Building Trades

Workers Take Broadway

Jack Argilia Secretary Treasurer, Bricklayers Local 1 (left) Jerry Sullivan Business Manager, Bricklayers Local 1 June 20, 2011
By Stephanie West

Union workers stopped traffic on Broadway June 15, waving American flags and picket signs as police struggled to clear a path for taxis and MTA buses.
Workers clambered up scaffolding to hang a banner for Ironworkers Local 361 over the street, just across from City Hall. When police set up crowd barriers at the intersection of Broadway and Chambers Street, the crowd spilled into the next intersection.

Labor Leader John Delgado Advocates Parity in Workplace Safety Rules

John Delgado, Business Manager, Local 79May 6, 2011
By Myles Nicholas Miller

A Labor leader Friday said that it should be a felony for a non union construction worker to knowingly conceal a workplace injury.

Speaking at a labor industry breakfast this morning, Laborers 79 Business Manager John Delgado said in many instances developers who employ non union workers don’t seek medical attention for their employees in an effort to skirt worker’s compensation laws.

Union Members at Local 79 Get on Board

Anthony Williamson, Auditor, Local 79April 26, 2011
By Vanessa DeSantis

Laborers took a crash course in land use on Friday, March 10th, at the SEIU building in Lower Manhattan. The workshop encouraged members to get involved with New York City’s local community boards. These public boards provide a way for union members to support union projects that also serve their communities.

“It’s a way to create more jobs at union wages,” said Anthony Williamson, Market Development Department Auditor at Local 79, who organized the event. Public involvement is also a way to build a bridge between the local community and the labor movement.

Jobs at Javits

Jacob K. Javits Convention CenterApril 20, 2011
By Bendix Anderson

With its dark windows peering over the Hudson River, the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center has been New York City’s primary venue for exhibitions, large conventions and major trade shows since it opened in 1986. Now a half billion dollar restoration is providing thousands of jobs to workers in the building trades.

Unions Fight Zell

Sam Zell, Founder of Equity Residential PropertiesApril 20, 2011
By Stephanie West

Sam Zell had another tough greeting from construction workers as he arrived at a speaking engagement in Manhattan April 7. “Whose City? Our City!” called out roughly 400 union members outside the Taj Pierre Hotel. “Whose Jobs? Our Jobs!”

Recently, union workers protest whenever Zell steps up to a speakers podium in New York City. Demonstrations began after negotiations broke down last year between unions and Zell’s Equity Residential Properties Trust to build 111 luxury apartments at 500 West 23rd Street.

“We are not going away,” said Bill Hohlfeld, labor management coordinator for the Metallic Lathers Union, Local 46, which organized the protests and is carefully tracking Zell’s schedule. When Zell spoke at the Harmonie Club in Midtown Manhattan on an icy winter morning December 14, two dozens construction workers lined the sidewalks, blowing traffic whistles and chanting slogans. When Zell spoke at the New York Public Library November 4 as part of the Bloomberg Real Estate Briefing, 100 workers turned up in the rain.

Building Trades Protest Sam Zell’s Irresponsible Corporate Practices

April 7, 2011

Hundreds of Building Trades union members will gather to protest Sam Zell’s appearance at the 16th Annual NYU REIT Symposium at the Pierre Hotel. The NYU REIT Symposium is an important industry event attended by hundreds of real estate executives annually. Zell and his companies have amassed a shocking record of irresponsible practices that threaten investors, communities, tenants and workers.

Population Gains Downtown Manhattan and Far West Side

March 30, 2011
By Jeremy Smerd
A decade ago, it would have been hard to imagine that New Yorkers would be moving to the financial district for the school, Or that in Williamsburg the phrase "bridge and tunnel crowd" would refer to people from Manhattan.

Construction Unions Are Losing Their Market Share of New Building Projects

March 25, 2011
By Harry Kelber

New York City’s construction unions, that controlled more than 90 percent of the building industry’s jobs throughout most of the 20th century, have lost a significant market share of the $20 to $30 billion spent annually on erecting new buildings and repairing old ones.

While there are no official statistics, two out of five (about 40 percent) construction jobs in the city are said to be built non union, although unions put the number at one to four (25 percent). Competition between unionized companies and their non union rivals became intense during the economic recession, when there was a decline in available new construction projects.

LaBarbera Honored at Latino Heritage Event

Gary LaBarbera, Buiding and Construction Trades Council PresidentMarch 15, 2011
By Vanessa Elena DeSantis

About 200 guests dined and danced to pulsing Latin beats at Terrace on the Park, a capacious banquet hall overlooking Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens, N.Y.

The Latino Heritage Dance was held on Friday March 4th. The evening event celebrated Latino heritage as well as honored Gary LaBarbera, president of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York. The event also raised funds for the Latino Laborer Cultural Association. The Mason Tenders District Council and its affiliated local unions created the non profit organization in 2007, to provide activities and events for Latino union members.

Delgado Honored by ANOROC Democratic Club

March 15, 2011
By Vanessa DeSantis

Policymakers and grassroots organizers had a chance to mingle at the ANOROC Democratic Club’s 82nd Anniversary Dinner Dance, on the evening of Thursday March the 3rd. Local 79’s business manager John Delgado received a special achievement award at the fundraising event.

“Throughout his career John has been an advocate for the rights of all workers, especially immigrant workers,” said a spokesperson for the ANOROC club.

LIUNA Members Get Educated

By BendiJohn Delgado, Local 79 Business Manager & Anthony Williamson, Local 79 Auditorx Anderson
January 5, 2011

Anthony Williamson got a surprise in his mailbox this December -- a personal letter signed by Terence M. O’Sullivan, general president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA). 

The note congratulated Williamson and 40 other LIUNA members for completing a bachelor's degree in labor studies. Williamson also received an orange sash to celebrate his degree.

Williamson, an organizer for Construction & General Building Laborers' Local 79, earned his degree through a joint program of Cornell University and the National Labor College. Most of the classes were held in Midtown Manhattan at Cornell's extension school, though some of his coursework required travel to distant parts of New York State. In 2003 he graduated from Cornell University with a Certificate in Labor Studies as well as the National Labor College with a Degree in Labor Studies.  In 2007, Williamson received a Certificate from the Cornell University Leadership Institute for Union Leadership.

He wrote his thesis on the need for union leadership to reflect the diversity of union membership. "We are a union of immigrants," Williamson said. "We started with immigrants over a hundred years ago."

A Training Center at Work - Public Housing Tenant Fixes Public Housing

Devon McLeod, Member of Bricklayers & Allied Craftworkers, Local 1, NYBy Bendix Anderson & William E. Nagel
December 6, 2010

Devon McLeod carefully brushed loose mortar from the bricks of the Woodside Houses in Queens - one of 334 public housing projects managed by the NYC Housing Authority.   McLeod is a first-year apprentice “pointer, cleaner caulker” in Bricklayers & Allied Craftworkers Local 1 and is learning the basics of exterior masonry restoration or PCC work.  He takes free training classes at the BACIU’s International Masonry Institute in Long Island City and trains on-the-job with his current employer Town Masonry Corp.
Currently, McLeod not only repairs public housing, he lives in the Louis Armstrong Houses in Brooklyn.  McLeod’s opportunity to join BAC Local 1 came about this year for two main reasons:  first, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act resulted in a massive influx of federal money to repair NYCHA’s aging housing inventory; and second, NYCHA maintains a rule that at least 15 percent of a contractor’s employees on any NYCHA rehab project must be current residents of public housing.  McLeod worked hard to become one of those 15%. "I always wanted to do construction," he said. "It's a career."

Unions Got Out the Vote

By Bendix Anderson
November 3, 2010

Unions marshaled their might to get out the vote for election day, November 2 -- and candidates promise to return the favor.

"The partnership I have had with the union movement is very important to me," said Tom DiNapoli, Democratic candidate for New York State Comptroller, speaking to hundreds of union members representing the building trades at the Manhattan headquarters of District Council 9 of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT).

Rallying in Solidarity, Building Trades Stand Tall

By Harrison Magee
November 1, 2010

New York, NY-- Thousands of union members and allies packed the streets of Midtown on October 24, to rally in solidarity with all the men and women of New York City’s building trades. The event, which was organized by the Building and Construction Trades Council of NY, brought together scores of the city’s most talented workforces, which voiced their pride, unity and resolve as they continue to confront economic and political threats to decent, sustainable employment.

“Everything we have, we owe to our unions,” said BCTC representative Gary LaBarbera in his introduction. “But there are still nonunion contractors who do not care about dignity.” Leading the struggle to create and maintain good jobs for the threatened middle class, LaBarbera declared that, “Today, we draw a line in the sand.”

Stimulus Dollars at Work - Painters now at work on the Brooklyn Bridge

Warren L. Mart, General Secretary Treasurer of the New York State Council of MachinistsBy Bendix Anderson
October 1, 2010

Federal Stimulus dollars are now putting union members to work on the Brooklyn Bridge, according to George Galis, general Secretary and Treasurer of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT).

"The project is proof that federal, state, and local government can work together and create jobs," said Galis.

Galis spoke at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City just after sunrise September 23. He was joined by elected officials, union leaders, and dozens of construction workers preparing to start their shifts working on the Brooklyn Bridge rehabilitation project now underway.

LIUNA Local 79 Marches - Union Shows Strength in African American Day Parade

By Bendix Anderson
September 30, 2010

HARLEM, N.Y. -- Music poured out of Local 79's float as union members joined hundreds of other unions and community groups to march in the African American Day Parade September 19th.

Local 79's float had its own DJ mixing tracks and some of the loudest speakers on Adam Clayton Powell Blvd. "Can I hear you, Local 79?" called out lead organizer and community activist Anthony Reed over the float's microphone.

Over the last three years, Local 79 has been a regular part of the annual celebration. The union sponsors a float in the parade to show its respect to Harlem and the African-American community, and also to show that Local 79 includes many African-American faces. More than 70 percent of Local 79's members are minorities, and 30 percent of the members are African-American.

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