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RI DLT announces further enforcement Posted by on

The Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training (DLT) has come down hard on a cheating contractor for the second time this month, ordering Mancieri Flooring Company to pay more than $330,000 in back wages, interest and civil penalties for payroll and miscassification violations. The company has also been debarred from public work in the state for three years.

Attording to a DLT press release, Mancieri was found to have failed to pay prevailing wages for work it performed at the University of Rhode Island from 2012-2014; failed to pay overtime rates; falsely reported payments to workers on cerrified payroll records; misclassified 17 workers as independent contractors and giving workers false 1099 forms to the state to hide its behavior. Mancieri's had previously been discovered filing false payroll records on a federal prevailing wage project and continued their practices.

The company will pay $70,000 to workers, a $210,000 civil penalty and $51,000 for misclassification. The civil penalty is three time the owed wages and the misclassification penalty is $3,000 for each employee misclassified.

Just weeks ago, the DLT ordered Cardoso Construction to pay more than $700,000 for similar violations affecting 27 workers employed for work at the University of Rhode Island.

RI fraud unit makes first big splash Posted by on

The state of Rhode Island has sent its first significant message to the construction industry that Governor Raimondo's administration is serious about cracking down on payroll fraud and wage theft. Yesterday, it announced it had finalized a settlement agreement with Cardoso Construction that will have the company pay a total of $730,000 for a list of violations related to misclassification of workers.

Twenty-seven carpenters who were victimized by the scheme will each be paid about $13,000 in owed wages, totaling more than $351,000. An additional $351,000 in penalties will be paid to the state as well as a $27,000 fine; $1,000 for each employee.

The state's investigation was the result of outreach work done by Local 94 Representative Tom Savoie to carpenters working for Cardoso on a project at the University of Rhode Island. Savoie passed away earlier this year.

The state of Rhode Island formed a Joint Task Force on the Underground Economy and Employee Misclassification last year. It brings together the Attorney General's office, the Division of Taxation, Department of Business Regulation, Department of Public Safety and Workers' Compensation Court, all of which hold a piece of enforcement jurisdiction regarding misclassification. Such task forces have been effective investigative bodies in other states because they allow agencies to share information they otherwise would not, leading to faster, more effective prosecutions.

Public Citizen Illustrates Negative Effects of TPP's Threat to "Buy American" Posted by on


Billions of dollars belonging to U.S. citizens could be shipped overseas if the Trans-Pacific Partnership’s threat to the “Buy American” program is enacted. Learn more on the UBC site here

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 awards $59,650 in scholarships Posted by on

The New England Regional Council of Carpenters announced that it has awarded $59,650 to 152 applicants as part of the 2014 Scholarship Contest.

The NERCC Scholarship Fund is supported by settlement agreements between the union and contractors and other contributions. Its function is to help members and dependents who are attending school with the ever-increasing costs of a college education. Students must be enrolled in post-high school program and maintain a “C” average in at least three, three-credit courses to apply. All applicants must complete an essay, which is read and scored by a panel of judges who do not know the identity of the writers.

Applicants were required to write an essay of between 500 and 1000 words on the following topic: Union workers at Boeing Co. in Seattle recently vote on a proposed contract that eliminated their pension plans in exchange for guarantees of future jobs. What are your thoughts on this controversy vis-à-vis the role of the company and the role of the unions? If you were a union member there, how would you have voted and why?

A $5,000 first prize was given to Kaitlyn Benoit, daughter of Floorcoverers Local 2168’s Daniel Benoit. A second prize of $3,000 was awarded to Joseph Cunningham, whose father, Peter Cunningham, is a member of Carpenters Local 33.

Congrats to all of the scholarship recipients! 

Members lend skills and time to help build 'Techstyle Haus' for global energy-efficiency competition Posted by on

Members from Carpenters Local 94 recently volunteered to help students from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and Brown University prepare for the 2014 Solar Decathlon Europe. The international competition, showcasing the latest in energy-efficient design and construction, will take place this year in Versailles, France.Members helped the team of students construct their entry, named Techstyle Haus, a one-of-a-kind passive home design with an enclosure made entirely of textiles.

“It’s a self-sustained passive solar home for competition and structure will assembled and dismantled multiple times, so they have to learn how to combine steps,” notes Local 94 member Ted Lafond. “Our members were here trying to help them reason through and understand the assembly process.”

The international Solar Decathlon competition challenges students to build energy-efficient and innovative solar-powered homes. Students from the two schools teamed up with a group from the University of Applied Scinces Erfut in Germany to design the 800-square foot house, which is made of a Teflon-coated woven fiberglass, commonly used in sports domes. NERCC signatory contractor Shawmut Design and Construction is a sponsor of the project.

“In the field, when we’re going to put up walls we lay everything out, snap lines and get everything set. Everything is laser sharp, plumb sharp,” notes Local 94 member Frank Taraborelli. “The students installed the first panel down and said ‘well this looks like the way it goes’ and anchored it, they soon ran into problems. We stepped in and taught them how to lay it out.”

“We didn’t really have a strong idea of the right way to put the core together to make sure it was plumb and square,” notes RISD graduate student and TechStyle Haus project manager Sina Almassi. “We were just kind of in over our heads. They got us squared up. Having them help us is really going to make a big difference.”

The team of volunteers from Local 94 was instrumental in helping the students lay out and install the interior of the structure, which includes a kitchen, bathroom, sleeping area and loft. It was quite fun working with these students,” said Taraborelli. “They really learned something here.”

Hats off to the team of volunteers from Local 94: Ted Lafond, Frank Taraborelli, Kevin Hart, Ryan Del Toro, Gary Roy and Carl Noelte.

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.

Architects predict strong construction growth Posted by on

The American Institute of Architects is confidently projecting strong growth in nonresidential construction this year and next, with increase of 5% in 2013 and 7.2% in 2014. Commercial construction is expected to lead the way in growth, followed by industrial work, while institutional construction will grow at a slower pace. The AIA is basing its predictions on a comparison of its own "Architecture Billings Index" with forecasts from six different industry groups. The consistency in forecasts leads them to believe they will be very reliable.

Contractor: Being union is beneficial to all Posted by on

David Rampone, President of Hart Engineering, a signatory contractor based in Cumberland, Rhode Island isn't shy about being a union contractor. Last year he volunteered to be one of the latest union contractors to do a radio ad on behalf of the New England Regional Council of Carpenters. Now, he's published an opinion piece in the Providence Journal explaining why his business is better with a union partnership. Click through to read it.

The following opinion piece appeared in the January 10 print edition of the Providence Journal-Bulletin.

The benefits of employing unionists


Regarding Charles Chieppo’s Dec. 20 column, “Unions are 1 percenters in Mass.,” in which he portrayed the construction industry inaccurately:

As the chief executive of a major Rhode lsland construction firm that does work all over New England, I’ll set the record straight. I am the president of Hart Engineering Corp., a general and process mechanical contractor founded over 70 years ago and based in Cumberland.

While I have read several opinion pieces by “public-relations experts” articulating the “evils” of the unionized construction industry, it needs to be pointed out that these experts have no actual experience in the construction industry and draw their conclusions based purely on anecdotal information provided by those who wish to see the unionized construction industry fail.

For the record, the National Labor Relations Act lets construction companies decide for themselves whether to be affiliated with the industry’s trade unions. It is the only industry that has such a provision. Since its inception, our firm has made the business-driven decision to be affiliated with several trade unions — a decision that has been beneficial to both our company and employees.

Currently we employ more than100 union tradesmen and women on dozens of jobs, large and small, throughout New England. These employees receive a fair wage, full health-care benefits and pension contributions — a package that lets them provide their families with a respectable standard of living. And in light of the negative attention cast on public-sector unions in these times, note that unionized construction workers are not guaranteed employment. In fact, Rhode Island unionized construction workers average about 1,500 hours worked a year. They do not receive vacation time, sick days or holiday pay, nor do they receive any benefits if they do not work the required number of hours a year — usually between 1,200 and 1,400, depending on the trade union involved.

Beyond my own company, the performance of Rhode Island’s trade unions and union contractors speaks for itself. There are more than 200 local contractors with union agreements in the Rhode Island area, and there have been more than 50 all-union project labor agreements (PLAs) worth billions of dollars completed in this area, including most of the state’s highest-profile projects. Most of these PLAs have been in the private sector.

These agreements symbolize the marketplace at work. Owners, construction managers and contractors enter into these agreements for one reason only: It is in their best interest to do so. And why? The trade unions in partnership with their contractors invest millions of dollars annually recruiting, training and retraining their workers to provide the safest, most skilled workforce in our industry. In today’s world, owners want their projects completed safely, on time, under budget and to the highest level of quality possible. That is why owners from small firms to Fortune 500 companies enter into project labor agreements.

While there are far fewer PLAs in the public sector than in the private sector, they are becoming more prevalent. However, before any public entity in Rhode Island can implement a PLA, it must complete an independent “objective and reasoned” study that recommends their use.

The trade unions’ record of providing contractors and owners with a safe and productive workforce is unmatched in our industry. Those who oppose them assert that using nonunionized workers would provide the owner with great savings. Unfortunately, those savings are usually the result of substandard wages, failure to provide health-care benefits to employees, or misclassifying employees to pay them a lower wage.

For 70 years we have provided our clients with the safest, most capable and productive work force in the industry, and our employees with a fair wage and benefits for them and their families. We are proud of what we have been able to achieve with our union partners.

David Rampone is president of Hart Engineering Corp., in Cumberland.  

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

Union carpenters, pension $ put to work in Providence Posted by on

Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chaffee and Providence Mayor Angel Taveras were among those on hand today for a ceremonial groundbreaking for The Highlands on the East Side in Pro. The project is a renovation of senior housing that will become an assisted living facility. The project is being financed by the New England Carpenters Pension Fund and led by union general contractor CWC. It will provide an eventual monetary return to the Fund while providing immediate employment opportunities to union carpenters, economic activity for Providence and badly needed housing for an aging population.

The building is owned by Halkeen Management if Norwood, Massachusetts and will eventually provide 64 unites of housing, including Alzheimer's and Dementia apartments in a variety of layouts.

The Carpenters Pension Fund is investing in the project as part of their diversified investment portfolio.

The groundbreaking was covered briefly by Providence Channel 10.


Our Work - Blue Cross & Blue Shield Posted by on


Learn more about this project by clicking here to view it in our online portfolio

RI members approve new contract Posted by on

Members of Carpenters Local 94 in Rhode Island unanimously ratified a new, two-year collective bargaining agreement at a meeting last Saturday. The contract was negotiated with the Associated General Contractors of Rhode Island and includes increases of $1.50 each year.

Seventy-five cents is being added to wages this month. The remaining seventy-five cents for the first year will be added to benefit contributions in January. The allocation for those increases will be determined in December by member vote.

The second year of the agreement is also schedule to include a wage increase of seventy-five cents in June and an increase to benefit contributions of seventy-five cents in January of 2013.

Language changes made to the agreement included mostly housekeeping issues such as a change from benefit stamps to electronic receipts for employer contributions to benefit funds.

The collective bargaining agreement with the Construction Industries of Rhode Island included a wage reopener, only. Wage and benefit changes negotiated as part of the AGC agreement will be applicable to the CCRI contract, but language changes will not.

Both the AGC and CCRI agreements will expire on June 2, 2013.

Savoie named to two state boards Posted by on

Local 94 Organizer/Business Representative Tom Savoie has been appointed to serve on advisory boards by Governor Lincoln Chafee and the Providence City Council.
Governor Chafee named Savoie a member of the Rhode Island Healthcare Reform Commission. The Commission is being led by Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Roberts.

??Healthcare is both an important part of our economy in Rhode Island and is a critical cost for Rhode Island businesses and families,?? said Chafee. ??Ensuring access to high quality, sustainable, affordable healthcare for all Rhode Islanders is one of the most important priorities that we face as a state. Your participation on the R.I. Healthcare Reform Commission will move our state toward attaining these critical goals.??

The Providence City Council tapped Savoie to join a group that will study and make recommendations on implementing the ??First Source?? ordinance. The ordinance requires businesses receiving grants, incentives, or subsidies from the City to give hiring preference to Providence residents. Since its implementation, there have been concerns about obstacles that limit the program??s success. Savoie and a group of labor, business and community leaders will make suggestions about how to overcome those obstacles.

TAGS: Rhode Island

Local 94 Awarded Green Training Grant, holds training class in Millbury Posted by on

RI Carpenters Local 94 has been awarded a two-year, $250,000 ??Green Jobs?? training grant. Funding for the grant was made available by The Providence Plan/Building Futures for the delivery of services under the US Department of Labor-sponsored Energy Training Partnership Fund in Rhode Island.

In early 2010, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis announced nearly $100 million in green jobs training grants as authorized by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The grants will support job training programs to help workers find jobs in expanding green industries and related occupations.

These grants are part of a larger Recovery Act ?C totaling $500 million ?C to fund workforce development projects that promote economic grown by preparing workers for careers in the energy efficiency and renewable energy industries.

The $250,000 grant awarded to Local 94 is part of a much larger grant in the amount of $3.7 million coming to Rhode Island to train 1,600 people for jobs in energy efficient construction and renewable power industries. The money will go to the Building Futures program sponsored by The Providence Plan, a nonprofit that works to improve the economic and social well being of city residents.

Local 94??s portion of the grant calls for the training of 70 apprentices and 100 Journeymen from Rhode Island in four courses over a two year period. Courses to be offered will include: Awareness-Green Building, Lead RRP, Insulated Concrete Form Systems and Structural Insulated Panels.

The Structural Insulated Panel class listens to guest lecturer Kevin Arcand, of Smithfield Rhode Island-based Branch River Plastics, a local and regional manufacturer of Structural Insulated Panels.

The Department of Labor will be tracking the major grant outcomes, keeping in mind the goal of providing green, certifiable technical skills training to workers and the priority placement of those workers on green jobs or projects. The 8-hour Green Awareness classes started in October and are being scheduled on an ongoing basis. Both the Green Awareness and Lead RRP courses will be held in Rhode Island. The Insulated Concrete Form Systems and Structural Insulated Panels courses will be held at the New England Carpenters Training Center in Millbury, MA, because of space requirements. Both day and night/weekend courses are being scheduled.

Because the classes are funded by grant money, they are currently available only to members of Rhode Island Local 94. All Local 94 members should have received a mailing regarding the grant and classes being offered. If you did not receive this information, or would like to find out more, contact instructor Charlie Johnson at Local 94 at 401-467-7070.

Immigration center (where immigrants were exploited) opens Posted by on

When your public defense against charges that illegal activity occurred during construction of your newly finished building project features the phrase ??technically and in fact,?? you might not have the strongest position. When you??re the District Director for United States Citizenship and Immigration Services answering questions about an illegal immigrant working on, but not being paid properly for work on, an USCIS building, you don??t look great in the press.

But there was Denis Riordan, District Director for USCIS, saying the Honduran worker who filed a lien against the Johnston, Rhode Island building ??technically and in fact employee was not working or employed by the federal government.??

The story was first covered months ago by ??Target 12,?? the investigative team for WPRI??s nightly newscast, which included an interview with the worker.

Johnston Mayor Joseph Polisena went to the groundbreaking where Riordan offered his weak defense and voice his displeasure: "I know that I, as Mayor, was not happy. There are over 70,000 people out of work who are citizens of the state and they should have crack at the jobs first."

Here's the latest story by Target12:

Sad irony in Rhode Island Posted by on

An undocumented immigrant has filed a lien for wages he's owed for work he performed for a drywall subcontractor...on an immigration center.

The worker--calling himself "Jose" in the Target12 story (embedded below)--did work on a Federal Immigration Center in Johnston, Rhode Island. He says he was hired by Ocean State Drywall and owner Joseph Pagliaro. In the video a visibly nervous Pagliaro confirms that the man worked on his job and that he knows him, but denies that he employed him or ever paid him cash for wages. He claims that another subcontractor hired "Jose" but does not mention the subcontractor's name or identity.

Calson Corporation is the general contractor on the project, which is owned by a company named Atwood Development, LLC in Johnston. It is being leased to the federal government for ten years.

"Jose" claims he is owed more than $2,300 dollars. He says neither he nor another undocumented coworker was ever asked for proof of residency.

"Jose" reached out to NERCC Organizer Matt Murphy for help because he's been cheated out of wages in the past and had had enough. Murphy and other organizers in the area have been working with "Jose" to try to get the money is rightfully owed for work he did.

Agreement reached on RI heavy/highway contract Posted by on

On Saturday, members of Rhode Island Carpenters Local Union 94 unanimously approved a new agreement with the Construction Industries of Rhode Island for heavy and highway work. The four year agreement will provide hourly increases for total wages and benefits of $1.50 in the first year and $1.75 in the second year. Total package increases for the third and fourth year of the agreement will be the same as what is negotiated for the building agreement. A two-year agreement for building work was completed last week.

Coming soon...more negotiations
This year is a busy one for the New England Regional Council when it comes to collective bargaining. In addition to the Western Massachusetts and Rhode Island contracts, three other agreements covering four New England states are set to expire before the end of 2009. The final carpentry contract will be negotiated next year. The contracts, and their expiration dates are:
Boston/Eastern Massachusetts--September 30
Massachusetts Floorcoverers Local 2168--August 31
Northern New England(Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont)--September 30
Connecticut--May 2010

RI Strike settled Posted by on

The New England Regional Council of Carpenters and Rhode Island Local 94 released the following statement regarding a new collective bargaining agreement with Rhode Island building contractors.

This morning, members of Carpenters Local 94 of the New England Regional Council of Carpenters voted overwhelmingly to approve a new 2-year agreement negotiated with the Rhode Island Associated General Contractors and return to work immediately. The agreement provides an hourly increase in combined wages and benefits of $3.25 over two years. Of that, $1.50 will be added in the first year of the agreement and $1.75 in the second. Increases will cover rising costs of benefits with likely minimal, if any, wage hikes. The agreement covers building work only; a contract with heavy and highway contractors has not been reached and those carpenters remain on strike.

As a union we work very closely with our partners in the industry--including subcontractors, general contractors owners and developers--to stay on top of industry trends and conditions. We understand the financial troubles that are currently impacting the construction industry. That is why we worked so hard to negotiate a reasonable agreement that balances those concerns with those of rank-and-file carpenters who build the highest quality projects in Rhode Island.

The brevity of the work stoppage clearly demonstrated that neither side wanted a strike. We??re pleased that our members will be returning to work and using their skills to help employers build a better Rhode Island.

Rhode Island Carpenters strike hits press Posted by on

Two days into Rhode Island Carpenters' statewide strike against commercial and heavy/highway builders, the Providence Journal Bulletin has published a story about the impasse.

The story includes quotes from both the union and a representative of the Associated General Contractors (AGC). The union statements (included below) emphasize the need to return to the bargaining table and resume the positive, cooperative relationship the union has had with signatory contractors. Unfortunately, the AGC maintained no such level of professionalism or respect.

Eric Anderson, executive director of the Rhode Island AGC characterized union carpenters as "kids" whose strike is "nutty" and "a power play on behalf of the carpenter's union to dominate the construction industry."

Mr. Anderson apparently doesn't think union carpenters are smart enough or considerate enough to make their own decisions, telling the paper that carpenters' wives and significant others would put pressure on members to accept whatever deal management offered: "eventually we'll get to that and people will start to become more reasonable. That's what we hope will happen soon."

Union carpenters understand that a strike is not a frivolous thing. The members of Rhode Island voted by a margin of more than 400-1 to reject the last offer and strike. They didn't do it because they wanted to lose their trucks or homes anymore than contractors want to drive their businesses into the ground by sitting idle.

As is the case in many local unions around the country, union carpenters in New England are facing new collective bargaining agreements that provide very little, if anything, in the way of wage increases. Rather, carpenters are focusing on protecting health and retirement benefits. It is an unfortunate function of the current economic times. But those benefits don't only protect members, they reduce the burden on all taxpayers by lowering demand on public assistance programs.

Carpenters are not "kids" interested in pushing aside our Brothers and Sisters in the Building Trades. At the same time, the AGC's "cookie cutter" approach to negotiating and its threats to start negotiations from scratch do nothing to protect and promote positive labor relations between the union and the AGC in the future.

Mr. Anderson suggested that contractors in Rhode Island might try to keep projects on schedule by brining carpenters down from Massachusetts. But union carpenters in Massachusetts have expressed strong solidarity with their Brothers and Sisters in Rhode Island, making it unlikely members would cross state lines and union strike lines.

Members in Rhode island are encouraged to visit the story at the Providence Journal and voice their opinion on their actions in the comments section after the story. All union carpenters--no matter where they live--can voice their support for our Brothers and Sisters in Rhode Island by submitting their own comments. Go to the story on the Providence Journal's website and leave a comment in the section following the story. Remember, the paper reserves the right to delete comments it finds objectionable and rude or immature attacks do not generate support for union members. Comments are moderated and may not show up immediately. Only submit them once.

Union statement on carpenter strike in Rhode Island Posted by on

The New England Regional Council of Carpenters and Rhode Island Local 94 released the following statement regarding the current strike.

On June 20, nearly four hundred members of Carpenters Local 94 unanimously voted to reject the final offer of the Rhode Island AGC for a new collective bargaining agreement. The previous four-year agreement expired on June 7. At that time the AGC representatives were unable to determine who had the authority to bargain on behalf of the employer association, so the union agreed to a two week extension.

On Friday, June 19, employer representatives submitted a final offer which they insisted be presented to the union??s membership.

In the wake of the membership vote, the Carpenters Union stands ready to continue negotiations at any time. The Union believes it is not in the best interests of either party or the state??s construction industry to negotiate in the media and calls on the employers to return to the bargaining table and finalize a mutually acceptable contract so that carpenters across Rhode Island can return to work.

Though many union carpenters are on strike, carpenters employed on construction projects governed by project labor agreements (PLA) continue to work as well as those employed by the dozens of construction employers who have expressed a desire to continue working with the union by signing interim agreements with the union.

The Carpenters union has always enjoyed a cooperative and professional relationship with the AGC and all construction employers in the state of Rhode Island. Through cooperative training and benefit programs, we have worked to train and retain the best trades workers in the industry. It is through this partnership that union contractors have been able to produce the highest quality work at competitive prices for their clients. The Union looks forward to returning to the bargaining table and re-establishing that partnership with the AGC.

Rhode Island carpenters vote to strike Posted by on

As a result of a unanimous vote by the members attending this morning??s well attended membership meeting, Carpenters Local 94 has rejected the final offer from the AGC Labor Division and the Construction Industries of Rhode Island (the road builders) and are now on strike.

All building and heavy/highway members of Local 94 are instructed not to report to work starting on Monday June 22 until further notice. Exceptions to this are the projects at Blue Cross, Women and Infants and FM Global, which are covered by PLAs and will continue to work. Any members who have questions should call the union hall at 401-467-7070.

All stewards are to report to the union hall on Monday at 7am for instructions.

Electronic updates will be provided, through the Council Update and on as soon as negotiations resume. Rhode Island members will also receive updates through automated phone messages.

Rhose Island contract meeting Sat Posted by on

Members of Carpenters Local 94 in Rhode Island will hold a meeting to vote on current contract proposals on Saturday, June 20 at 9:00 am. The meeting will be held at Local 94's union hall at 14 Jefferson Park Road in Warwick.

The union and contractors had agreed to a two-week extension of the previous agreement, effective June 7. That extension will expire on Sunday, June 21. If members do not approve a new contract, they will vote to strike all commercial construction and heavy/highway sites beginning Monday, June 22.

What do we have to offer? Posted by on

Why should an owner or developer hire union carpenters, employed by union contractors? Take a look.