Administrative District Council Officials
Brothers and Sisters,
I have never been one to wish my life away but I must say I am
glad to see 2012 come to an end. The challenges we have faced,
both personally and professionally, have been tremendous. The
resolve we muster to overcome these challenges in 2013 is what
will determine our future.
Throughout the course of 2012 unemployment was the greatest challenge
we faced on a professional level. With limited private investment
in our state, those who are investing constantly asking for concessions,
and employers utilizing an ever increasing undocumented workforce,
our ability to create opportunity for our members has been difficult,
at best. And during these most difficult of economic times we
all face personal challenges of mortgage payments, educational
commitments, sickness, and even death, of loved ones. Your Union
officers and representatives hear your stories every day. We not
only understand and try to offer solutions; we have the same experiences
in our lives as well. We are no different. We are not excluded
from personal tragedy. And we move forward.
Most recently, our state and so many of us have been affected
by the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. From inconvenience to total
displacement and loss, either directly or through a family member
or friend, we all felt the effects of this storm. Your Union stands
ready to assist in any way possible as does your International
and the surrounding Locals. That is who we are. That is what we
have always done. And yes, we vowed to rebuild our great state.
With the help of so many from organized labor, President Barack
Obama has been reelected for a second term. During the course
of the election, we gave all the information on why we supported
President Obama, and not his opponent. We trust he will now deliver
on the issues that are key to this Union and our members.
So now we face a new year and are faced with decisions to make.
How will we move forward? Will we accept the changes we must make
to compete in today’s economy? Will you become more involved
in your Union and will ALL of us be more accountable for this
Union and its’ success? Will we all recognize our responsibility
in overcoming todays challenges and live up to that responsibility?
Will we stand united in a statewide effort to prove once again
that we are “the best hands in the business”?
I want to share with all of you how your Union plans on approaching
this year and the initiatives we will be taking to overcome our
challenges. Some of the issues have been insinuated already in
First, our elected officials, especially the ones we support,
must address the issues that are important to you. The state of
New Jersey must enact legislation that protects workers’
rights and holds accountable employers who are taking advantage
of undocumented workers. To require all employers to use the federal
E-Verify system is not too much to ask. This legislation would
go a long way in leveling the playing field in our industry. I
am certain that with a level playing field, our members and contractors
can compete with anyone, regardless of where they are from. Please,
contact your state legislator and tell them we need A-189 and
S-2733 brought out of committee and passed by the full legislature.
Your Union will continue to try and get the inspection of facades
requirement passed. In addition, what we have learned from Hurricane
Sandy is there is a better way to build. That way is with MASONRY!
With the support of our International Union, we will be working
on improving building codes that encourage the benefits of building
with the best materials known to man, masonry. With so many wooden
boardwalks being destroyed, we believe it is time for municipalities
to consider the benefit of concrete promenades along our beachfront.
Next. The marketing initiative we started a year and a half ago
has now developed into a comprehensive statewide database. For
those of you who attend the monthly meetings, you have heard us
talk about this as well as make presentations. Currently there
are over 600 owners, developers, general contractors, agencies,
and others whose information is available to every representative
in the state. The personal contacts we have made through the meetings
we have scheduled have provided an increase in man-hours that
we previously did not have. Coupled with this effort is the daily
interaction with our IMI architects who work with architects and
engineers throughout our region promoting the use of the products
we install. We have also moved forward through a labor/management
cooperative to promote the use of structural masonry. Using a
structural engineer to deliver our message to the design community
presents us with greater opportunity to put our member’s
We continue to try and work with the other Building Trades Unions
to approach jobs in the formative stages to convince owners that
we offer competitive solutions for their construction projects.
Your Union leads the way in the effort to do this jointly so no
one trade is taken advantage of for the benefit of another. We
all need to share in any sacrifice as well as any benefit.
We will move toward the expiration of our current Collective Bargaining
Agreement by the end of April 2013. We encourage your input on
issues that you believe need to be addressed. We all must recognize
the economic conditions we are under and what our competition
does not provide and the cost of those differences. We must identify
and understand how we need to adapt to an industry that is changing
by methods, materials, and technology. We will continue to work
with our employers to expand their comfort zone and go after non-traditional
work they have not previously done. We must recapture the markets
we have not participated in for far too long. Our membership must
be multi-crafted to make themselves more employable.
In an effort to maintain the level of benefits we have enjoyed,
change must take place there as well. For the past 8 months we
have discussed at membership meetings
what changes may need to take place regarding how we deliver health
care. We will continue to keep you informed as the year progresses.
One thing we will be doing that our members must be part of is
shutting down jobs when necessary. We cannot allow employers
to get too extended in delinquencies. with draw of manpower
is the greatest leverage we have. It is your contributions
we are protecting. As I have stated countless times, an increase
in man-hours goes a long way in resolving
our fund issues. As I have previously described, we have a plan
in place to do just that.
Earlier in this report I presented some questions. I have also
offered some insight in to how we believe we can overcome our
challenges. These efforts will continue to be a work in progress.
But without our member’s involvement, commitment, and support,
none of our anticipated success can be realized. You have suffered
through the worst economy since the great depression and you keep
going. We have all suffered through personal tragedies in our
private lives, yet our families survive. Our state was devastated
by a horrific storm and we vowed to rebuild. We debated through
the first statewide Union election in our history as well as a
presidential election and have committed to move forward. One
of the foundational principles of this International
Union since 1865 has been of commitment to the common good. The
question cannot be “what does the Union do for me”
but rather “what do we do as a Union”! Our future
relies solely on our ability to recognize, adapt, and resolve.
Many of my family and friends will
tell you that I’m not the most thoughtful person. I have
a bad habit of not remembering birthdays and special occasions
and as recently as the last few years I have to remind myself
how old I am on my birthday. This also holds true for some of
our important Holidays.
The month of November has 30 days and to many Thanksgiving is
the one day they recognize on the calendar this month. I must
admit, although I try not to, I to sometimes forget a much more
important day this month. VETERANS DAY. Congress officially
changed “Armistice Day”, which was first proclaimed
for November 11, 1919 by President Woodrow Wilson to mark the
day a year earlier that ended World War 1, to Veterans Day on
June 1, 1954.
Watching TV on Sunday, Veterans Day and Monday the day it was
recognized this year as the official holiday made me reflect
on those that served to give us the freedom and liberty we all
enjoy in this great country of ours. Yes we can disagree if
the country is headed in the right or wrong direction or if
the Democrats or Republicans have the right ideas. But the fact
that we can do this openly is thanks to all those Veterans that
sacrificed so much. Seeing the faces of the Veterans at various
ceremonies throughout the country, both young and old, made
me thank God how lucky I am. It was the older faces in particular
that made me reflect back to the recent ADC election in June
of this year. Many retirees and some active members had on hats
or T shirts reflecting the armed service they were in and the
war which they fought. I could see how proud they were to wear
the shirts and hats. I actually felt proud just knowing they
were there to vote as well as that they are part of our great
Just as I am thankful for their service to this country I am
just as thankful for their service to this union. I thought
back to when I was a teenager and I would listen to my dad talk
about the various jobs he had worked on and the nick names of
some of the craft workers on those jobs. Nookie, Spike, Vinny
the nose, Big Art, Stosh, Moose and Chunky, just to name a few.
When I finally became an Apprentice and got to work with them
and other brothers, many who were Veterans, was an honor. I
looked up to each one of them. Every one of them showed me something
that I could use in learning the craft. They represented the
Union well in passing on the trade as well as the union movement.
Now it is our turn to do the same.
Many of these bothers are no longer with us but their mark is
not only left on our nation but our union. Just as I am thankful
for the country I live in, I am thankful for the union that
has given me so much. I owe it to all those that came before
me. Because of them and their sacrifices I have benefited. I
try to do better every year to remember birthdays and special
occasions and I will certainly try to not forget our Veterans
on their special Day or our retirees. In case I do. Thank You!
I wish everyone a happy and safe Holiday Season!
Brothers and Sisters:
The BAC Disaster Relief Fund
Since it was established in 2005 following Hurricane Katrina,
the BAC Disaster Relief Fund has been a welcome source of sustenance
for members affected by natural or other disasters. The program
is funded through the personal contributions of the IU Executive
Board, Local Union/ADC officers, members, signatory contractors,
and through IU and Local Union grants.
In light of the damage caused by Hurricane/Tropical Cyclone Sandy,
IU President James Boland wants to remind members that the Fund
exists “to lend a helping hand to our Brothers and Sisters
in need, so please be sure to alert your Local or ADC if you have
suffered as a result of the recent storm.” Please contact
me with your name, IU member number, a cell phone or email address,
and your circumstances, and we’ll do everything possible
to relay that information to the International Union. I can be
reached at 609-324-9681.
Your Administrative District Council is pleased to announce that
we will match the money you receive from the Disaster Relief Fund.
Additionally, the New Jersey State AFL-CIO has posted a Hurricane
Sandy Recovery Tool Kit. The tool includes information and telephone
numbers for FEMA and other government agencies.
Please visit their web site at; www.njaflcio.org