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Carpenters Appreciation Night is around the corner Posted by on

70 BIG prizes, 3 ways to watch LIVE on March 11! Come to the Carpenters Center in Dorchester, watch from the comfort of your home or hang out at one of FIFTEEN viewing events throughout New England. All members welcome at all locations. Additional door prizes available at all live events with 25+ members! For details, click here.

Carpenters recruit by showing off training center Posted by on

There's welcome news for construction contractors in New England worried about a current or looming skilled labor shortage. Today, more than 900 students currently enrolled in vocational high schools or programs are visiting the New England Carpenters Training Center in Millbury, Massachusetts today.

During their visit, they're learning more about the comprehensive training programs available in the diverse carpentry trade. They're also seeing some of the most sophisticated facilities in the country, combining state-of-the-art shop and work space with classrooms, dormitory, dining and recreation space.

Though some students may have experience in limited aspects of the industry, today's tour gives them a comprehensive view of the trade, work conditions and career opportunities available to trained, motivated and supprted trades workers.

A lack of skilled trades workers is consistently cited in surveys by employers as a limiting factor for company growth and their ability to deliver consistent quality work. Contractors signatory to the Carpenters union have the advantage of joint training programs and fairly negotiated wage and benefit packages that attract the most qualified applicants.

For more information on training programs visit

Carpenters win right to choose representation at Electric Boat Posted by on

Carpenters in Local 1302 at Electric Boat in Groton, Connecticut have successfully beat back an effort by the Metal Trades Council (AFL-CIO) to eliminate their rights and fold them into other unions. This is the first situation in the country where carpenters have stood up, fought back and defeated this piece of the national AFL-CIO's campaign against the UBC.

In 2011, the national AFL-CIO's Metal Trades Department issued a directive to Metal Trades Councils across the country to remove UBC-affiliated locals from their council and prohibit them from continuing to represent the interests of their carpenter members. In February this year, the Metal Trades Council barred Local 1302 from participating in contract negotiations with Electric Boat. The new collective bargaining agreement reached in April removed any reference to the Carpenters union. Shortly thereafter, the MTC stripped Local 1302 of its ability to represent carpenters in the adjustment of their grievances and began a campaign to have carpenters join local unions affiliated with the Laborers, Boilermakers and Painters.

"We tried to get a solidarity agreement with the Metal Trades Council, but it got shot down by their national people," said Bob Tardif, Chief Steward of Local 1302. "Once they shut us out of negotiations, we started to look at our options and talk to the New England Regional Council of Carpenters. We wanted to keep our identity and Mark (Erlich) said that whatever resources we needed, we would have."

As a result of a petition filed by NERCC and Local 1302, a Regional Director of the National Labor Relations Board has issued a decision allowing carpenters at Electric Boat to have a "severance election." The election gives carpenters the right to choose the Carpenters union to bargain with the shipyard, separate from the Metal Trades Council, which represents all other trades workers. Voting for the Carpenters union will allow Local 1302 carpenters to continue their 70-year history of membership and representation by the Carpenters union, rather than be dispersed to other unions.

The election is scheduled for later this month, though the Metal Trades Council and Electric Boat may appeal the decision to the full National Labor Relations Board in Washington, D.C.

"If the vote isn't unanimous, it will probably be really close to unanimous," said Tardif. "Right now, we're all really proud to be members of the Council and get the support we've really needed, from the Executive Board, the Delegates and everyone else.

Congratulations to the courageous union carpenters of Local 1302 for standing together and winning this important fight .

Bay State Drywall carpenters win union election Posted by on

 In an election held last night in Southeastern Massachusetts by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), carpenters employed by Bay State Drywall voted for union representation from the Carpenters union by a 10-8 margin. The Freetown-based company is one of a group of contractors in the Fall River-New Bedford area, sometimes referred to as "drywall alley," that draw carpenters from the substantial Portuguese population. During peak season, they typically employ 40-50 carpenters and have been one of the larger nonunion companies in the market.

Representatives from the New England Regional Council of Carpenters have become familiar faces to Bay State employees over the years thanks to countless jobsite visits, which created a level of trust. When there were disputes with the owners over restoring pay cuts made during slow times, the workers decided to go forward with a union election.

Negotiation of an agreement with Bay State cannot start until after the NLRB resolves a union challenge to the uncounted ballots of six employees that Bay State had argued should be included in the election. Those employees are primarily tapers and the Council has taken the position that they do not fall under the definition of a carpenter bargaining unit. A Board ruling on the matter may take as long as two months.

"I'm proud of the carpenters who had the courage to stand up to the company and proud of our staff that led the organizing drive," said Mark Erlich, NERCC Executive Secretary-Treasurer. "NLRB elections are not that common in the construction industry and this victory sends a message that we will use every tool at our disposal to represent working carpenters in New England."

CTA signs union agreement Posted by on

CTA Construction signed a collective bargaining agreement with the New England Regional Council of Carpenters on July 2nd. The contract represents a culmination of a long campaign by the Council and extensive discussions over the past few years between the two organizations.

CTA was founded in 2000 by Lyle Coghlin and Pat Tompkins. Over the past fourteen years, the company has emerged as one of the larger public construction contractors in Massachusetts, with an annual volume of $138 million in 2013. CTA was listed as the 12th largest general contractor in the 2012 Boston Business Journal's Book of Lists and is currently ranked as the 376th biggest firm in ENR's national survey.

"We are pleased that CTA is now a union contractor," commented Mark Erlich, NERCC's Executive Secretary-Treasurer. "We believe that access to a higher caliber of subcontractors and skilled carpenters will allow the company to grow even further."

NERCC to be recognized at White House Summit Posted by on

The efforts of the New England Regional Council of Carpenters, as part of the Policy Group on Tradeswomen’s Issues to increase women’s participation in the construction trades, are being recognized nationally at the White House Summit on Working Families this Monday. NERCC Business Representative Liz Skidmore will represent the NERCC and the PGTI at the event, which is being hosted by the White House and the Department of Labor and the Center for American Progress. Both President Obama and Vice President Biden will be attending the event.

The White House planning committee for the Summit asked the National Task Force on Tradeswomen's Issues for two "Best Practices" for getting more women into the trades. The Task Force presented them with the Minnesota Vikings stadium project, which set hiring goals and has hired a lot of women, and the work being done in New England by NERCC and the Policy Group on Tradeswomen's Issues (PGTI), which is convened by Skidmore, Susan Moir of UMass Boston Labor Resource Center, Brian Doherty of the Boston Building Trades and Janet Jones of the Dorchester Roxbury Labor Committee.

The PGTI has established a multi-stakeholder strategy of bringing key players together over time to build relationships, share expertise, identify and implement solutions. The group has met at the Carpenters Center every other month for six years and includes city, state and federal officials; General and sub-contractors, academics, compliance officers, tradeswomen, and union leaders. During this time they have published two reports: Unfinished Business, an analysis of all research done on tradeswomen in the last 25 years in the US with policy recommendations and Finishing the Job, a how-to manual for meeting hiring goals on specific construction projects. 

Women's employment has risen from 3% to 6% of all hours worked in Boston over the last few years, a statistic made even more significant when considering the simultaneous increase in the number or work hours over the past two years.

Additional work being done by PGTI that has earned them recognition as a national best practice includes moving from 35 years of supply-only (recruitment and pre-apprenticeship training) to a supply and demand strategy that includes the supply work and adds demand - working to improve compliance with hiring goals. As a result of their work, the Integrated Science Center at UMass Boston building project, which is the first project in Boston that has met hiring goals for all three established goals (residents, minorities and women) over the course of the project.

PGTI has also compiled compliance numbers online in searchable, downloadable databases by a number of entities including the City of Boston, UMass Boston (for their $700 mil PLA), and the MA Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards. These databases are now being used by GCs and project owners to review past compliance history and in evaluating which contractors to hire.

As stated on the summit’s website, “the White House Summit will convene businesses, economists, labor leaders, policymakers, advocates and citizen to discuss policy solutions that can make a real difference in the lives of working families and ensure America’s global competitiveness in the coming decades.”

Learn more about the work of the PGTI by visiting their website here. To follow the events happening during the White House Summit on Working Families click here.

NECTF hosts graduation ceremony Posted by on

On May 1st, the New England Carpenters Training Center hosted a graduation ceremony for the 2013 New England Carpenters Training Fund Apprentice Graduates. 129 members, representing 20 locals, completed their training in the apprenticeship program in 2013. Mark Erlich, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the New England Regional Council of Carpenters was the Keynote speaker.

Four members were specially recognized with awards given out at the ceremony. Local 107 member Corey Wagner, Local 94 member Alex Palmisciano and Local 56 member Thomas Stone each received the Golden Hammer Award. This award is given out each year to one member from each of the trades represented in that year’s graduating class. It is awarded to the graduate demonstrating outstanding craftsmanship and dedication to the profession.

Local 33 member Emerson Ocampo received the Zachary Constant Award, recognizing the graduating apprentice who displays an all-around commitment to the craft, the union and the community.

Congratulations to all of the graduates!

Reminder - Scholarship Applications due April 11th Posted by on

Applications are now being accepted for the 2014 New England Regional Council Scholarship Program. Last year 106 students applied and a total of $52,000 was awarded, including the top prize scholarship of $5,000.

Please review eligibility guidelines before applying. Guidelines and applications may be downloaded from and are available at locals union affiliates. The deadline for applications to be returned to NERCC is APRIL 11, 2014, 5:00 p.m. No exceptions! If you have any questions about the application, please call Malerie Anderson at (617) 307-5112. Winners will be notified in June.

Save the date - Retirement Seminar coming up in May Posted by on

The New England Regional Council of Carpenters and the New England Carpenters Benefits Funds are hosting a complimentary seminar “Planning for Retirement” on May 31, 2014. The seminar will be held at the Sheraton Framingham Hotel and Conference Center located at 1657 Worcester Rd in Framingham (click here for directions) from 8:30-11:30 am.

Members should check back in the coming weeks for registration information. 

Some of the topics that will be discussed at the seminar include...

Choosing your Pension, Annuity & Health Benefit Options...

  • Reviewing your eligibility for retirement
  • Customized Pension Benefit calculations
  • Understanding which of our Benefit Plan options fit best with your lifestyle
  • Explore your Annuity Benefit options
  • Explanation of our Retiree Health Benefit Plan
  • Overview of Social Security Benefits

Essentials for Estate Planning...

  • Protecting the assets you've accumulated
  • How to plan for the transfer of assets
  • Avoiding probate
  • Keeping your documents current


Meet Our Community - Brian and Dustin Posted by on

Brian Braasch and Dustin Johnson, members of Carpenters Local 1996 talk about being union carpenters.

Scholarship applications available Posted by on

The New England Regional Council of Carpenters Scholarship program has been opened for 2014. The program is supported by settlement agreements between the union and contractors and other contributions. Last year, more than $52,000 was awarded to 106 members and dependents furthering their post high school education, including top scholarships of $5,000 and $3,000.

Please review eligibility guidelines before applying. Guidelines and applications may be downloaded from and are available at locals union affiliates. The deadline for applications to be returned to NERCC is APRIL 11, 2014, 5:00 p.m. No exceptions! If you have any questions about the application, please call Malerie Anderson at (617) 307-5112. Winners will be notified in June.

Retirement Seminar registration is closed Posted by on

Registration for the complimentary seminar "Planning for Retirement," to be held on November 16, 2013, is now closed. A record number of respondents registered for the event - nearly 130!

The New England Carpenters Benefits Fund will be planning a 2014 Retirement Seminar Series, check back for updates. 


Some of the topics that will be discussed at the seminar include...

Choosing your Pension, Annuity & Health Benefit Options...

  • Reviewing your eligibility for retirement
  • Customized Pension Benefit calculations
  • Understanding which of our Benefit Plan options fit best with your lifestyle
  • Explore your Annuity Benefit options
  • Explanation of our Retiree Health Benefit Plan
  • Overview of Social Security Benefits

Essentials for Estate Planning...

  • Protecting the assets you've accumulated
  • How to plan for the transfer of assets
  • Avoiding probate
  • Keeping your documents current


2013 Carpentry Expo Posted by on

The 2013 Carpentry Expo was held last week at the New England Carpenters Training Center in Millbury, MA. Over 1,000 students, representing 43 high schools attended the event. Students, along with their teachers, were given guided tours of the training facility by members of the NERCC staff. 44 NERCC apprentices participated in the event working on projects throughout the facility. These live demonstrations gave the students a better look at what a career as a union carpenter might look like.

Live demonstrations included: Infection Control Risk Assessment, Interior Systems, Flooring, Residential Wood Framing, Scaffolding Erector Certification, Cabinet Installation, Door Hardware, Finish Carpentry, Welding, Concrete Formwork, Insulated Concrete Forms, Pile Driving, Under Water Welding, Exterior Siding, and Stair Layout and Framing.

NERCC Election Results Posted by on

 Following are results from today's elections for positions on the New England Regional Council of Carpenters Executive Board. The elections were held as part of a Special Call meeting of Delegates to the New England Regional Council of Carpenters. Nominations were posted on this blog earlier in the day.

Executive Secretary-Treasurer: Mark Erlich, unopposed. One vote was cast by the Chair. Erlich elected.

President: Richard Monarca, unopposed. One vote was cast by the Chair. Monarca elected.

Vice President: Al Peciaro, 75 votes. Rick Anderson, 24 votes. Peciaro elected.

Warden: Jack Donahue, unopposed. One vote was cast by the Chair. Donahue elected.

Conductor: John Murphy, unopposed. One vote was cast by the Chair. Murphy elected.

Trustees (Three positions): Brian Richardson, 84 votes. David Palmisciano, 66 votes. Paul Lander, 63 votes. George Meadows, 35 votes. Paul Hughes, 24 votes. Richardson, Palmisciano and Lander elected.

Executive Committee (Five positions)

Thomas Flynn, Bruce Lydem, Gary DeCosta, John Leavitt and John Cunningham ran unopposed. One vote was cast by the Chair. Flynn, Lydem, DeCosta, Leavitt and Cunningham were elected.

Elected candidates were sworn into office following the reading of the results by the Election Committee and will each serve a four-year term, expiring in September 2017

NERCC election Posted by on

Nominations and election for the Executive Board of the New England Regional Council of Carpenters are being held today at a Special Call Delegates Meeting at the New England Carpenters Training Center. The following nominations have been made:

Executive Secretary-Treasurer
Mark Erlich, Local Union 40, nominated by Dan Kuhs, Local Union 56. Seconded by Bill Callahan, Local Union 24.

Richard Monarca, Local Union 24, nominated by Andy Hendrickson, Local Union 24. Seconded by John Murphy, Local Union 33.

Vice President
--Al Peciaro, Local Union 33, nominated by Brian Richardson, Local Union 56. Seconded by Michael Robinson, Local Union 24.
--Rick Anderson, Local Union 624, self-nominated. Seconded by Joe Power, Local 40.

--Local Union Jack Donahue, Local 107, nominated by Ray Bissonnette of Local Union 107. Seconded by Fred Taylor, Local 107.

--John Murphy, Local Union 33, nominated by Tom Flynn, Local Union 67. Seconded by Richard Monarca, Local Union 24.

Trustees (3) 
--George Meadows, Local Union 43, nominated by Bill Baker, Local Union 43. Seconded by Tim Moriarty, Local Union 43.
--Brian Richardson, Local Union 56, nominated by Ted Duarte, Local Union 210. Seconded by Mynor Perez, Local Union 2168.
--Paul Lander, Local Union 94, nominated by Chris Shannon, Local Union 67. Seconded by Mike Antunes of Local Union 94.
--David Palmisciano, Local Union 94, nominated by Bill Holmes, Local Union 94. Seconded by Richard Monarca, Local Union 24.
--Paul Hughes, Local Union 218, self-nominated. Seconded by Jeff Donahue, Local Union 218.

Executive Committee (5)
--Thomas Flynn, Local Union 67, nominated by Victor Carrara of Local Union 67. Seconded by Brian Richardson, Local Union 56.
--Bruce Lydem, Local Union 24, nominated by David Jarvis, Local Union 24. Seconded by Mike Turner, Local Union 24
--Gary DeCosta, Local Union 1305, nominated by John Cunningham, Local Union 210. Seconded by John Cabral, Local Union 1305.
--John Leavitt, Local Union 1996, nominated by John Murphy, Local 33. Seconded by Jim Carey, Local 275.
--John Cunningham, Local Union 210, nominated by Gary DeCosta, Local Union 1305. Seconded by Ted Duarte, Local Union 210. 

The latest issue of New England Carpenter is on its way! Posted by on

Keep an eye on your mailbox, the latest issue of the New England Carpenter magazine will be arriving this week. The issue features a story about the economic recovery slowing spreading across New England as well as a cluster of stories about NERCC members and their involvement in the community. You can read the issue online and find additional content, including links to video content, by clicking here

Bouchard retiring Posted by on

Bryan Bouchard, who serves as Business Manger of Local 1996 in Vermont, Regional Manager for Northern New England and a member of the New England Regional Council of Carpenters Executive Board has announced his retirement, effective March 11. Bouchard is a 36-year member of the UBC.

Executive Secretary-Treasurer Mark Erlich is appointing John Leavitt to fill Bouchard's unexpired term on the Executive Board as well as his role as Regional Manager for Northern New England.

"Bryan served the members on staff for the Carpenters Union for 26 years," Erlich said. "He has been a quiet but effective leader who always carried himself with dignity and integrity. He will be sorely missed by his members and the Council. We wish him a long and happy retirement."

Ice Fishing Derby Posted by on

The 5th Annual New England Carpenters Ice Fishing Derby will be held Sunday, February 17 from 7am-2pm at Singletary Lake in Millbury, Massachusetts.

Organizer Joe Broderick will be set up at 5am at the lake, which can be accessed by West Main Street in Millbury. Look for a banner with the carpenters emblem by the boat ramp. There is a $20 fee to enter. Twenty-five percent of proceeds will be donated to the Valley Tech Educational Fund

Power augers will not be allowed before 7am and no tickets will be sold after 9am. Awards and a shore drawing will be held at the boat ramp at 2pm. Prizes will be awarded to the heaviest fish of any species, with 40% of proceeds going to the winner, 25% to 2nd place and 10% to 3rd place. Ties will be broken by fish length. All fish must be brought in alive.

For questions, please call Joe Broderick of Local 535 at 781-983-1383.

Helping Hammers: Carpenters in Haiti Posted by on

On January 12, 2010, a catastrophic earthquake hit Haiti, devastating an already impoverished nation. With much of the country's medical infrastructure destroyed, plans that were in place to build a 110-bed community hospital had to be revamped. The Ministry of Health, along with Partners In Health, launched a far more ambitious plan to build a 320-bed state-of-the-art teaching hospital in Mirebalais, which is located thirty-five miles north of Port-au-Prince in the Central Plateau.

Haiti's building industry, however, was simply unable to meet the needs of the new building design. Massive donations of time, materials and skills would be needed for the project to succeed. Union carpenters and contractors stepped up to the challenge to help secure materials and volunteer their time and labor to help build the hospital while teaching Haitian workers valuable craft skills 

To learn more, check out the piece NERCC Executive Secretary-Treasurer Mark Erlich wrote for Commonwealth magazine about this amazing project following a trip to Haiti in 2012.

Got Training? Posted by on

Registration is now open!

Registration is now open for 2013 Spring Semester. All training is provided FREE to UBC members. Classes are filled on a first-come, first-served basis, so register early!

To register, log onto the training website by using your UBC number (found on your union card) and your date of birth.

Check out for more info. 


2013 NERCC Scholarship Now Accepting Applications Posted by on


Applications are now being accepted for the 2013 New England Regional Council Scholarship Program. Last year 148 students applied and a total of $50,000 was awarded, including the top prize scholarship of $5,000.

To be considered for an award, a completed application package must be received by 5:00 pm on April 12, 2013.

Please review the Eligibility and Guidelines for the program before completing the application. Applicants will be required to write an essay of between 500 and 1000 words on the following topic:

What impact does “Right to Work” legislation have on labor unions, economic development and the standard of living in a state that adopt the law?

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 2013 delegate meeting. Persons awarded first or second place in a prior year are ineligible for first or second place in subsequent years.

Misclassification crackdown, publicity Posted by on

Misclassification has been a serious problem in the construction industry for years, and something against which the Carpenters union has led the fight locally, regionally and nationally. Union efforts resulted first in greater understanding and awareness among elected officials and now regularly lead to enforcement and publicity on the issue that is either directly a result of union action or an indirect result of efforts initiated by the union.

Two items broke this week that reinforce that point. In Worcester, Telegram and Gazette columnist Clive McFarlane wrote about efforts by NERCC Organizer Manny Gines to chase down employers who cheat by misclassifying workers as independent contractors or cheat them out of their wages.

McFarlane's column ties into an announcement earlier in the week by the Executive Office of Labor in Massachusetts that more they had found more than 2,300 workers misclassified by just three employers. Though the three companies were not involved in the construction industry, the eye-popping $11 million in unreported wages and millions of dollars the state should have received for unemployment insurance payments generated new stories that put the issue in front of the general public.

Leavitt goes on air for a good cause Posted by on

John Leavitt, the Business Agent for Local 1996 in Portland hit the airwaves this week to promote the union and help a disk jockey fill time as he stays on the air for four consecutive days. The Mark-a-thon is an annual event held by WCYY's Mark Curdo to raise money for the Center for Grieving Children. CYY is one of the radio stations on which NERCC and the New England Carpenters Labor Management Program place ads to promote the union and industry standards. They also carry radio broadcasts of New England Patriots games, on which the union advertises. Leavitt was on air with Mark on Tuesday afternoon at 3pm.

Clean sweep in New England Posted by on

To all staff and local unions:

Yesterday was a good day for union carpenters across New England. Amazingly, all of the Council’s endorsed candidates won election. Obama swept the six states, including winning swing-state New Hampshire by a larger-than-expected margin. In the critical races -- Warren in Massachusetts, Murphy in Connecticut, Hassan/Kuster/Shea-Porter in New Hampshire, King in Maine, Cicilline in Rhode Island – our picks were all winners!!

There is no doubt in my mind that some of the credit for these outcomes belongs to all of you and our members. We worked as hard as we ever have in an election season. We used all the tools available to us – new and old techniques – to educate and mobilize our members. And they responded. Door knocking, phone banks, rallies, visibilities, robo-dials, tele-Town Halls. We had a good story to tell…and we told it well and often.

But it’s important to keep a clear-eyed perspective on where we stand the morning after Election Day 2012. In many ways, we “held serve”. We helped fend off the right wing Republican assault on the middle class. There should be a clear message to the nation’s anti-union forces that their philosophy is not welcome, that the voters do not buy an agenda that favors the wealthy over working families. Yet we still have a divided Congress; we still have a Republican Party that attacks unions. We have some new articulate champions but we also have some old foes. Paul Ryan is still chair of the House Budget Committee and there are no signs yet that the House leadership is prepared to move forward in terms of solving our country’s problems as opposed to scoring political points.

So, as much as all of us deserve to take a deep breath and feel a justified sense of pride in our efforts, we will need to remain vigilant. The economy will not fix itself; it will require more federal and state action to invest in jobs and people. And it will require our continued involvement. Our members need to work; that’s why we endorsed the candidates who understood that the best social program is a job.

Thank you all for your efforts these past weeks and months. It was worth it. Congratulations.

Mark Erlich
Executive Secretary-Treasurer
New England Regional Council of Carpenters

Earth Day Recycling Program Posted by on

 In recognition of Earth Day 2012 the New England Carpenters Training Fund is sponsoring a FREE electronics Recycling on Monday, April 23, 2012 at the New England Carpenters Training Center (NECTC), 13 Holman Rd, Millbury, MA 01527.

Items may be dropped off between the hours of 7:00 AM and 2:30 PM (any day this week or on Monday, April 23).

Please call the NECTC at 508-792-5443 to let them know if you will participating so they have an idea of when you will arrive and the items you will be bringing.

The following items will be accepted.

• PC’s/Laptops
• Monitors (CRT & LCD)
• Terminals
• Servers
• Wires and Cables
• Fax Machines
• Printers
• Power Supplies
• VCR, DVDs, CD’s, floppies, camcorders
• Electrical Equipment
• Stereo Equipment and components
• Server Racks
• Projectors
• Photocopiers
• Communication Equipment
• Networking equipment
• Cell Phones
• Telecom Equipment

****We will not accept TV’s as there is a charge for them

Wentworth Information Sessions Posted by on

Information sessions are being held for members who would like to learn more about degree programs available through the union at Wentworth Institute of Technology. Two sessions are scheduled in the coming weeks.

Saturday, April 21 at 10AM: 750 Dorchester Ave., Boston, MA

Saturday, May 5 at 9 AM: 13 Holman Rd., Millbury, MA

Learn more general information about the program by clicking here.

The New England Carpenter is on its way! Posted by on

While we love the convenience and immediacy of sharing news and information through the “Council Update” and on and social media platforms, we know not every carpenter is active online. So the New England Regional Council is committed to continuing to produce the New England Carpenter magazine and deliver it to every member’s home.

The latest issue of New England Carpenter magazine has rolled through the presses up in Salem, Massachusetts at Deschamps Printing. You’ll notice some changes in this issue, including some new design elements and more (and bigger) pictures of union members and union projects!

We’re featuring a cluster of stories about member involvement in area standards demonstrations and introducing the Union Participation Program, which will plug active members into ongoing union efforts to protect standards and win more work opportunities.

Keep an eye on your mailbox or check-in at the media center on

Local 1996 Participates in Day of Caring Posted by on

As reported in the Portland Herald Press

PORTLAND ?? Two dozen volunteers descended on the Children's Museum and Theater of Maine on Thursday. They went to work weeding flower beds, freshening the paint on a scaled-down pirate ship, applying finish to picnic tables and dismantling the aging Taj Mahal clubhouse.

"We have plenty of stuff for them to do," said Matt Chamberlain, a member of the museum's exhibits and operations staff.

The volunteers were among more than 1,000 people from various companies and organizations who turned out for the United Way of Greater Portland's 18th annual Day of Caring.

After gathering for a kickoff breakfast at Back Cove, the volunteers fanned out to 90 projects at 60 nonprofit organizations. They did chores ranging from yard work to public relations consulting to painting. And yes, they did windows.

Day of Caring was a small event when it started in the early 1990s, with only about 10 projects, said Suzanne McCormick, president and CEO of the United Way of Greater Portland.

"Over the years," she said, "the nonprofits have come to depend on this day for their capital improvements," and the event has grown.

At a playground for PROP's child care program, several men from Local 1996 of the New England Regional Council of Carpenters took apart an old play structure. The agency has wanted to do the job for several years, but every year something more pressing has come up, said Kevin Dean, who supervises PROP's child and family services field staff.

"It's pretty simple for us," said Dana Goldsmith, the local's training coordinator for northern New England. "At the onset, we didn't know what we were going to be facing. A few of us brought our own tools."

About 70 volunteers helped the Salvation Army sort food that had been collected by the National Association of Letter Carriers.

When the volunteers arrived at the warehouse, they found mail totes containing 50,000 pounds of food, said Capt. Penny Shaffer of the Salvation Army in Portland. The volunteers worked in assembly-line fashion, sorting and boxing the donated food.

"People are coming with a willing spirit to do whatever needs to be done," Shaffer said.

After most of the volunteers had finished, three teens from Long Creek Youth Development Center were still loading boxes -- marked for categories like "BEANS," "MAC & CHEESE," "BAKING" and "SAUCE" -- into a trailer attached to a pickup truck.

"I just asked who wanted to go. Today's our first time here," said Jeff Bachelder, juvenile program manager for the unit, which is geared toward boys who are nearing release and includes regular community service activities.

In the museum's back yard, L.L. Bean human resources employees shared their adventures of the morning.

Heidi Baughman, a department coordinator, revamped the museum's birthday room with light yellow and turquoise paint.

"We're having a blast today," she said.

Tim Wachtl, an interviewer, helped to take down the Taj Mahal. The volunteers took off the foam dome and knocked off pieces with sledgehammers.

"We found out we're not men of steel," he said.

The influx of volunteers at the museum meant that its backyard -- a difficult spot to maintain because of its exposure to the elements -- would get some dramatic improvements quickly, said Chamberlain, the staff member.

Normally, the three members of the exhibit and operations staff would have to chip away at such a project, sometimes with help from one or two volunteers. But by lunchtime Thursday, Chamberlain was optimistic that the work would be finished in time for a members party on the deck in the evening.

"Whenever we get a group like this, it's really a big help," he said.

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.

Union Carpenters praised in Maine Posted by on

Union Carpenters were given a public pat on the back last week for work they're doing with area residents to winterize their homes. A woman who was the recipient of the good will effort wrote to the Portland Press Herald to give an enthusiastic thanks.

Conservative paper highlights seedy side of construction industry Posted by on

The Manchester Union-Leader, a New Hampshire newspaper that has generally stuck to its very conservative roots even as the politics of the state become gradually more moderate to liberal, printed a two-story feature in it??s Sunday edition about the dark side of the construction industry in the state.

The stories center around Juan Garcia Hernandez, a "jefe" NERCC Organizers also knew as Juan Garcia. Hernandez supplied immigrant drywall workers for several projects in the region, including projects financed by the federal government through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). He was also arrested by state and federal agents on Easter weekend in New Hampshire??s biggest drug bust when he and some others were caught with 100 pounds of cocaine, worth approximately $4 million.

NERCC Organizers have been talking to employees working for Hernandez and other jefes for a long time, finding low wages promised, though sometimes unpaid. Without a concerted Federal effort to limit illegal immigration, several years ago the union decided it would be better served talking to immigrant workers and helping them fight for decent treatment.

The stories highlight how and why things have gotten so bad in the industry. Hutter Construction, who was the general contractor where Hernandez was subcontracted for drywall work, claimed they didn??t know a thing about Hernandez. Though their website brags about their skills as a company that can manage all aspects of a project including "supervision," "job records and reports," and "establish boundaries and benchmarks," they tried to run from any involvement with Hernandez in the story:

"The actual contract was with Granite State Drywall," said Chad Gibson, Hutter's project manager, adding that he was unaware Hernandez was involved in the project.
"It would be very hard for us to police three tiers down the line who is hiring them," Gibson said. "It's somewhat beyond our control."
[emphasis added]
The two stories can be read online here and here. The Manchester Union-Leader, like many news sites, allows readers to post comments about a story. Reader comments may appear beneath the story with a form for submitting more comments. Members are encouraged to use this feature and express their feelings about stories they read online concerning union and construction issues. Remember these are public forums, so be direct, but respectful of others. Site editors do reserve the right to remove comments they find objectionable.

Feds send grant money for Wood Structures workers Posted by on

A rare bit of good news has come in for former employees of Wood Structures in Saco, Maine. US Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis announced today that the Department of Labor is providing a grant of more than $600,000 for displacement services.

The State of Maine will administer the grant, which may provide "individual career counseling, skills assessment, and basic and occupational skills training," according to the DOL press release.

Bob Burleigh, an Industrial Representative serving Northern New England for the New England Regional Council of Carpenters said: "After two months of nothing but bad news, it is great to have something positive to tell the members affected by the plant shutdown and the bankruptcy. This grant will help these laid off workers get the training and other help that they may need to get back on their feet."

Wood Structures, a 40-year old company who's trusses and raw lumber have been used throughout New England and New York struggled with the collapse of the housing market. They attempted to reorganize their debt through Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings, but were forced to lay off the final 50 or so union carpenters in mid-March. They are likely looking at Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which involves liquidation of the company's assets.

Wood Structures is no more Posted by on

Wood Structures, Inc. the Saco, Maine based yard that sold raw lumber and manufactured trusses and other materials for lumber yards throughout New England, has closed and will be liquidated through Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceedings.

Wood Structures has been struggling for some time as the housing sector steadily declined. The company, more than 40 years old has had multiple owners, according to news reports. The current owner was listed as Roark Capital Group of Atlanta, GA. The final 50 or so employees, who were members of Carpenters Local 1996, were laid off on Monday.

Employees who belong to Local 1996 of the New England Regional Council of Carpenters will be owed a week's pay for every year of service, said Bob Burleigh, the union's industrial representative. Severance and vacation pay will be among the issues the union will seek for workers during bankruptcy proceedings.

Union workers earned wages ranging from approximately $15 to $25 an hour and received benefits, including health care, a retirement plan and paid vacation.

"They were very good jobs," Burleigh said.

In addition to being a well known name to lumber yards and contractors in the region, Wood Structures was a familiar site to any New Englanders travelling to Maine. Its property sat right alongside Route 95, with its yard and materials in full site of passersby.