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Learning from the Past, Looking Towards the Future

This year both the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Southwest Ohio’s own Local 2 celebrate their 140th birthday.  In 1880, carpenters in Cincinnati were making just $1.50 a day for their over ten-hour days.  The founding members realized their strength as a joint body was no match for “scabs” without a national union’s support.  During the formation of the UBC at the Chicago convention in 1881, Local 2 was granted a charter with the second most delegates in attendance – making it the longest continuous carpenters local charter in the UBC today.

 

Cincinnati was settled by a majority of German immigrants in the early-mid 1800s so every other meeting’s minutes were transcribed in both English and German language, according to Art Galea Junior. The former Local 2 President and former Southwest Ohio’s training center director spoke about what the history means to him, “it means quite a lot…some of the strife those guys went through made me really appreciate what we had.” “I appreciate it, I’ve been a member over 50 years…I’ve got a lot of memories.”

 

Art, one of seven in his family who would eventually join the Carpenter’s Union, started his apprenticeship program in 1968. Upon graduation he served in the Vietnam War, returned home, and led the apprenticeship program into where it’s at today. They transitioned from classes at the college to the hands-on facilities you see today.   He led the programs through several buildings until it landed in its current home.

 

Thanks to these advanced training centers, even one of the oldest unions can build projects with the newest technology. Multiple union contractors landed the project to install a state-of-the-art grid system for a Kroger Co. Fulfillment Center. Right in Monroe Ohio, UBC Millwrights installed a robotic vertical grid system in the 375,000 square feet facility. The first of its kind, the grid or “The Hive”, has over 1,000 robots flying through the air, up and down, to pick online grocery orders for deliveries up to 90 miles from the hub location. Up to 100 Millwrights were on the project at a time.

 

Trained Scaffold Erectors Needed in Toledo

In northwest Ohio, representatives are preparing for big calls of labor. With large-scale concrete tilt-up projects in manufacturing facilities, Murphy Tractor, Whiteford/Kenworth, and distribution spec buildings members will be kept busy over the next year.

Members with scaffold training certification are needed for a large call-out at the BP Refinery in Spring 2022.  The Rossford JATC will be holding additional classes for anyone in need of their refresher or interested in getting certified.  Contact the JATC at 419-872-4651 for upcoming classes or to check your status.

In the summer, Toledo area members will be needed to work on the third solar module manufacturing facility for First Solar.  Work includes metal studs, drywall, ceilings, flooring, and Millwrights installing conveyors.  Between, this project and the new Peloton facility ongoing now, representatives expect 50-60 members on-site each respective facility at peak.

This past year the Rossford hub has maintained focus on its tax fraud campaigns.  They held several pickets over the year against a contractor that reported on by the local media.  This added attention, including a signed letter from Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, helped get carpenters on the job. The efforts are still developing but the hub is motivated by the progress made thus far.

 

 

Community Values in Youngstown

Although the local JATC was unable to hold their annual open house, the Youngstown-Steubenville Hub still found a way to introduce high school students to the opportunities within the IKORCC apprenticeship program.

The Mahoning Valley Skilled Trades Expo hosted their second skilled trades event aimed at promoting union trades to seventh through twelfth-grade students.  Unfortunately, the event was canceled last year due to the pandemic but returned with new ways to promote careers in the trades.  The Hub partnered with local contractors like AP O’Horo, the Western Reserve Building Trades, and the area school’s Educational Service centers to host the two-day event.  The event launched with a public open house to recruit and educate members from the community outside of just schools. Students from three Ohio and two Western Pennsylvania counties were given a chance to experience hands-on activities at each of the craft’s stations. Splitting this year’s event into two days gave the over 4,500 students more time to visit with each craft.

 

The Youngstown-Steubenville Hub has also partnered with the United Way to build several wheelchair ramps and assist the team in bagging groceries for more than 350 families unable to reach a food pantry in person.  IKORCC members along with community members spent about three to four hours bagging groceries for United Way’s Satur-Day of Caring. The groceries were loaded into volunteers’ cars to be delivered to elderly members of the community.

 

 

Building Boom in Columbus

Central Ohio carpenters and millwrights are busier than ever with some of the most well-known organizations around town.  With ongoing projects for Ohio State Medical Center, Ohio State University, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Facebook, Google, Amazon, Hilton  and more; members working in central Ohio will be plenty busy for the next five years plus.

If you’ve been to the Ohio Apprenticeship graduation, you know the Convention Center Hilton hotel.   To meet the needs of the growing city, Hilton is expanding to a second tower, known as Hilton 2.0.  The standalone tower will add another 463 guest rooms, making the total occupancy 1,000 rooms.  This will be Columbus’ first and only hotel of that size.  Area-members are working on the piling, micro-piling, concrete, metal studs, drywall, doors, acoustical ceilings and roofing.  The $210 million project is being completed with union carpenters and is expected to be opened by June 2022.

Representatives are kept busy recruiting from non-union job sites and career fairs while competing with the countless now hiring signs around town.  With huge projects approaching for both carpenters and millwrights, they are actively hiring experienced journeypeople and apprentices.

“It’s important our members know how effective their testimony is.  They’re the best organizers we’ve got”, Senior Representative Troy Woodyard said.  “They have inspiring stories to tell and we’re hoping everyone can do their part to grow our Brotherhood”.

If you know someone with experience or looking to get into our trades, visit www.ikorcc.com/contact to get in touch with us.

 

Recruitment and Retention: Cleveland Nails It

The “Great Resignation” is hitting the country hard especially with the baby boomer generation retiring in waves.  Now more than ever it is crucial to bring in and retain new members.  The Cleveland Hub has organized over 60 new Hispanic members throughout the year with the help of bilingual representatives. The Hub has also signed two new minority contractors along with several other new signatory contractors. More contractors mean more future work and more advancement opportunities for members.

 

Renewed attention on apprentice retention from locals out of their office has proved successful with retention rates in the 90th percentile. A focus on mentoring, maintaining a strong relationship between the Hub and the JATC, and attentive job placement assistance keep these apprentices busy working and coming back year after year.

 

Fourth-year apprentice Savannah Engelman is one of these returning stars. “Joining the Carpenters’ Union and Apprenticeship Program has been a rewarding and fulfilling experience, as there are so many skills to be learned and mastered.  With numerous opportunities around every corner and at every level of our profession, there are always new goals to work towards and new skills to learn!”, she said about her journey so far.

 

The biggest project out of the Cleveland hub this year has been the mass timber frame mixed-use project across from the historic West-side market in downtown Cleveland.

Rubber City with their Eye on the Ball

Keeping the Akron-Canton members on top of the area’s biggest projects includes one of their most notable attractions, the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  The Hall of Fame Resort recommitted to using local, union workers in the next phase of their Hall of Fame Village Project in April 2021. President and CEO of the Hall of Fame Resort and the East Central Ohio Building Trades President jointly signed a PLA to confirm the commitment.

 

The $900 million Phase II includes the development of the Hall of Fame Village.  They plan to build a new hotel, an indoor waterpark, medical facilities, business and research buildings, retail stores, and more. Carpenters recently completed the renovation of the football stadium and are currently working on the Center for Excellence, practice fields for high school students, and the beginning stages of the onsite hotel.

 

From football to basketball, Akron has its share of high-profile places and people.  The kid from Akron made a name for himself across the country but continues to make the biggest impact in his hometown. The Lebron James Family Foundation is expanding their I Promise campus to create more opportunities for the success of their students.

 

The Akron/Canton Hub is proud to have worked on the first section of this project in building key aspects of the I Promise Campus. Representatives worked tirelessly to secure the work for our carpenters in this next phase despite many challenges. By supporting one of our signatory minority contractors, the Hub has guaranteed this high-profile work will be completed using local union carpenters.

 

Community Based Organizing

Our country is experiencing an unprecedented labor movement not seen since the 1940’s & 50’s. Every labor union in the country should be capitalizing on this momentum, but at some point, every union member has to ask themselves…what can I do to help?


Members like you, have and always will be the UBC’s most valuable asset. To reach the UBC goal of 70% market share & the regional council’s goals, we need you engaged.

Throughout our history carpenter to carpenter & community-based organizing have been the most effective tools we have as a union. Many of you are familiar with the IKORCC M.A.C program. The regional council has set up Membership Action Committees and holds meetings in multiple areas in IN, KY & Ohio.

Unlike regular monthly business meetings, this is where you have the opportunity to get involved in our organizing efforts. Activities range from community events, helping our neighbors with small construction projects, but most importantly showing up in force to collectively voice our concerns on carpenter issues.

We are the community, and we will hold elected officials, owners and developers accountable when they let unscrupulous contractors come into our community and steal the work that puts food on our tables. We are putting a schedule of events together for the 2022 M.A.C. agenda & we need you there.

Please contact your local or regional council office for more information & how you can make a difference.

Fraternally,

Ken Lyons

Director of Organizing

Political Update

Indiana

2021 has been another successful year for Indiana politics. The IKORCC managed to harvest a great relationship with the Indiana Association of Public-School Superintendents (IAPSS) and received an invitation to go on tour with them for all eight of their district meetings. During the tour, we were introduced to public school superintendents in all 92 counties. In addition, we were given the opportunity to talk about our Door Safety Inspection (DSI) Program and Career Connections.

One of our many focuses was on getting more “Responsible Bidder Language” added into front end bid specs with school corporations. During the 2021 year, we were able to obtain an additional two agreements with the Metropolitan School District of Boone Township and Concord Community Schools.

Other events worth mentioning that took place during the 2021 year are several successful meetings with political figures regarding laws being introduced to support ICRA training requirements being put in place if any work is being done in occupied health care facilities or schools that may have students present. Also, the City of Indianapolis has promised to make tax fraud and worker misclassification its number one priority for 2022. This commitment came directly from Mayor Joe Hogsett during a public speech that he gave to the city.

During the Delegates conference, Senator Fady Quadra (left) spoke to the membership and explained his level of respect for the Carpenters Union and other organized labor affiliates. He affirmed that he would carry the Carpenters ICRA legislation in 2022.

Due to line redistricting, a Senate seat for District 46 has come up for grabs. We have successfully sourced a candidate that is a card-carrying member of AFSCME whom we helped get elected to the Indianapolis City County Council, to go after this open seat. The candidate has confirmed they will make it known that this seat will be a union held seat if elected. This seat will be won during the primaries due to it being a largely held partisan district.

 

Kentucky

2021 was a busy political year in Kentucky.  Even with the COVID-19 restrictions we’ve been able to build great relationships with local lawmakers and state legislators.  Our goals in Kentucky are to address tax fraud and ensure we are in the best position to secure our work with the influx of new solar projects coming to the area.

With solar, it is our hope to introduce language similar to legislation that exists in other states that would protect our work and put our contractor base in the best position possible to secure solar work.  Our solar committee, headed up Jeremy Welch and Wallace Turner, has done a tremendous job working with developers and owners to provide information to the political team. That info is vital in working with our lawmakers to sell our training and the importance of the upcoming work.

Tax fraud is a major problem in Kentucky.  1099 worker misclassification and the cash under the table business model used by non-signatory contractors has put our contractor base at huge disadvantage.  Working with our Director of Organizing Kenneth Lyons and our political team, we’ve been taking local and state legislators to job site visits to show them the impact and loss of tax revenue that is currently going on.

Now that the November local elections are over, we will actively continue to educate local elected officials about our issues.  We use our training facilities to conduct tours and plan to ramp up job site visits.  Do not discount the importance you have in actively participating to successfully reach our goals.

If you are not registered to vote please do so.  You can register online at vrsws.sos.ky.gov.  Moving into 2022 there will be very important races all across Kentucky.

 

Ohio

2021 was a challenge, politically.  Our approach in building relationships with lawmakers became more difficult as a result of the COVID-19 mandates throughout Ohio. Thankfully, we found creative ways to continue building relationships with our local and state lawmakers.  We use our four self-funded Ohio training centers as our main selling point with politicians.  We continue to take elected officials out for jobsite visits to showcase what we do and also highlight the bad jobsites where tax fraud is rampant due to the lack of legislation in Ohio.

As a result, we continue to build support from both sides of the aisle – Democrat and Republican.  We have been successful in protecting our core issues such as Prevailing Wage, Right to Work, and Unemployment Compensation.  We are now using our relationships to introduce language to address tax fraud.  Our tax fraud bill will create a Tax Fraud Commission to study the impact that paying cash under the table and worker misclassification abuse is having, not only to us but every taxpayer within Ohio.  We are aggressively lobbying on current issues to protect our work within all four refineries in the state.

Our motto has always been to Educate, Agitate, and Organize.  These very same principles are used when working with any elected lawmaker.  Our Ohio political team covers all corners of the state and we will keep every UBC member informed of legislation that may affect us.

With the 2022 election cycle upcoming we will be very busy working for current lawmakers we support and going through a vetting process for any open seats to ensure that the right lawmakers are elected.  If you are not already registered to vote, please do so.

You can register online at ohiosos.gov.  Remember that when a recommendation is made to support a candidate they are soundly in support of protecting your work, your career, and your ability to provide for your family.

Health & Welfare Update

The Indiana/Kentucky/Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters has two Health & Welfare Funds, one for Indiana/Kentucky and another for Ohio. Both Funds are healthy with growing net reserves.

As of June 30th, 2021, the Ohio Plan’s net reserves are at seven months of reserves, up from five months last year. Net reserves are monies in the fund, which have no obligation against it and are used to pay our healthcare costs and fund expenses. The Indiana/Kentucky fund as of June 30, 2021 has 9.9 months of net reserves, up from 9.1 last year (a month of net reserves is equal to the average cost of healthcare expenses for one month). Both funds are operating well and expect continued growth of net reserves.

Effective September 1, 2021 the trustees of both funds were pleased to announce, that regardless of the amount of contributions received, all apprentices will be credited for all hours s/he attends school to receive training required by a training program affiliated with the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America. The apprentice shall be credited with an amount equal to the actual number of hours the apprentice attends school per week.

The Indiana/Kentucky fund’s Board of Trustees is pleased to announce that effective September 1, 2021, it has reduced its bank threshold (point at which monthly contributions received above required premium are allocated to participant’s bank) from $200 to $150. The ability to do this is a direct result of improving net reserves.

The UBC continues to work to provide the best prescription drug program available in the marketplace. Currently, the IKORCC and Ohio Health plans participate in a pharmacy benefit program negotiated on a national basis with Express Scripts, known as Level Care Pharmacy Program. This program covers over 30 participating Carpenter Funds throughout the country. In early 2021, after many months of review, analysis and negotiation, a new five-year agreement was finalized covering mail order, retail, and specialty drugs. The program is projected to save over $362 million over these 5 years for the participating Carpenters Funds, with over $40 million in projected savings for the IKORCC and Ohio plans.

IKORCC Magazine

You won’t want to miss all the great content inside our annual IKORCC magazine. Inside you’ll find a letter from EST Todd Pancake, updates from hubs across the council, important […]