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IKORCC “Pinpoints” what it means to have dedication with annual pin banquet

As an annual tradition, members of the Carpenters Local #1485 of LaPorte, Indiana gathered at Blue Chip Casino to recognize years of service, leadership, and economic accomplishments.

“I like this event because it is a chance for us to come together to honor our members and their service to our union and to our brotherhood. It shows what this union means to our members and it gives them a chance to come and share with each other one night a year,” said President John Carr.

Following dinner and music, guests were treated to a presentation given by Carr on payroll fraud as well as apprenticeship.

Payroll fraud is prevalent in the wood framing and drywall industry, creating upwards of a 30% disadvantage to law abiding contractors. According to Carr, Indiana is losing more than $150 million annually in state tax revenues.

“Worker misclassification is an epidemic in our communities that must be addressed with strict enforcement. We have to do something at the local level to protect all law abiding local contractors who employ local skilled tradesman,” Carr said.

The United Brotherhood of Carpenters has also taken notice to the rise of apprenticeships. With over 7,000 registered apprentices, Indiana is one of the top states in the country in terms of apprenticeship opportunity.

Carr said, “We are the only organization that is effectively training and preparing carpenters for the future. We are building job site leaders and investing in our greatest resource, our members, who are also our contractor’s greatest resource.”

Following Carr’s presentation, his wife Angie took the podium to discuss United for Carpenters (U4C), a group of carpenters’ spouses that spend their time teaching children and grandchildren of the 1485 group. They focus on core values that children will be able to use throughout their life, whether they are following in the footsteps of their family and becoming carpenters or pursuing a different career path. The group also educates children on the union and what their parent’s careers entail.

“We are here to make an impact and to make an impact you need a lot of supporters. What you need to remember is your biggest supporter is your family,” said Angie Carr.

The group has recently been recognized by the UBC office in Greenwood and they will be used as a pilot to expand the group for the whole Brotherhood.

Awards followed next, with Bert Cook of the Greater La Porte Economic Development Corporation being the first recipient. Cook was recognized for his “unwavering commitment to the city of La Porte.”

“It’s always a great honor to be acknowledged for any professional work you have done, but especially by this group,” said Cook. “We work together so often on so many important projects that have such a great impact on our community that for them to acknowledge me in that way is especially humbling. I think it is a testament to what can be accomplished when we work in partnership with one another and how we can move our communities forward.”

The next award was given to a member who has left their legacy for others to strive for. Dave Tharp, Midwest District Vice-President of the UBC, was given the Legacy Award.

After being thanked for his commitment to the union, Tharp said, “I started my apprenticeship back in 1978 and the training the council gave me was skills that I’ve been living a lifetime with. I’ve had the pleasure of serving many different jobs, not only as a carpenter but as a representative through the years and it has just been very good for me. I have a son that is also in the trade and he certainly wouldn’t have followed in my footsteps if it hadn’t been good for me.”

Other awards of the evening included the Peter J. McGuire Award given to John Dudek for his dedication to service as a mentor, teacher, leader, and brother. For 64 years of service to Carpenters Local 1485, James L. Principe was recognized. Tom Dermody, state representative, was given a leadership award as well.

The evening concluded with recognition for milestone years of service, with members receiving pins.

Check out the photos!

Source: La Porte County Life

Carpenters donate over 100 toys to Toys for Tots

In an ongoing effort to give back to the community, Local 1005 of the Indiana/Kentucky/Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters (IKORCC) collected and donated toys to the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program this past holiday season.

The Toys for Tots Program collects new, unwrapped toys for children each year. Local businesses serve as collection sites where community members can drop off toys, and the collected toys are distributed to less fortunate children within the community so they can experience the joy of Christmas.

Working with Reggie Hess, Marine Corps League District 1 Vice Commandant, Local 1005 collected over 100 toys and gift cards. “We are so appreciative of the support from Local 1005. We had a very successful holiday season, and it could not have been done without their generosity,” commented Hess. “This past year, we provided over 2,400 Christmas presents to children in Porter County, and in some cases, we were able to give out up to five toys per child. It’s because of generous people like those in Local 1005 that we are able to bring happiness to kids and families on Christmas day.”

Throughout the year, IKORCC members volunteer in their local communities in countless ways, including collecting donations for local charities. “It’s all about giving back to the community and to those who may be going through a tough time,” commented Eric Yuhasz, Local 1005 Secretary and IKORCC Representative. “We have so many members who willingly volunteer time, talents and donations without hesitation. There really isn’t a better feeling than witnessing the joy and graciousness of the families receiving our volunteer services.”

Class representative addresses crowd at graduation banquet

Jerome Stanford completed the apprenticeship program with hundreds of others from Indiana and Kentucky and were honored with a completion ceremony in December 2015. As the selected speaker to represent the graudation class, Jerome addressed the members and guests that night.

Why should politics matter to you?

American workers have felt a slow decline in their wages since the early 1980s, meaning wage increases have been slightly lower than the cost of living increase. This means less money for groceries, clothing, your children and the everyday essential you may need for raising a family or saving for retirement.

Union wages for the construction industry are no different, except unions have contracts that include wage increase, healthcare and retirement plans. With ongoing training programs for apprentices and journeymen this allows the workers to be more skilled than the nonunion workers. Productivity levels are higher, accidents are lower, and attitudes on job sites are more positive than ever before because of the investments in training by the members and their union. These union contracts are agreements between Labor and Contractors. The more highly skilled workers usually result in better wages, better working conditions and better benefits for their family.

On the other hand, payroll fraud is spreading rampant through the construction industry. This is where unscrupulous nonunion contractors choose to hire hourly workers and pay them cash or as independent contractors (1099s) by not withholding the employee’s state or federal tax deductions, FICA withholdings and Medicare deductions, leaving this responsibility on the workers to pay.

Learn more about payroll fraud

‘Hybrid’ police merit rules pass council

The council approved changes to Terre Haute’s “responsible bidder ordinance,” which proponents say would help ensure city public works projects use the best qualified workers and that contracts that bid are “using the same level playing field.”

The council first adopted a responsible bidder ordinance in 2010 Under the changes, bidders on city public works projects “shall provide evidence of participation in apprenticeship and training programs … which are approved by and registered with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Apprenticeship, or its successor organization.”

The changes would apply to any general contractor bidding on a city public works project, as well as subcontractors, he said.

The tougher language also should help ensure local bidders are awarded the contracts, Joe Bolk, business manager for Laborers Local 204, said previously.

While the changes mean contractors would have to have registered apprenticeship programs, the changes don’t require that union labor be used, advocates say.

Read the full article

Kids Caring for the Community program awards funds to local elementary school

For the past four years, the Indiana/Kentucky/Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters (IKORCC) has been partnering with local elementary schools to promote volunteerism and giving back to the community through its Kids Caring for the Community service program. Participating schools throughout Northwest Indiana complete service projects and are entered in a drawing to receive a monetary award as recognition for their community service.

Each year, Kids Caring for the Community awards $9,000 total to participating elementary schools in Lake, Porter and LaPorte Counties. One winner from each county is chosen. There are four total Kids Caring for the Community sessions throughout the academic year, giving local elementary schools multiple opportunities to be selected as winners.

Local 1485 IKORCC Representative John Carr is proud to see the IKORCC families involved in the program. “Many students participating in the Kids Caring for the Community program are children of IKORCC members,” said Carr. “It is so rewarding to know the impact this program will make for many generations to come. When we teach our children to serve, we know the results will be far-reaching.”

LaPorte County schools that participated in Session 1 include Crichfield Elementary, Westville Elementary, Indian Trail Elementary, Kingsford Heights Elementary, Knapp Elementary and Rolling Prairie Elementary.

Last month, Crichfield Elementary was selected in a blind drawing of participating schools as the Session 1 winner for LaPorte County. As their service project, students collected pop tabs for the Ronald McDonald House. The Ronald McDonald House supports families of children being treated for cancer and other serious illnesses or trauma while the child receives treatment at a nearby hospital or medical treatment center. To reach their goal of collecting 100 gallons of pop tabs this school year, students made posters and gave speeches about their service project.

Donna Biggs, Principal of Crichfield Elementary School, was thrilled to see the kids’ hard work being recognized. “Our student council and K Kids Club are very active in the community, and we love helping the students get excited about giving back.” Biggs said the school plans to use the awarded funds for a Buddy Bench for their playground, which is a place where students can go when they don’t have anyone to play with. The goal of the bench is to eliminate loneliness and encourage friendship on the playground. Additionally, Crichfield Elementary will be starting a Striders Club in the spring to promote more physical activity.

For more information, please contact John Carr, IKORCC Representative, at jcarr@ikorcc.com.

Who are my elected officials in Indiana?

The Indiana Secretary of State’s office provides a great website for you to check out your elected officials. You can enter address in top left corner, and narrow results on right hand side all the way to school district! With contact information provided, we encourage everyone to reach out to your elected officials regarding issues of concern.

Carpenters advocate for hands-on educational opportunities in schools


LEBANON, Ind. – Earlier this month, Indiana/Kentucky/Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters (IKORCC) training director, Todd Pancake, was a featured presenter at an Elevating Work & Learn in Indiana event at Lebanon High School. Pancake gave an overview of the IKORCC apprenticeship program.

“It was a great honor to be invited to speak at the event,” said Pancake. Among others, both Governor Mike Pence and Lieutenant Governor Sue Ellspermann addressed attendees.

Elevating Work & Learn in Indiana targets residents in Indiana in an effort to educate them on potential career opportunities. It encourages schools, businesses and educators to create and identify opportunities to expose individuals seeking employment to viable work environments.

During his presentation, Pancake discussed the model of the IKORCC apprenticeship as a great example of a “work and learn” environment that fuels the pipeline for “high-wage, high-demand” careers in the construction industry.

“Our apprenticeship program,” said Pancake, “has so much to offer in terms of being a great model of how to marry classroom training with real on-the-job experiences. We are thrilled to share with others what we are doing.”

Fourth year carpenter apprentice, Kraig Bergman, shared the value the apprenticeship program has had on his ongoing career.

“We are so grateful for the opportunity to increase work and learn opportunities throughout the state for future generations through our partnerships with the Indiana Career Council and Works Councils,” said IKORCC member and Indiana Region 6 Works Council member Tim Conley.

For more detailed information, please contact Tim Conley at tconley@ikorcc.com

Carpenters Union Hosts Food Drive for Local Pantry Just in Time for Thanksgiving

LA PORTE, Ind.- Last month, Carpenters from the The Indiana/Kentucky/Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters (IKORCC) Local 1485 donated food, toiletries and other essentials to the Center Township Food Pantry & Resource Center. The Resource Center is coordinated by LaPorte’s trustee Lisa Pierzakowski.

Volunteers from We Stand joined Local 1485 for the food drive. We Stand is an organization consisting of spouses and companions of Local 1485 carpenters who develop different ways to give back to the community. “Resource centers do a lot of good for their communities as do local carpenters. We realize you have to build up the entire community not just certain sectors,” said We Stand Representative Angela Carr. “This resource center wants to improve the economic situation by putting local citizens to work, which drives us to help them more.”

We Stand members and Local 1485 Carpenters reached out to local grocery stores to promote and set up drop off sites for people to donate food and toiletry items for the pantry. In mid-September, they hosted the weekend-long food drive at La Porte Al’s Supermarket locations and the La Porte Savings Bank.

They also reached out to their locals members who contributed items at their bi-monthly meetings. In addition to the items and food donated, Local 1485 and We Stand presented the food panty with a check for $1,000. Carr added, “Holidays can be especially difficult for some families, so we were excited to take part in this food drive.”
For more information, please contact John Carr jcarr@ikorcc.com

Local Carpenters Volunteer in Home Construction for Wounded Soldier

ANDERSON, Ind. – Over the past year, Homes for Hoosier Heroes and various local trades, including carpenters, millwrights and floor coverers of the Indiana/Kentucky/Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters (IKORCC) have been working on building a handicap- accessible home for former Army infantryman Timothy Frank Senkowski.

Senkowski was severely injured by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan, resulting in the loss of both of his legs.

Last month, Tim Thieme of Floor Coverers Local 364 was contacted by Chuck Gowan and Mike Brooks, pipe fitters who are involved in the project. Gowan and Brooks were in need of contractors wiling to lay flooring in Senkowski’s home. Thieme quickly agreed to help and reached out to Superior Carpet Installers of Indianapolis, who without hesitation jumped on board.

All of the underlayment was generously donated by Southland Flooring Supply. The vinyl plank and carpet was provided by Mohawk for a minuscule charge.

Local 364 floor coverers who volunteered for the project include Adam Williams (Floor Covering Instructor), Marty Brinson and Kelsey Biggs of Superior Carpet Installers, Wes Simpson and Chris Rainer of Blakley’s Flooring.

“As we were working on his home, Senkowski stopped by to visit. Every single installer walked over to him and shook his hand, thanking him for his service,” commented Thieme. “Knowing that we’re giving back to someone who has dedicated his entire life for our country and our freedom makes it all worthwhile.”

“Sacrifice…that’s what it’s all about. Whether it’s by donating a few hours to help a brother out or spending a weekend to positively impact the lives of our nation’s heroes,” commented Wes Simpson of Local 364. “The brotherhood of unions and veterans will always be there on the front lines to fight for what’s right. I was honored to help someone who sacrificed it all for our freedom.”

For more information, please contact Tim Thieme at tthieme@ikorcc.com