Organizing Our Industry by Jorge Rivera

 In News, Newsletter: Summer 2020

District Council 35 is proud to welcome South Side Tees, and owner, Sean Conroy, as our contractor partner. South Side Tees is our newest full-service screen print company with DC 35. The District Council 35 Organizing Department has been working closely with the DC 35 Service Department to perform job sweeps in all the different neighborhoods of Boston from Allston to the West End. These job sweeps have shown to be fruitful; we have been able to replace contractors not meeting the area standards on wages and benefits, and have been able to grow our bidding opportunities for our DC 35 signatory contractors.

The fight against wage theft is a continued battle for workers and DC 35 continues to stand with those workers who have fallen victim to this race to the bottom practices. DC 35 continues to file for workers back wages against unscrupulous contractors. The Organizing, Servicing, and Political Department, along with our active DC 35 members, continues to work hard nights and weekends in support of legislators and candidates that support organized labor, most recently in the areas of Plymouth, MA, and in New Hampshire.

DC 35 continues to work hard with the Worcester Building Trades and the Worcester Community Labor Coalition (WCLC) collectively as we are closing in on securing a Community Betterment Agreement (CBA) on the new WooSox Stadium. As we expand our partnership with the WCLC, we are now involved with UMass Building Authority, and UMass Building Authority Compliance meetings in that area creating relationships with area GC’s, which is creating more bidding opportunities for our contractors.

The Organizing Department has been participating in meetings with PGTI Policy Group on Tradeswomen Issues (PGTI), the building trade unions, friendly GC’s, pre-apprenticeship programs, and community groups to collaborate and create more work opportunities for women apprentices in the trades.

DC 35 departments and local area members have been attending all the Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) and community meetings in South Boston. These meetings are to discuss the communities impacted by the Edison Plant Project. The project developer has already agreed to a PLA agreement for the project. We are hopeful that the developer and community can come to an agreement on the project so that there is a minor impact on the current residents. After attending many evening Impact Advisory Group meetings with area DC 35 members for the Suffolk Downs Project, we are happy to say the project has been approved. The developer signed a PLA, which will create 10+ years of work for union labor. The Organizing and Servicing Department attended a Boston City Hall hearing and spoke on behalf of the new billboards being installed to be done by union labor and signatory contractors.

DC 35 met with Congresswomen Lori Trahan at the Lowell office for a Q&A on the labor market. Recently, our department attended the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (ACE) career day for local Boston students to share information on the benefits of joining DC 35’s apprenticeship.

DC 35 members completed another charity job for the Urban League of Boston. The mission of the Urban League center is to enable adults in Eastern MA to overcome racial and social barriers and economic inequities to employment and economic development opportunities. We are happy to continue this partnership. The Organizing Department continues to visit job sites all over our region collecting information for bidding opportunities for our signatory contractors.

Organizing in the West
From Middlesex County, Worcester, and Springfield to the New York border, all have been very busy during this pandemic. The future looks bright with a lot of public work and schools being built and renovated. I have had multiple conversations with our contractors to bid in these areas with a lot of opportunities and a lot of members that are seeking to work in the area.

Worcester Surrounding Areas
Connecticut Drywall (PDC) is working at the new Worcester South High School at full speed.
The Beale School in Worcester is starting to close the exterior with hopes to start taping this month.
Holy Cross College is building the recreation center and IMFS is doing the drywall finish. Select is painting the metal deck and walls, and the glasswork is being done by Chandler.
The Worcester Courthouse is being renovated by TOCCI Construction into residential apartments. Egan is doing the painting, and H. Carr is doing the drywall work. A&A is doing the glasswork.
Egan is painting at WooSox ballpark, and Chandler has a little bit of glasswork on this project.
The YWCA project is the first Community Benefits Agreement signed by the YWCA and the building trades unions are working in conjunction with the Worcester Community Labor Coalition. The YWCA first phase is complete, the second phase has begun, and DC 35, along with our contractors, are meeting the requirements that we agreed on the CBA, including local residents, female and minorities requirements. Select Paint and Mass-acoustics are on the project; A&A Windows has the glasswork.
The Hildreth Elementary School at Harvard is being built by Shawmut. Ipswich Bay is doing the glass and glazing while Connecticut Drywall (PDC) is doing the taping.
Gutierrez Company is developing an office building, Ipswich Bay is doing the glass, and Manganaro and Bedrock Finishes has begun taping with a small crew.

Springfield and Surrounding Areas
The Student Union Center and Worcester Dining at the UMass Amherst campus are winding down with Connecticut Drywall tapers on both projects. Egan Finishing is at Student Union Center with the paint. Egan is continuing to do the maintenance at Umass Amherst.
The Lyman Terrace project in Holyoke is going to have a full crew working with Connecticut Drywall.
Brightwood Elementary school in Springfield was awarded to PDC Drywall. It’s an $82 million project. Connecticut Drywall is performing the drywall finish; taping has already begun with a small crew. Chandler is doing the glass.
The Wahlburger restaurant under PLA, next to the MGM Casino in Springfield, is also back up and running with Chandler doing glass work and glazing. H. Carr is doing the taping and ScElo is doing the paintwork.
Maple Elementary and Wahconah High School are expected to begin renovations sometime this year. H. Carr and Connecticut Drywall are expected to be doing the work on these projects.
Egan, Chandler, and Connecticut Drywall are at the Science Center at Williams College in Williamstown, MA. They are at full capacity on the project.
H. Carr was awarded the drywall for the project at Northbridge Elementary School in Whitinsville, where Fontaine is the GC. Chandler is the front runner for the glass.
During the past month, I have participated in virtual meetings with the Pioneer Valley Building Trades and the Worcester Fitchburg Building Trades meetings. I also attended DC 35 Delegates virtual meeting. I attended WCLC (Worcester Community Labor Coalition) and PGTI meetings in Worcester and Springfield.