The Massachusetts union labor and management communities came together for the 3rd annual “Girls in the Trades” conference. More than 500 young women came for a day of workshops, demonstrations, and a job fair to learn more about opportunities in the building trades. The goal is to increase young women’s interest in productive, rewarding careers in the trades, and to grow their ranks in the industry long term.
“Today was great! More than 500 girls got to hear from women in the industry that the trades are not just for the boys,” said Hannah LaCivita, of the Southeastern Regional Vocational Technical High School.
(Jeff Sullivan, Business Manager of District Council #35, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, and Tom Gunning of the BTEA were all in attendance.)
In addition to sponsorship from the BTEA, our affiliate the Paint and Glass Employers Association of New England (PFEANE/GEANE) were well represented. Sharon Tankel, President of Hub Glass Services, a contractor member was invited to address the conference. “If girls are thinking of going into the trades, my message to them is simple: go for it! The industry is changing and more women are joining all the time,” said Ms. Tankel.
(Sharon Tankel of Hub Glass Services after her speech)
Lt. Governor Karyn Polito offered support on behalf of the Baker Administration. “The work that I can do along with Charlie Baker is to make sure that each one of you has the opportunity, equal to everyone else, to work at whatever career, whatever job, whatever industry, and at whatever place in this great Commonwealth.”
The Massachusetts Operational Service Division (OSD) has asked BTEA again to promote the 3 Tradespersons Statewide Contracts. They want to identify union contractors available to bid on some small to mid-size state contracts for trade services required by state facilities.
Interested in this opportunity? If you are, please read over the flyer below!
The International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 35’s Finishing Trades Institute accept Apprenticeship applications 10 months out of the year. Below are the eligibility requirements:
*IMPORTANT NOTE* – ONLY 25 APPLICATIONS WILL BE ACCEPTED PER MONTH.
BEFORE BEING ACCEPTED AS APPRENTICES, applicants must meet the following requirements:
Complete the application form furnished by the Finishing Trades Institute of New England
Be 18 years of age or older
MUST PRODUCE A VALID DRIVERS LICENSE
Be an American Citizen or be lawfully permitted to work in the United States of America
Produce a copy of his/her high school diploma or GED or Job Corps Completion Certificate
Be physically able to perform the work required of the trade
Complete a favorable interview with an assigned DC #35 Interviewer
Attend, and successfully complete, Apprentice Information Session
Pass a drug screening
Each applicant who meets all minimum requirements will be evaluated for acceptance.
The Painters and Allied Trades Finishing Trades Institute of New Engalnd is an Equal Opportunity Training Program. We encourage woman and minorities to apply.
ACCEPTED APPLICATION PROCESS:
Apprentices who are accepted in the program will be required to complete 6000 hours of on the job training together with 450 hours of related Classroom Instruction. The classes are from September through April.
All Boston FTI-NE Apprentices will attend 4 Full Time, One week training sessions, spread out over a one year time period between the months of September and April.
Once a member beings work they will be required to join the union soon after their first day of work. The apprentice initiation fee is $100.00 and is non-refundable. They then are initiated into their local. Apprentices receive a 1000 hour probationary period.
Apprentices receive an increase in their pay every 750 hours of work performed. The apprentice is responsible for turning in their pay stubs each 750 hours in order to receive that increase.
10 Hour OSHA (Occupational Health & Safety)
PFT (Pulmonary Function Test)
ALTA (Ariel Lift Training)
Fall Protection (FP)
PLEASE CLICK THE LINK BELOW TO ACCESS THE FTI-NE ONLINE APPLICATION:
In addition, Suffolk Construction and Wynn Casino are looking for active union members. They can submit an application for employment at the link below.
If you know of someone already in the union, please have them go to our website at www.surveymonkey.com/r/3WJRY66 to submit an application. We will notify unions and subcontractors of their availability. Help spread the word!
Given the increasing focus on safety, you would expect OSHA had a busy year. However, continuing an ongoing trend, OSHA inspections dropped to the lowest level in 20 years. This marks the 4th consecutive year that inspections have fallen.
In the Northeast, inspections of construction contractors have fallen by more than 30% over the last 5 years from about 6,800 to about 4,700 total.
The graph above illustrates the Northeast average compared to the average with its three biggest states. These declines in the Northeast make up about a third of the overall decrease in construction inspections nationwide.
The OSHA budget peaked in 2012, but was down by about 3% in 2016. OSHA has cited budget cuts as causing the decrease in inspections. However they have found citations 5% more often than in 2015. In addition, appeals of OSHA citations were roughly equivalent in 2015 and 2016 at around 9%. BTEA recommends our members always work with our legal safety consultant before settling a case with OSHA.
Kindly be advised that the Massachusetts Operational Service Division (OSD) has informed the BTEA about Tradespersons Statewide Contracts coming March 1st! The aim is to provide regional coverage for trade services required by state facilities. This process will begin by soliciting bidders for the services below (UNSPSC codes in parentheses):
Boiler Services (72-15-10)
Drain Services (70-17-18)
Electrician Services (72-15-15)
General Contractors (72-11-11)
Generator/Turbine Services (72-15-43)
HVAC/Sheet Metal Services (72-15-12)
Painting Services (72-15-13)
Plumbing Services (72-15-11)
OSD will be posting this initial Tradespersons Statewide Contract TRD01 bidding opportunity by March 1st in COMMBUYS, the state’s online procurement portal. TRD01 introduces this first wave of Statewide Contract trade categories, with many additional trade categories to be posted in the coming months. Attached is an informational flyer on TRDO1.
Interested in this opportunity? If you are, please follow the steps below so you are notified when the procurement process begins.
If you are new to COMMBUYS:
Interested vendors must take action toward becoming a Statewide Contractor by registering as a vendor in COMMBUYS. Set up a COMMBUYS business profile – free of charge – to be able to receive solicitation notices in your areas of interest; submit quotes; and, if awarded a contract, transact business with the Commonwealth and other public entities. For assistance, download the vendor registration job aid. For businesses that may be eligible to participate in the Small Business Purchasing Program (SBPP), be sure to review the SBPP application job aid.
To receive updates about the Statewide Contract TRD01 bidding opportunity:
This step is critical to receiving additional information. Interested TRD01 bidders must acknowledge the bid in COMMBUYS to receive future TRD01 email updates from COMMBUYS. Notifications will include the posting of the TRD01 Request for Response (RFR) documents, expected over the next few weeks. To acknowledge the bid, vendors must login to COMMBUYS, navigate to the TRD01 posting (Using the Advanced Search, enter TRD01 in the Bid Description field), and select “Yes” on the Acknowledge Receipt and View Solicitation window.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us or the Operational Services Division directly and speak with either the COMMBUYS Help Desk or Contract Manager Betty Fernandez at (617) 720-3133.
Donald Trump has selected Andy Puzder to serve as his Secretary of Labor. The CEO of CKE Restaurants, Inc. which owns Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s is an interesting selection by Trump who had toyed with appointing Victoria Lipnic, the current head of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and a former Workforce Policy Counsel to the House.
Puzder is an interesting man, he attended Kent State, but dropped out in 1970 following the Kent State Shootings. In his own words, “I spent the next three years attending concerts and marching on Washington”. After moving to Cleveland he graduated college and got his law degree. As a young corporate lawyer he helped rescue Carl Karcher, founder of Carl’s Jr. from financial troubles. Years later, when CKE Restaurants fell into more financial difficulties after purchasing Hardee’s, Puzder was named CEO by the Board and tasked with turning it around.
Mr. Puzder has not been without controversy during his tenure. Franchisees overseen by CKE have been targeted by DOL in the past. Hardee’s Food Systems was found in violation of wage laws and ordered to give back pay to a group of 456 workers in 2006 and 2007. This money was owed for overtime on hourly employees. It is perhaps unsurprising then that Puzder has signaled that he opposes the Obama Overtime Rule which has already been blocked by the courts, and is most likely dead on arrival in a Trump Administration.
In addition, advocates calling for an increase in the Federal Minimum Wage will find Puzder opposes large raises of the minimum wage. $15 per hour will be out of the question because Pudzer opposed the Obama Administration attempt to raise it to $10.10 from the current $7.25. When asked about the effect of raising the minimum wage, Mr. Puzder said it could lead to increased automation because machines are, “always polite, they always upsell, they never take a vacation, they never show up late, there’s never a slip-and-fall or an age, sex or race discrimination case.”
The effect of a business executive running the labor department will be interesting to watch. Like Mr. Puzder, the Secretary of Labor has traditionally been a loyal supporter of the president, but unlike Mr. Puzder, most former Secretaries of Labor were career bureaucrats not as well versed in the corporate and financial worlds.
The Painting and Finishing Employers Association of New England (PFEANE) & the Glass Employers Association of New England (GEANE) would like to recognize the 2016 Construction Safety Contractors of the Year. Continue reading “Construction Safety Awards”
Massachusetts put new energy codes into effect on August 12, 2016 which are mandatory January 1, 2017. In 2017, all building permits and formal documents must comply with the new energy codes.
The new energy code is based on the 2015 International Energy Code Council (IECC). The stretch code is also being updated and is broken into three types:
R-use buildings 4 stories or fewer shall comply with an approved energy rating index, such as:
Use of Energy Star Homes 3.1 Path; Passive House Institute US Approved software; Other BBRS approved Software or rating standard (RESNET approach
Large buildings and high energy buildings must better ASHRAE 90.1 by 10%
There is no standard energy code nationwide, so states use a various codes depending on their local regulations. With this change, Massachusetts will join other states like Vermont and Washington who are notably efficient under the 2015 codes, while California and Florida continue using 2012 codes.
The map above depicts state by state residential energy codes. Massachusetts will switch from blue (IECC 2012) to green (IECC 2015) with these changes.
The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) has proposed new rules to govern the merger of troubled multi-employer pension plans. The PBGC has authority under the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act (MPRA),
to support mergers if it benefits the failing plan without harming the stronger plan. In addition, PBGC can provide funding to promote a merger if it is needed to help plans avoid insolvency. Mergers help reduce administrative costs and increase pension security.
The MPRA was an attempt by Congress to provide PBGC better tools to deal with the growing issue of pension insolvency. The proposed rule is a logical interpretation of the MPRA giving reasonable options to troubled multiemployer pension plans.
The proposed rule provides guidance for requesting help in a merger. PBGC can provide financial assistance, technical assistance, and mediation. Also, the rule provides an informal avenue for multiemployer plan sponsors to explore merger discussions with the PBGC before filing a formal request. Finally, the proposed rule allows plan sponsors to apply for both benefit suspensions under the MPRA and a merger under the statute. The PBGC realizes that pension insolvency is not a zero-sum endeavor stating, “some plans may need both benefit suspensions and a financial assistance merger to become or remain solvent.”
The proposed rule was published in the Federal Register on June 6. The deadline for submitting comments is Aug. 5.
Although the proposed rule is a commonsense step to facilitate pension mergers, many are still in precarious positions. The most prominent in the Central States fund whose emergency rescue plan was denied by the Department of the Treasury on May 6, 2016.
The Treasury Department found several issues with the methods Central States used in notifications to participants and in their proposal to cut benefits and reestablish financial stability. Central States has announced that it will run out of money by 2025. As of the end of last year, the fund showed $16.8 billion in assets and $35 billion in retiree obligations. This is a 48% funding ratio. That’s bad news because the average funding ratio for PBGC multiemployer plans in the construction industry was 44%.
Most experts believe that government action is the only way Central States will avoid bankruptcy. However, given the national political scene this is unlikely, instead they are getting creative to cover the costs. For example, many employers have been exiting the plan due to its predicament. Central States has increase the amount collected in withdrawal liability, the fee an employer pays to exit the plan. Also Central States offers a Hybrid method where employers pay the withdrawal fee and remain in the plan, but are free from incurring any additional liability.
The Glazing and Painting Industries recently dedicated their Brentwood, N. H. Training Center in honor of Richie Mauro, the past owner of Tower Glass. Richie was a long time trustee of the Training Fund and past president of the Glass Employers Association of New England. Richie will be remembered as an advocate of quality construction, superior training, a friend, a man that had incredible passion for the industry, a proud union man, a generous man, a loyal man, a family man and a man that so richly deserved to be recognized by the industry for his tireless efforts to improve the industry!