The Organizing Department continues to attack non-Union projects in all areas of our jurisdiction. There is no question that we
continue to be the most active Union in New York City. We currently have ten picket sites throughout the five boroughs. Our reputation is growing and non-Union contractors are actively seeking out the Union to sign our agreement instead of dealing with our protests.

We recently had a picket line in Harlem where a residential building is being renovated by a non-Union company. The contractor’s day started unlike any other. This day he found our Union bus parked directly in front of his job with a 50-foot sign that read “PREVAILING
WAGE FRAUD.” After the bus took its position at the jobsite, fifteen Union Carpenters walked out and set up a picket line. When a worker on the job started talking to one of our members, the boss literally took him by the hand and led him away. It was amazing to see a grown man treat other grown men like children. We are confident that they will not put up with that treatment for much longer. We will continue to draw attention to that project while the proper authorities continue to contact us regarding this case.

Our SALT program, which deliberately places Union workers on non-Union job sites, is also having a tremendous effect on our ability to organize. We currently have Union Carpenters infiltrating several non-Union projects in our jurisdiction. The contractors do not have any idea which one of their employees is Union and which ones are not. This “guessing game” forces the contractor to worry about someone filing charges against him, informing OSHA of safety violations or even walking out on strike. The projects that do not have a SALT program member placed at their site are left guessing on a daily basis whether any of their employees are Union members or not.

We continue to attend court hearings regarding NLRB violations by non-Union contractors. We presently have numerous cases in the courts on behalf of workers who were threatened or intimidated by their bosses. Often the contractor’s legal fees add up and many times exceed what their
costs would have been if they hired Union Carpenters. This is a lesson they will soon learn—but if not, we will continue to bleed them dry with legal fees and security costs.

One of our Organizers, Ramadan “Rambo” Ibric, was recently appointed to his community board in Queens. He has already started openly discussing non-Union projects in Queens and has awoken the politicians, and
more importantly the people, of this district to the crime that exists within non-Union construction. The pressure that Rambo will be able to place on politicians, combined with our organizing tactics, will make it increasingly difficult for contractors to build non-Union in Queens. We strongly encourage all of our members to hold political positions in their districts. If we can control the politics of our neighborhood, we can control the work in our neighborhood.

We have been placing a larger emphasis on research when it comes to non-Union contractors. As noted, all of our Organizers are actively placing spies within companies and their workforce, and they are providing us with a tremendous amount of information. Sometimes we know who a non-Union contractor is going to rip off before they do.
Speaking of politics, we recently organized a
large show of support in City Hall regarding the building of the Nets arena in Brooklyn. Unfortunately, there is opposition to bringing the Nets to Brooklyn and building a state-of-the-art arena. In May, the City Council held an open forum where they witnessed dozens of Union Carpenters advocating for this construction. We were told to be quiet during this session, but instead we made more noise. We are confident that this arena will be built Union in the near future.

The Organizing Department is more militant than ever before. Every day we make more and more enemies within the non-Union sector, all the while gaining the trust of the workers on these projects. We don’t pretend to be a rational group and we don’t act like it, either. If someone is going to build non-Union in our jurisdiction, they will have to deal with us and answer to 50-foot signs that read “PREVAILING WAGE FRAUD.” We need, however, the membership to really get involved in our organizing drives by participating in the 21-G program. We need you out there ready to make some noise.


© Copyright 2004. The New York District Council of Carpenters, New York, NY 10014
Any questions or comments regarding this website should be directed to
August 10, 2004