Growing Opportunities by Bill Legrand
I am very humbled to have the honor of speaking with all classes of our apprenticeship, whether you’re a brand new first year with a bunch of questions and eager to learn or a well-rounded third year with not much to say. I want to congratulate you and applaud you for making this career choice. It would be very remiss of me not to pass on congratulations to all of our journeymen and women that strive in these finishing trades as well.
I don’t have to tell any of you that if you live or work in the Boston Metropolitan/Cambridge area, you are seeing the largest construction boom these cities have experienced, and it will continue for many more years to come, so please take advantage of these growing opportunities. One member asked me why all the projects around the city aren’t being done by union contractors. This is Boston after all.” To which I responded, “I too wish they all are done union.” I went on to state that there is a way through which we all can impact these decisions on who the Developer selects to build these projects. Each one of us must attend the zoning, planning, community hearings, and public meetings which are held prior to the construction of such projects. Your say will go a long way when you reside in that community in which they build and you may ask for certain conditions on those developments.
Recently Business Representative Joe Guarino, Organizer Martin Castillo and I attended a public meeting in Roxbury on a development named the Alexandra Hotel 1767-1769 Washington St, which proposed to construct a 150-room, 13-story boutique hotel with ground floor restaurant café space and a rooftop level bar/restaurant. When DC 35 Representatives went into the public meeting, first we started a conversation with the public affair folks and then the developers. From them we heard construction contractor names I will not repeat, but I know through past practice they will not use union labor if selected, so during our public opportunity to speak, members of the community and unions asked the tough questions – will you hire local, will you hire union, and so forth.
Before that specific meeting ended, we learned that Shawmut Construction will be its pre-construction contractor and when the blueprints and schematics are printed, Shawmut will give a price utilizing union labor, Shawmut did commit publicly to perform union if selected. There is not a contract with any General Contractor except pre-construction on this project at this point, but I can assure you if no Representative presence or resident member would have been in that room for this public meeting, the outcome would have been significantly different. So please, I’m asking you to get involved in the community when a developer plans on doing something big. Make sure you tell me too, I want to be there, thank you.