Organizing Our Industry by Justin Desmond

 In News, Newsletter: Fall '19

The District Council 35 Organizing Department would like to congratulate all members on another successful STAR rally and offer a special congrats to all the grand prize winners. Moving into the holiday season, the DC 35 Organizing Department would like to wish everyone and their families happy holidays and a safe prosperous New Year. 

Over the past few months, our organizing department and DC 35 members spent weeks manning a banner and leaflet action against Consigli Construction in multiple locations in Boston. Consigli Construction, a so-called union construction general contractor, and owner Anthony Consigli are undermining community standards on wages and benefits in Boston again by hiring subcontractors that don’t pay workers wages and benefits under the area community standards.

The fight against wage theft is a continued battle for DC 35. Most recently, with the help of the Attorney General’s Office, DC 35 was able to help workers get $32,000 back in wages from the painting contractor, Alberto’s Painting. Alberto’s Painting was one of the contractors working at the Hyatt Cambridge for General Contractor Benchmark during our leaflet and bannering earlier this year. We are proud to help these workers receive what they are owed while helping to level the playing field for responsible contractors. DC 35 has multiple other wage theft complaints filed and will continue to file for workers’ back wages against unscrupulous contractors in the fight for workers’ rights and fair, level bidding opportunities for our contractors.

The Organizing, Servicing and Political departments, along with our active DC 35 members, worked hard nights and weekends contacting fellow union members to help DC 35 endorsed candidates in Lowell, Melrose, and Quincy. I’m happy to say that all this hard work paid off, and many of our endorsed candidates were elected during the November election.

This November, our apprentices were out in Medford to paint the newly-built robotics lab at Medford Vocational Technical High School. They learned spray painting techniques and hazards involved and practiced painting and masking in a real-world job setting. Volunteer initiatives like these are essential for our union because we’re committed to helping communities and building the future of all of our communities. Once unveiled, the lab will provide unique opportunities and exposure to young students to further develop their skills. 

DC 35 continues to work with the Worcester Building Trades and the Worcester Community Labor Coalition on securing a Community Betterment Agreement (CBA) on the new Wo-Sox Stadium. We recently met with city officials to help them better understand the positive results of using a CBA on construction projects. We also attended standouts with the Worcester County Labor Council to raise awareness for the public as a whole.

We continue to visit job sites all over our region, collecting information for bidding opportunities for our signatory contractors. Most recently, we were able to obtain the remaining phases at Wellesley College for painting. The previous phase was performed by a contractor who did not pay area standards on wages and benefits. The taping and glazing are also union on the project.

We have had recent opportunities for some of our specialty crafts like concrete polish and parking line striping. If you perform this work or know of people who do, please contact the organizing department.

We’d also like to extend our congratulations to our organizer, Rob Jelley, for completing a 4-week leadership training at our IUPAT training facility in Baltimore. During the length of this training, Jelley worked in a collaborative environment with Directors of Organizing, Organizers and Business Representatives from all District Councils. At this annual training, organizers have the opportunity to enhance their leadership skills by focusing on the presentation of IUPAT’s core message to our potential members and making them aware of the benefits that come with being in a union. 

I would like to personally thank all the District Council 35 members who helped with our labor and political actions and the organizing team for all their hard work and dedication to District Council 35, our membership and our partners. I’m looking forward to 2020 and more opportunities throughout our industry.