CURRENT NEWS

  This area of the website will be constantly updated, providing you with the latest information on policies, stories of interest, and important notices. Make sure to read through this page, as well as all the other pages on this site to stay informed!

THE TRUTH ABOUT ABC CONTRACTORS!

 Here's a real eye-opening video! Watch to see what the primary agenda of the Associated Builders and Contractors really is. You'll gain an understanding of how they are trying to undermine working class people, both union and non-union. Click on the picture below to watch a YouTube video about this devious organization.

ABC Contractors

LIUNA LAUNCHES "GETTING SCHOOLED IN INFRASTRUCTURE" TOUR

Bus

In an effort to press Congress to pass a jobs-creating, long-term Highway Bill, LiUNA has launched a major media campaign including radio ads, billboards, online materials and actions and the "Getting Schooled in Infrastructure" school bus, which began touring the U.S. on June 16. The bus has been crushed and carries a large piece of concrete from a falling bridge. It will be towed to news media briefings in more than 20 locations, starting with Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Ohio and continuing to other cities during the summer. The campaign is linked to www.fixourbridges.org/ and www.repairourroads.org/, where concerned Americans can send a message to Congress. The current Highway Bill authorization expires Oct. 1, meaning the Highway Trust Fund will no longer pass funds to states for road and bridge projects, unless Congress takes action. Even before the expiration, the fund is expected to run dry. Congress has viable options to save the trust fund. Hundreds of thousands of jobs - and the safety of motorists - are at stake. Watch video and see other coverage. Learn more now at www.fixourbridges.org/ and send your message to your member of Congress.

REPUBLICANS ATTACK ASBESTOS CERTIFICATION!

  Beginning Friday, April 13th, 2012 the State Department of Labor in Harrisburg is no longer accepting "walk-in" customers with applications for Asbestos and Lead Occupation Certification.

  From this point forward, all members will need to have a completed application filled out, along with a check or money order payable to The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in the correct amount since they do no accept cash. Applications will not be processed immediately as they had in the past. Instead, they will be processed with all other mail received in the State's office. Incomplete applications, or applications missing required information, will be returned to the individual form completion prior to processing.

  This action, according to the State, has become necessary due to an increase in fraudulent certificates being received and the need for more detailed perusal and verification of the application.

UPMC NOW REQUIRES I.C.R.A. CERTIFICATION

   Any member that is sent out to work an any UPMC hospital will need a 24-hr I.C.R.A. training class. I.C.R.A. introduces students to containment issues and requirements within a hospital setting. Hands-on exercises building containment areas, as well as proper conduct & awareness training are also discussed. Please call the Training Center as soon as possible to schedule yourself for the class. As always, classes fill up fast, so even if it's not listed on the schedule, call and get put on the wait list for the next available time it's offered.

CHANGES TO ASBESTOS REMINDER LETTERS

"Beginning January 1, 2013, the Western Pennsylvania Laborer's Education and Training Fund will no longer be mailing reminder notices to members who are about to expire for asbestos worker/supervisor certification. Refresher courses will be offered during the first and third week of every month. Please review your expiration date and call the Training Center to schedule your refresher. Be sure to leave adequate time, at least 3 weeks before your expiration date for processing. Thank you for your attention to this matter."

Marc Ferrari - Administrator

QUICK NEWS!

WE'RE ON FACEBOOK!

   Facebook is the number way to communicate on the internet right now. Local #373 and the Training Center have joined the show and now have pages of their own. Click the images below to check us out. Make sure to "LIKE" the pages.

Facebook Page        Facebook Page

NEW TRAINING CENTER PHONE APP!

  We now have a brand new phone App for the Training Center, compatible with both Apple & Android Smartphones. You'll have access to training calendars, news, photos, directions, and more. Dowload from the Apple App stores or the Google Play store, search for "laborers" or "laborer", and scroll down to install. For those Android users that have the old app installed, please delete it and install the new App! If you have a QR Reader on your phone, use it to scan in the code below and install the app! QR Tag

FILL OUT YOUR HEALTH QUESTIONNAIRES!

  Remember to fill out your health questionnaires and get a physical before September 30, 2017. For more information, please click on the "Health/Welfare" link. 

EMAIL ADDRESSES WANTED!

  In order to provide you with the latest information about political topics and other things, the Local will be asking you to provide an email address so we can add it to our contact information. Please feel free to call the office and let one of the agents know at any time. 

LABORERS' MOTORCYCLE CLUB

  The Laborers' Motorcycle Club, unaffiliated with Local #373 or the District Council, is now offering patch sets(colors), starting at $60 each. Long-sleeve t-shirts will be soon to follow as well.

UNDERCOVER BOSS AND HOW IT PERTAINS TO OUR WORKERS

  The following appeared in a "Letter to the Editor" in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the writers name is unknown. 

 The "Undercover Boss" TV program featured our own Mayor Bill Peduto and breathtaking views of Pittsburgh, but the real stars of the show were the genuine, hard-working people of Pittsburgh. The featured stories brought out some of the structural issues that impede progress and the talented people who make a difference in spite of limited city resources and personal challenges.

  Lawrence Smith's story, which culminated in the creation of an apprenticeship program to train youth living in Pittsburgh's housing developments, spoke to one of my passions. We must find ways to mentor, direct and develop talent in underserved and forgotten neighborhoods and provide sustainable wages and affordable, well-maintained housing. Mr. Peduto promised an inclusive program under Mr. Smith's leadership. This is a postive step toward providing a framework for such training.

  I encourage the Mayor to include the unions in his plan. The trade unions such as the Greater Pennsylvania Carpenter's Union and the IBEW are natural partners. Our local unions already offer free, comprehensive apprenticeship programs that provide ongoing work experience and access to resources and support, as well as fair wages and benefit structures that can provide upward mobility in these communities.

  The highly transferable skills taught in union programs would permit young people to share in the growth and success that Pittsburgh is experiencing. The show brought home the importance of including the voices and talents of all community members in the process of improving our city. Every person, every family, every worker matters. Unions have always stood for these very core values.

  Toghether, we can make a difference.

MARCELLUS SHALE CREATED 45,000 BUILDING TRADE JOBS!

  The Marcellus Shale gas industry has really made it's mark felt in Pennsylvania. Job reports have stated that in excess of 45,000 jobs have been created with this industry. Andy Sheehan, from KDKA news, just wrote an article about it, with an included video, describing the impact the industry has had on building trades jobs. Click the picture below to read the article and watch the video.

Marcellus Shale

GET RID OF THE UNIONS AND SEE WHAT HAPPENS!

 As Published on the website: The PoliticalJunkies for Progressive Democracy, July 13, 2014, By Loren Adams

   Imagine what life would be without unions. To arrive at an accurate portrayal, go back in time when unions didn’t exist… back to the Dark Ages and feudalism, back to slavery, indentured servants, castles surrounded by paupers’ villages of thatched-roof shanties. Back to the days Republicans would love to drive this nation.

   Yes, picture what it would be for you to live without a union. It’s a journey you’ll never forget.

   Without an ounce of shame, rightwing extremists over the country now call union members “thugs.”  I personally heard that derogatory remark on my visits to Wisconsin in 2011 and 2013, and now I hear it from several politicians, governors, and so-called religious folk (blinded by the right and their mythological suppositions, such as a “chosen” flock destined by prophecy to be transformed into royalty over an infidel population). Their vision of a monarchial theology clouds their social mores. The contradiction is glaring.

   Apparently there’s a lot of hate and animosity out there for folk that bargain with their bosses to get better work conditions, benefits and pay. Is that wrong? Many Americans think so. Unfortunately, they’ve been brainwashed by the rightwing machine. (FOX is the curse on America leading it to division and decline.)

   Labor unions have a long and challenging history in the United States. To some people, they conjure up thoughts of organized crime and gangsters like Jimmy Hoffa. To workers who actually know first-hand, labor unions represent solidarity among the working classes, bringing people together across many levels to lobby for better rights, wages and benefits. Unions are one of the strongest forces against racism; it unites people of all creeds and backgrounds. Unions are also an important and fundamental part of the history of United States commerce and the country’s growth into an economic powerhouse.

   Without unions, there’d be no Middle Class, no 40-hour week, no weekends, no over-time, no child-labor laws, no pensions, no healthcare, no workers’ comp, and no job safety regulations.

   Without unions, you’d be making less than minimum wage. Without unions, you’d be fired for no reason with no one to represent you in case you wanted your job back.

   So what do unions do and why are they still important? Labor unions help ALL workers today – including those in a non-union shop.

EVENTS IN U.S. LABOR HISTORY

   In the 19th century, the Industrial Revolution produced a rapid expansion in factories and manufacturing. As workers moved away from agriculture to factories, mines and other hard labor, many faced terrible working conditions: long hours, low pay and health risks. Many children worked in factories, and women and children generally received lower pay than men. The government did little to limit these injustices, and in the United States, along with much of the industrialized world, labor movements developed which lobbied for better rights and safer conditions.

   In the evolution of the Union Movement, labor leaders were imprisoned, beaten, assaulted and even murdered. Thousands were arrested for simply picketing or passing out information leaflets.

   Without a union, not just some, but all except the 1% would be working minimum wage [if Republicans don’t eliminate it beforehand]. They’d be just as well off flipping burgers at McDonald’s, or waiting tables at the greasy spoon. Without unions, America would truly be a Third World nation.

   So, next time one feels particularly critical of the union, think what it’d be like without one. Of course, that’s where the majority of Republicans would like to take us – back to the bad-ole-days when folk were mostly enslaved. Lincoln is rolling over in his grave.

   Unions are also the backbone of the Democratic Party. The elite would like to ignore that fact to their own peril, but working people are not only the bread and butter of the world’s leading economy, but the Democratic Party itself. The “job creators” are the consumers that earn a paycheck where they’re able to buy goods and services, not the 1% that sit on their assets and stash their cash away overseas.

VETERANS ADMINISTRATION REJECTS PROJECT LABOR AGREEMENTS; NOW ITS CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS ARE FRAUGHT WITH PROBLEMS

WASHINGTON, DC - After outright rejecting the use of Project Labor Agreements(PLAs) for its ambitious plans to construct several new hospital facilities across the United States, the US Department of Veterans Affairs is now experiencing critical cost-overruns, massive scheduling delays, expensive quality issues, and accusations concerning the use of undocumented workers on projects being funded with taxpayer dollars.

The $600 million VA hospital project in Lake Nona, Florida is a prime example. A congressional field hearing conducted August 13, 2012 uncovered the fact that the project is now in excess of $100 million over-budget and is approximately a year behind schedule. The general contractor responsible for the project, Brasfield and Gorrie(B&G), is a member of the Associated Builders and Contractors(ABC), a notorious anti-union contracting group that fiercely defends and promotes a business model predicated upon the use of a low-wage, low-skill, easily exploitable workforce. In addition to the cost overruns and scheduling issues, the field hearing uncovered the fact that there are numerous quality issues arising from this project, including rust and mold issues that will almost certainly add to the final, escalating cost of this project.

Even more disheartening was the fact that, in early 2011, federal and state agencies twice raided the Lake Nona project and found the rampant use of undocumented workers. Once subcontractor was found to have hidden some of those workers in the heating and ventilation ducts during the raid.

Sadly, the 1.2 million square foot hospital under construction at Lake Nona Medical City isn't the only VA project experiencing these types of problems.

Across the country, many VA medical construction projects are also far behind schedule. Of the four VA hospitals presently under construction, three are more than a year behind schedule, according to the U.S. House Committee on Veteran's Affairs.

Among the 55 VA medical clinics authorized by Congress since 1998, five are completed, while 36 are behind schedule, and more than a third of those are delayed at least three years. One Jacksonville, FL clinic is more than 13 years behind schedule.

"In 2010, we specifically warned Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki that each and every one of these issues would arise if the VA embraced a 'low road' approach to its construction procurement policies," said Sean McGarvey, President of the Building and Construction Trades Department. "It's sad that taxpayer dollars are being wasted while the VA learns an inconvenient truth that was conceived by Ben Franklin over 200 years ago: 'The bitterness of poor quality lasts long after the cheap price is forgotten."

A CALL TO ARMS TO PROTECT OUR JOBS & FUTURE! 

An open letter from your Executive Board

 "Make no mistake about it. Unions and their members are under attack, and it's not just happening in Wisconsin and Ohio. It's happening right here in Pennsylvania and it's only going to get worse unless our members take notice and, more importantly, take action. Efforts by the Republican Party and others to strip away the rights of labor and freeze or reduce hard-earned wages and benefits gained through collective bargaining are gaining momentum around the country, and we are all to blame for letting this occur

   When Wall Street collapsed as a result of gross mismanagement and pension investments suffered, we allowed the blame to be shifted from corporate executives to public unions and their members who had long contributed and funded their own pension plans. When unemployment soared and jobs and industries were shipped to foreign markets, we allowed unions and organized labor to be the scapegoat for what were, and continue to be, failed economic policies. When health care costs skyrocketed despite record-breaking profits of insurance carriers and health care companies, it was unions and public sector employees who were blamed for the audacity of demanding, receiving, and deserving such fringe benefits. The blaming of the country's economic woes on unions and the middle class worker was not an accident. It was the strategy and greed of far-right conservatives who deliberately swayed public opinion based on economic fallacies and falsehoods.

   Nothing unites a people more than a common enemy. First it was the banks, then it was the government, and not it is the unions and public sector workers, and we are allowing it to happen. We are allowing it by electing public officials who care more about their popularity and personal gain than what is is best for their constituents and for the country. We are allowing it by not letting our positions be known to our local, state, and federal legislators on even the most basic of topics. We are allowing it by not speaking up to defend our rights and our value.

   We can not allow this to continue. Our very livelihood depends on each and every one of us taking a stand to let our elected officials know of our opinions, the importance of our work and our contributions to society. The working men and women of the union building trades have long contributed to the quality of life of Pennsylvania and of this country. It is the laborer, carpenter, ironworker, electrician, plumber and so many other building trades workers who have built America. We can not stand idly by while a select few tear America down for their personal gain.

   That is why it is more important today than ever before that we let our elected officials know that we do not support policies that undermine collective bargaining or that fail to fund programs and institutions that promote education, bridge and highway construction, and other infrastructure improvements. We can not sit by idly and assume that others will speak for us. We all need to get more involved.

   Writing to legislators and other public officials is one of the most effective means of participating in government. We can't emphasize enough how important or meaningful it is for an elected official to hear directly from his or her constituents. The squeaky wheel truly does get the oil. Make some noise!

   Take a few minutes to write to your legislator about your support of our union and for the working middle class. Don't worry about grammar or punctuation. Don't worry about it being composed on a computer. If you want to type a letter, that's fine. If you want to handwrite it, that's fine also, as long as it's legible. You can even Tweet it. But they have to hear from you.

   They need to know your position on worker's rights, on organized labor, on safety at the workplace. Most of all, they need to hear from you. For maximum effectiveness, limit your letter to one subject at a time. Be brief, be factual and relate your comments to how they affect you personally as a member of the Laborers' District Council of Western Pennsylvania.

   Timing is critical. The sooner a letter is sent, the better are your chances of influencing a legislator's position. If they don't hear from their constituents, there is no reason or incentive for them to support our cause.

   If you don't know who your representative or senators are, visit the "POLITICS" link above. But take action as soon as you can. Our union brothers and sisters in Wisconsin and Ohio are learning the hard way what it means to become complacent and let others decide their fate.

   Finally, in the next election, take your voting privileges seriously. Don't think that your vote doesn't count. It does, as does the vote of every one of your friends and relatives. We need to be proactive and no longer reactive. Your union will continue to speak on behalf of our organization, but your voice can be just as powerful. USE IT, BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE!"