for years by permitting and economic reasons. Construction finally began last year and the company hopes it will open early this summer, according to media reports.

After securing more than $17,000 owed to 11 of the carpenters on the Cohasset site, the group traveled to Norwood, where they planned to demonstrate seeking close to $80,000 15 workers claim to be owed there. New Haven Drywall was also the subcontractor there, hired by developer Chestnut Hill Realty, which is acting as the general contractor, developer and owner.

The strike continued there today.


Bad press for AvalonBay Posted by on

The Somerville Journal reported on AvalonBay's troubles in Woburn, where the Attorney General forced them to settle claims of housing discrimination.

The story also discusses the death of Oscar Pintado, a carpenter who was killed during construction of the project when he fell 48 feet through a hole that was improperly covered with unmarked particle board.

The Woburn site was one of several AvalonBay sites that were the subject of an Attorney General's Office investigation into misclassification of workers and wage and hour complaints by workers employed by AvalonBay subcontractors.

MetroWest Daily News reports on Pulte, unpaid carpenters Posted by on

The MetroWest Daily News today ran a front page, above the fold piece about carpenters that have gone unpaid for work they did on multiple Pulte sites in Massachusetts. The issue was the topic of a story in the Quincy Patriot Ledger last Saturday.

A group of more than 30 nonunion carpenters have filed wage complaint forms with the Massachusetts Attorney General's office seeking to recover months of wages they are owed for work they did on Pulte sites in Braintree, Natick, Northbridge and Plymouth. They may also be owed wages for work done on a Pulte site in Wakefield, Rhode Island.

Despite protests at the Braintree and Natick sites and last week's column in the Patriot Ledger, the company continues to claim in today's story that they are "unaware of any complaints filed with any state or federal agencies."

As one of the largest home-builders in the United States, with developments in 28 states, it's hard to believe Pulte doesn't know what's happening on their own sites. The company acts as a general contractor on many of their projects, directly hiring subcontractors.

A company spin-meister told the MetroWest Daily News that "PulteGroup considers a number of factors when selecting subcontractors to build its homes. Each project is unique and contracts are awarded on merit to the companies that are the best fit for the job."

Unfortunately, workers going unpaid on Pulte jobs does not appear to be a "unique" condition. It looks more like something the company has decided is the "best fit" for their current projects in New England.

Carpenters in New England aren't the only ones unhappy with Pulte. Last week eight people were arrested during a peaceful demonstration at Pulte's annual shareholders meeting in Detroit. They were there to question the job creation and economic benefit to the community of $900 million in tax benefits Pulte earned last year when a tax law was changed largely benefiting a small number of large, national home builders.

Here in New England, Pulte is the latest in a series of contractors whose projects have become the subject of protests and wage claims as a result of nonunion workers not being paid and going on strike. The following is a video chronicling some of NERCCs activity regarding the issue.

Malloy unveils new plan for UConn Health Center Posted by on

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy this week unveiled and new and much larger development plan for the UConn Health Center. The $864 million renovation and expansion will move forward the state's bioscience industry, creating lots of short-term and long term jobs in the process.

Connecticut Regional Manager Bruce Lydem was part of the announcement, covered by the Connecticut Mirror.

TAGS: Connecticut

Haiti Hospital project seeks carpenters, volunteers Posted by on

Partners in Health is looking for volunteer union carpenters and other trades workers to assist in the construction of a badly needed hospital in Haiti, which was devastated by an earthquake last year. Background information about the project, which is being spearheaded by Jim Ansara from Shawmut Design and Construction, is available in an article published in the New England Carpenter magazine last winter. All travel and in-country expenses would be covered by the program and power tools would be provided. They are asking volunteers to commit to only 8-14 day trips between September and February and to bring their own hand tools.

For details about the current status of the project, please download and view this Powerpoint presentation by Partners in Health. To contact Partners in Health about becoming a volunteer, visit this page.

Congress hears about hard work Posted by on

Mike Rowe, host of the popular TV show "Dirty Jobs," testified before Congress last week. He spoke about the declining respect for hard work and skilled trades in the United States and why that's a bad thing for all of us.

For the last few years, Rowe has been championing the cause of craft training and encouraging young people to pursue a career of hard work in a skilled trade. Visit for more information on his efforts.

Carpenters unpaid for months on Pulte jobs Posted by on

NERCC Organizers are putting the heat on Pulte Homes, one of the nation's largest home builders, after more than 30 nonunion carpenters came forward reporting they hadn't been paid their for months worth of work.

Demonstrations have been held at Jonathan's Landing in Braintree and South Natick Hills in Natick and the workers have filed wage complaint forms with the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office. Most of the workers are owed nine week of wages and overtime, totaling $3,500-$4,000 each, from work they did in Braintree, Natick and another site in Wakefield, Rhode Island.

Multiple subcontractors have worked and been dismissed from the Pulte sites, each employing the same group of carpenters. Pulte acts as the general contractor on many of their projects, directly hiring and paying subcontractors.

It is unclear whether Pulte paid the subcontractors who did not pay the carpenters. But what is clear is that these are projects being built and sold by Pulte, who boasts "Pulte Homes' culture is wrapped around a strong sense of family and a small company atmosphere."

The Quincy Patriot-Ledger ran a story on the issue today.

AG hits Hampton Building for violations on three sites Posted by on

The Massachusetts Attorney General has ordered Hampton Building to pay $100,000 in fines and restitution for wage violations related to nonunion carpenters at multiple sites. Carpenters will finally be paid more than $19,000 in wages owed to them from work dating back to December 2009 at Westford Town Hall, Molly's Lane in Chilmark and the Whitman Police Station.

The company will pay an additional $81,000 in penalties for:
--failing to pay prevailing wages
--failing to maintain true and accurate payroll records
--failing to submit true and accurate certified payroll records
--failing to pay employees in a timely manner
--intentionally failing to submit certified payroll records and general payroll records to the Attorney General's Office for inspection.

Bad behavior by AvalonBay doesn't end with construction Posted by on

AvalonBay, which has been the target of numerous protests by the Carpenters Union in New England for dangerous working conditions and mistreatment of workers during the construction of large, multi-unit housing developments, has been forced to reach a settlement with the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office to resolve a housing discrimination lawsuit.

The company has agreed to make payments to the victim and "institute a broad range of preventive measures to ensure future compliance with the law" according to a press release from the AGs office. The suit was filed after AvalonBay attempted to evict a woman and her two small children, ages two and four, from their AvalonBay apartment in Woburn based on "unreasonable and unsubstantiated" noise complaints by a neighbor, which AvalonBay never investigated.

TAGS: Avalon Bay

Protest schedule for temp agency Posted by on

A group of community and labor activists is planning to picket a Chelsea temp agency for abusive treatment of workers it has placed. Workers report being owed thousands of dollars in overtime, refusal by the company to provide workers compensation for injuries and widespread harassment.

The company, EDA Temp Agency, employs hundreds of workers in Chelsea, Boston and the Massachusetts North Shore.
The demonstration is planned for Thursday, May 19 from 9-11am at 248 Broadway Street in Chelsea

Worcester members build a garden for the village Posted by on

This weekend, members of Carpenters Local 107 and YouthBuild lent their skills to a garden project at the Plumley Village housing development. Raised garden frames were built by YouthBuild and then installed by members of Local 107. The project was supported by numerous city and state groups. Twenty-four families living in Plumley Village have already signed up for plots in the new garden.

The carpenters' work drew the attention of, which posted about the project complete with photos.

Helping out on the project were Brothers Fred Taylor, Wayne Johnson, Sean Peek, Jim Turner, Luis Tirado & Manny Gines

All photos courtesy of Mike Benedetti.
Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Tentative Settlement Reached in CT Strike Posted by on

Members of three Carpenter Local Unions in Connecticut affiliated with the New England Regional Council of Carpenters have reached a tentative agreement with contractors to end a one week strike. The union and contractors--represented by the Associated General Contractors/ Connecticut Construction Industry Association--held negotiating sessions Saturday and Monday afternoon. Union carpenters returned to work today as the result of progress made during Saturday negotiations.

Members of Carpenters Local 24, 43 and 210 will meet at their Local Union halls on Thursday for ratification votes.

Cracking down on workers misclassification Posted by on

"Hartford, Conn. (WTNH) - Labor unions and the construction industry are coming together to support Senator Dick Blumenthal's co-sponsoring of federal legislation that would crack down on employee misclassification."

Cracking down on worker classification:

Even in A Down Economy, Union Carpenters B.U.I.L.D. Posted by on

The B.U.I.L.D. program - Building Union Initiative and Labor Dignity - was
developed by NERCC to educate members about the construction industry and where we fit into it.

In a single evening session, members are presented with some basic facts and statistics about the local and national economy and historical changes that have impacted conditions in the construction industry.

Discussions involve how much building is done union and how union members, acting together, can help increase the level of union construction.

The B.U.I.L.D. program aims to improve conditions by encouraging members to participate in efforts to:
? Build a better union
? Build a better carpenter
? Build better partnerships with employers
? Build better communities
? Build a better democracy

B.U.I.L..D sessions have been held in Local Unions throughout New England and for apprentices at the New England Carpenters Training Center. So far, more than 1,500 members have taken part.

The B.U.I.L.D. program is now also targeting active geographic areas. Cities and towns with upcoming development or important local elections are inviting all of their neighbor UBC members to B.U.I.L.D. classes as a way of developing multi-Local Volunteer Organizing Committees. It can't just be about your Local Union or where you work, a successful union requires you to be active where you make your home and where you vote.

Construction may be slow, but that doesn't mean there isn't work for union carpenters. Call your local union or talk to members who live in your community about attending or scheduling a BUILD session. Learn what's going on and how you can help make things better.

TAGS: B.u.i.l.d.

Carpenters Center welcomes BPD, Patriots' Kraft Posted by on

The Carpenters Center today hosted a training session put on by the Boston Police Department for their Sergeants. The Sergeants Advanced Leadership Training (S.A.L.T.) is an initiative of Commissioner Edward Davis and Superintendent Paul F. Joyce, Jr., who is Chief of the Bureau of Professional Development.

Four dozen Sergeants took part in classroom sessions in the morning before being joined by Commissioner Davis, Command Staff and Lieutenants for a larger session. Commissioner Davis spoke the the group about the vital role BPD leaders play in not only routine policing, but stepped up vigilance since the 9/11 attacks and the death of Osama bin Laden. New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft also addressed the group, talking about his business history before and after his purchase of the team.