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Carpenters Support The Up Side of Downs

  • mkeller
  • 21 March 2018

Dan Sivertson, member of Millwrights & Pile Drivers 1090, and his family have a special reason they celebrate World Down Syndrome Day. He and his wife found out their daughter would be born with Down Syndrome 13 years ago. The two quickly made a connection with the local organization, The Up Side of Downs. The organization helped by providing them with support in learning about Down Syndrome and with books to guide them through the diagnosis.

The Up Side of Downs truly made an impact in their lives and they are forever grateful for the support. Their daughter Eve is now 13 years old thriving in the 7th grade. Eve is just like any other teenage girl and loves the time she spends with her friends!

In celebration of World Down Syndrome Day, the IKORCC would like to shine a light on an organization we take pride in supporting. The IKORCC was fortunate to be a Presenting Sponsor for The Up Side of Downs Gala/Raffle event on Saturday, March 10th for the fifth year in a row.

Between Carpenters Locals 373, 435 and Millwrights and Pile Drivers Local 1090 we have donated over $50,000 to the organization to help raise awareness and advocate for people with Down Syndrome. Over 570 people attended the Up Side of Downs Gala, 120 of them were IKORCC members.

“I can’t thank my fellow Brothers and Sisters of these Locals for their generous support and donations,” Dan Sivertson says.

If you interested in supporting the cause, there is a Buddy Walk on August 25th. Last year there were over 5,000 plus attendees at the event. Dan Sivertson in a leader of the beli-EVE N US Team and typically has around 75-100 family and friends walk together for the cause. 

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett Helps Fight Tax Fraud

  • lnix
  • 20 March 2018

In March, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett visited the IKORCC to discuss the growing issue of tax fraud and the effects it has on responsible contractors, the city, and taxpayers. 

Tax fraud occurs when companies misclassify workers who should be employees in order to avoid paying their fair share of unemployment insurance and federal, state and local taxes. Companies that commit tax fraud are often able to give lower bids on projects since they aren’t paying their share of taxes – a practice which makes it difficult for responsible contractors to compete fairly. 

“Everybody ought to have the right to compete fairly,” Mayor Hogsett said while addressing contractors.  “I want to be clear – what the city seeks to do is not to pick winners and losers. Our job is to make sure everyone is operating on a level playing field,” Hogsett added.

Mayor Hogsett also acknowledged that the IKORCC has been at the forefront of the battle against tax fraud. “The carpenters have really taken a leadership role in this regard,” he said.

In response to the growing tax fraud problem in the construction industry, Mayor Hogsett says he put together a working group to explore the ordinances in place within the city and the means of enforcing these policies. “The ordinance is a bit vague in the enforcement area,” he said, adding that he hopes to have an enforcement officer in place in the future to cut down on tax fraud.

The IKORCC has seen an increase in the prevalence of tax fraud in Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio and hopes to work with Mayor Hogsett and the working group to help curtail the issue.

Click here to learn more about tax fraud. 

Walker Career Center's Future Tradesmen

  • mkeller
  • 16 March 2018

The Warren Central Walker Career Center is advancing their students to successfully become tradesmen in the near future. Council staff Jeff Gielerak and Steve Hoyt are graduates of the Warren Central program and were happy to share about the opportunities available at the IKORCC and contribute $250 to new tools for their program. The Senior students were excited about their future and had several questions regarding our union. While visiting, Steve and Jeff were able to explore a home the students are currently working on.

“It’s great to see the students working hard on their project the day before Spring Break!” Steve says, adding, “That’s what we need out on our job sites.” The students will be working tirelessly on completing the project for the first open house this coming May.

In the Junior class, several students said they plan to take the class next school year and are very excited about the learning opportunities. Steve says he hopes the contribution from the Carpenters Union will help towards new tools for their program. The IKORCC is committed to building strong futures for our community. In doing so we provide wages to support families, benefits, and training to be the most skilled worker on the job site. We are excited for the students to come visit the Greenwood training facility at the open house on April 11th.  

Apprentice Finds Career & Stability with Carpenter's Union

  • lnix
  • 09 March 2018

carpenter, carpenter jobs, trainingIt wasn’t too long ago when Dave Morrow struggled to find construction work to help support his family. Construction and struggle were a family trade – a fact Dave desperately wanted to change.

Dave grew up in a strictly non-union family, never truly seeing the benefit of belonging. But when times were tough and his brother Steve Morrow of Local 200 joined the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and found success, Dave decided it was time to change his trajectory too. 

The small leap he took to join the union, made a huge difference in his family’s life. Today, Dave Morrow is a  3rd year carpenter apprentice with a promising future. Work is steady, school is going well and Dave recently completed four days of intensive training at the Carpenter’s International Training Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Apprenticeship Leadership Training Program 

During the 3rd Year Apprentice Program in Las Vegas, top apprentices gain a greater understanding of the Brotherhood and the construction industry, and of the role union members play in the success of both. Participants learn how professionalism, productivity, skill, and attitude contribute to their own success as well as that of their employers.

For Dave, the highlight of the training was a group discussion with UBC President Doug McCarron.  “McCarron didn’t talk to us, he talked with us. This is a man who didn’t forget his roots or where he came from. It was inspiring,” Dave says.

In addition, Dave says he learned a great deal about the union and his own regional council the IKORCC. “I learned that it takes teamwork, hard work and dedication to get this union back to where we once were,” Dave says, adding that he left Las Vegas feeling inspired, motivated and ready to build a brighter future for his family and brotherhood.

“It starts with us - the apprentices. We part of something much greater than construction,” he added.

Union Focus on Career and Family

Dave took his new leadership skills back to the job, where he’s worked for two years. He’s found a new sense of job security and a career that allows him to spend more time with his wife and two young children.

“If you come in and do your job well, you will have work.” Dave says, adding, “I get to be home with my family on the weekends – it’s great.”

Dave Morrow is a proud member of Carpenter’s Local 200 in Columbus, Ohio.

Click here more information on our apprenticeship programs or trades

IKORCC & JATC Add 222 New Journeymen to the Workforce

  • lnix
  • 28 February 2018

5200 hours of on the job training, 640 classroom hours, 4 years of dedication and sacrifice - that’s the kind of experience you get when you hire a union journeyman. Carpenters, Ohio Carpenter JourneymanSaturday night, 222 fully trained journeymen and women graduated from the JATC & IKORCC apprenticeship program in Columbus, Ohio.

The graduates are a vital addition to a workforce desperate for skilled tradesmen. Graduates were trained as carpenters, millwrights or floor coverers.

Building America with Skilled Trades

In a speech to graduates, Patrick Reardon, Executive Administrator of Apprenticeship for the Ohio Office of Workforce Development, said IKORCC carpenters are building our future.

“When we think of an elite carpentry workforce here in the United States – it’s everyone graduating in this room,” he said. “Everyone here is building America and we are relying on you to continue to catapult us to the future.”

16 Veterans Graduate through Helmets to Hardhats

16 of the graduates honorably served in our nation’s military and took part in the IKORCC’s Helmets to Hardhats program. Helmets to Hardhats puts vets on a fast track to union apprenticeship and a rewarding career in carpentry after their military service.

State Training Director Vince Wright said, “Thousands of veterans come home to Ohio each year and need new jobs and careers to get started in. I’m proud to say out of our 2,200 apprentices, we have 216 Helmets to Hardhats apprentices.”

Colonel Mark J. Cappone, Assistant Director of Ohio Veterans Affairs, said, “Tonight is a great way to remember the contributions that our vets make to the workforce, to remind us that those who have served have grit, determination, perseverance and they know how to be on a team.”

Colonel Cappone presented a sealed recognition of the apprenticeship program on behalf of Ohio Governor John Kasich at the event. Governor Kasich commended the graduates for their hard work.

Continuous Training Sets Union Carpenters Apart 

IKORCC Executive Secretary-Treasurer Mark McGriff also commended the graduates, while offering advice for the future. “When writing the story of your life, make sure no one else is holding the pen,” he said.

“There are so many opportunities in this organization, you have to take advantage of every single one of them,” McGriff added. McGriff and other staff members encouraged new journeymen to keep up with continuous training and serve as role models for apprentices.

A New Generation of Journeymen

New graduate Jacob Weiser, from the Northwest JATC and Local 351, plans to do both. Staff chose Weiser to speak at graduation after recognizing his dedication. “I’ve learned the importance of this apprenticeship and why the training is necessary to push our union and our trade forward,” Weiser said.

Weiser added, “I’m going to keep learning and keep trying to find better ways to get things done. I’m going to give my contractor what he’s paying for – a solid eight hours of carpentry, from a well-trained union journeymen carpenter.”

Congratulations to all graduates! 

Indianapolis Carpenter Manuel Banegas Nails the Win

  • lnix
  • 26 February 2018

Hanging drywall sounds easy, but can you do it faster and more accurately than dozens of your peers across Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio? Local 301’s Manuel Banegas did just that.

Banegas and dozens of other participants competed to see how they measured up in the Drywall Drag Race Olympics. Banegas will represent the IKORCC in the United Brotherhood of Carpenter's Midwestern District Interior Systems Competition on April 21st. Competition starts at 9:00 a.m. at the IKORCC headquarters in Greenwood, IN. Congratulations Manuel and thanks to all our participants! 

Akron Carpenters Donate Fire Alarms to Save Lives

  • lnix
  • 26 February 2018

Sound the alarm – members from Local 285 are doing their part to save lives in Akron, Ohio. In the past five years, every fatal house fire in Akron occurred in a home without a functioning fire alarm. To combat this problem members from Local 285, with support from the IKORCC, donated 70 smoke detectors to the Akron Fire Department for residents with financial limitations. This represents the first of what will now be an annual effort on the part of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America to provide smoke detectors to those in need. 

Kentucky Carpenters Keep the Peace at Grayson Cemetery

  • admin
  • 10 January 2018

Funerals are supposed to be a time for reflection and finding peace, however, in The Northeast Kentucky Veteran's Cemetery pigeons were making that difficult for veteran’s families.

During funeral services, pigeons would fly in the cupola and make a lot of noise, an unwelcome occurrence during services. When their efforts didn’t work, cemetery staff turned to our carpenters for a speedy solution. Carpenters from Local 472 donated materials and worked with apprentices from Local 1650 to construct a frame to enclose the cupola and keep the pigeons away. The solution worked and the cemetery staff is now back to the business of honoring our nation’s vets. Great work Local 472 and 1650!

Kentucky Carpenter Jobs


Rossford Carpenters Help Boy Scouts with Soapbox Derby Cars

  • admin
  • 06 January 2018

Get your engines ready! The Erie Shores Boy Scouts raced into the Rossford Training Center for some much-needed help constructing their soapbox derby cars. Over 250 scouts made first cuts to their derby cars thanks to some expert help by carpenters from Local 351 in Ohio. The boys and their families learned basic carpentry skills and had a lot of fun in the process. The scouts plan to race their cars during the Northwest Pinewood Derby on March 24th in Toledo. 



'Worker misclassification' seen as growing threat by contractors, unions in the Region

  • admin
  • 11 September 2017

Andrew Steele, 219-933-3241
Sep 3, 2017 Updated Sep 8, 2017

As companies strive to increase profits amid a changing economy and consumer habits, the discussion often centers on challenges posed by the "gig economy" and its impact on work and employment.

Upstart companies like the Uber ride-sharing service tend to be the focus of concern; recent reports of such companies' drivers speaking out against perceived company efforts to trim their pay bear this out.

Online story on NWI Times

But the growing use of short-term contracts in industries such as construction is threatening traditional employment in a way some say has reached a critical phase.

The fight is over what's commonly called "employee misclassification" — or payroll fraud, in the view of unions and contractors. It involves an employer hiring workers as freelancing contractors who should be full-time employees, thereby allowing the employer to avoid paying payroll taxes, and worker's compensation and unemployment insurance premiums, among other costs.

"It's a problem that's been around for many decades," said Dewey Pearman, executive director of the Construction Advancement Foundation of Northwest Indiana. "But it's becoming epidemic."

Officials with the Indiana/Kentucky/Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters visit job sites frequently to talk to carpenters, said Scott Cooley, senior representative at the union's local headquarters. He said he often talks to contract workers who he believes should be formal employees.

"We run into it all the time," Cooley said. "It's just a regular occurrence."

Some workers in question receive a federal 1099 form at the end of the year, but others aren't reported at all, and are just paid cash for their work.

'No magic' in defining employment

Classifying employees properly isn't an exact science. It involves several variables, including the degree of company control over the employee; the financial arrangement, including who provides tools and supplies; whether there are benefits such as a pension and insurance; and whether work performed is a key component of the business' activity.


The Internal Revenue Service lists 20 factors to consider, and states in its guidance on the matter that "there is no 'magic' or set number of factors that 'makes' the worker an employee or an independent contractor."

But contractors and the carpenters' union say some building projects are rife with contract workers who clearly are misclassified: their hours and duties are assigned by their employer, their tools and supplies are provided, and their work is a core function of the company — all factors that generally make one an employee, not a contract worker, in the eyes of the law.

Quantifying the problem

A 2010 study commissioned by the Indiana Building & Construction Trades Council and the Indiana, Illinois, Iowa Foundation for Fair Contracting argued that a company's use of these workers gives employers who use the practice a decided, but unfair, competitive advantage.

The report, by economists from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, estimated 72,299 employers, 8,052 of them in construction, had misclassified employees in 2008. It said 15.3 percent of employees were misclassified, totaling 377,742 workers, of whom 24,323 were in construction.

The practice also has implications for governments at all levels, the study found. For the state in 2008, $30.4 million in unemployment insurance taxes were lost, $2 million of that from the construction industry.

Between $134.8 million and $224.6 million of income tax revenue went unpaid, with $10.6 million from the construction industry.

Local income tax losses statewide totaled $91.2 million, $7.2 million of that from the construction industry, according to the study. Also, $26.3 million of worker's compensation premiums were not properly paid, with $4.6 million of that from construction, according to the report.

Ultimately, the University of Missouri report estimated the costs to the state of Indiana, at a high end, of about $406 million annually.

But a precise evaluation of the cost to government is elusive. Several state agencies charged by the state's Pension Management Oversight Commission with doing a study of their own in 2010 disputed the methodology and assumptions of the university study.

They estimated 8 percent of workers, not 15.3 percent, are misclassified, and that the state loses $14 million to $20 million annually in tax revenue, "of which (the Department of Revenue) could be expected to recover a substantial portion."

The report, by the state departments of Workforce Development, Labor and Revenue and the Workers' Compensation Board, also questioned the impact on the workers' compensation and unemployment insurance system.

Finally, the report's writers argue that misclassification often is an innocent misunderstanding of the law. "Heavy-handed penalties will have little impact on these employers," the report concluded.

But contractors and unions dispute these conclusions, saying the effect on their work is clear and stronger enforcement is key. When a state legislative study committee investigated the issue last year, more than 40 contractors wrote letters contending that the misclassification problem has grown to the point that it threatens the viability of construction companies that abide by the rules.

The companies included Northwest Indiana's Berglund, Gough, Larson-Danielson, Precision, Prodigy, Solid Platforms, Specialty, Superior, and Pangere.

Misclassification "gives cheating contractors a 30 percent advantage in bidding, undermining the legitimate contracting community through low-ball bids that do not represent the cost of conducting lawful business," wrote Timothy Larson, president of Larson-Danielson Construction Co.

Enforcement elusive?

The carpenters' union recently had success when it filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board regarding a LaPorte hotel under construction. The complaint alleged that misclassification of workers impeded their ability to act collectively and form, or join, a union.

The complaint resulted in a settlement requiring the contractor to reclassify the employees and to inform them of their rights under federal law. But union officials called that settlement "a slap on the wrist" and, along with the contractors, have urged greater enforcement.

"There are laws on the books right now; the problem is they're not enforced," Cooley, of the tri-state carpenters' council, said.

Efforts on the state level have included a law that took effect in 2010 requiring the Labor, Workforce Development and Revenue departments, along with the Worker's Compensation Board, to share information on possible worker misclassification in the construction business.

The state also maintains an email address to receive tips,

But further efforts to bolster enforcement have met with resistance, according to the state senator behind a bill proposed in the last session.

"We've got all these different departments, and they're supposed to share this information, but it doesn't always happen," said Sen. Karen Tallian, D-Ogden Dunes.

Tallian authored a law that would have created a Payroll Fraud Task Force made up of representatives of the four state agencies. The law would have required hiring an investigator dedicated to investigation and enforcement. The bill had one committee hearing but never received a vote.

"We recognize there's a problem. We just don't know how big the problem is, and we don't know for sure how to fix it," said the Pensions and Labor Committee chairman, Crawfordsville Republican Phil Boots, when he concluded the Feb. 1 committee hearing on it.

Tallian said the state government has downplayed the problem and the state agencies' potential to address it.

"It keeps getting worse," Tallian said. "This bill will be filed again. We're going to keep pushing it."