KEEPING OUR MEMBERS SAFE AND INVOLVED BY CHARLES FOGELL
Since my last message to our members, we have all encountered many changes in our lifestyle and the way we go about normal business in a working environment. Since we have been gripped by this pandemic, we have managed to keep an open line of communication to do everything we can to work safely and get this terrible virus behind us.
Over the past several months, staff members of DC 35 have visited job sites in an effort to reinforce protocols and see that our members out on the job sites are not subjected to any accidental exposure. For the most part, I would give credit to the general contractors and our signatory employers for doing what they can to provide jobs with less risk involved. My job site visits have been met with little resistance from employers, and most importantly, well received by our members.
Our mission at the District Council continues to be to provide as many work opportunities as possible for our membership. We have also continued to strive to take care of business both in person and virtually whenever possible to get the job done for our membership.
In keeping with our obligations as a labor organization, we were successful in conducting our District Council elections of our leadership team and our DC 35 Local Union Delegates. I would like to congratulate BMST Sullivan and the Business Representatives on an uncontested election. The entire team looks forward to achieving the goals that we have set forth to benefit the entire membership. In addition, I extend another congratulations to our newly elected council delegates and officers. Heartfelt thanks to those that have served and retired after their term; your dedication to our District Council will not be forgotten.
In southeastern Massachusetts, we recently heard good news: the federal government has overturned a previous decision for the land in trust for the Wampanoag Tribe. As previously reported, they are attempting to build a resort destination-type casino and hotel in Taunton. Since the changing of the Trump administration, we have seen many policies change for the better, and the addition of the promised third casino would stimulate the economy in the southeastern area of New England.
Many of my reports to this membership over the years have included the significance of power in southeastern Massachusetts. As you may know, we have lost two very large power plants in just the past year or so – both Pilgrim Nuclear and Somerset’s Brayton Point. On the upside of this, we are currently bargaining with developers of the Vineyard Wind Project for a Project Labor Agreement through the Southeastern Mass Building Trades Council. This historic agreement would be significant as this country continues its journey and exploration of green and renewable energy.
My efforts to negotiate and participate in the collective bargaining process for the benefit of our membership have been relentless. I have worked on many of our industrialized agreements for our District Council and I have worked on numerous agreements for the Area Trades Council, which is a cooperative for maintenance workers in many different locations throughout Massachusetts. The ATC is composed of Painters, Electricians, Stationary Operators, Plumbers and Carpenters.
Some of our most recent ratified agreements are: Lamar Outdoor Western Mass, Wells Maine School Committee, Northampton Housing, Smith College, Cambridge Inspectional Services, Faulkner Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Steward Health Care (eight facilities), and Gillette Stadium/C&W Services – just to name a few agreements that have been recently approved. Our work devoted to securing new agreements is far from over. We are currently negotiating a PLA for the wind farm, and negotiations are underway for the maintenance painters and all crafts at the Encore Casino.
We ask our members to please be as involved as possible with your upcoming agreement, as we will be renegotiating for a new master agreement for the painting, taping, and glazing industry throughout our jurisdiction. In addition, we will be negotiating new agreements with our members working on transit advertising and outdoor advertising. The next several months will be intense and member participation and input will be paramount.
In closing, I ask that all of our members remain diligent in our fight against this dreadful pandemic and please keep you and your family safe!