Thursday

In this issue: Regional Vice Presidents to the Executive Council Elected Women Members Make Their Mark on BAC150 Workshops Face Today’s Challenges Heritage on Display 2015 Convention Sergeant-at-Arms

Regional Vice Presidents to the Executive Council Elected

Delegates from each BAC Region – Canada, North Central, Northeast, South and West – conducted separate elections for Regional Vice Presidents to the BAC Executive Council.

Delegates from the Northeast are entitled to elect seven Vice Presidents. Those elected are:

  1. David Donkin, Sr. of Local 9 PA
  2. Robert Mantello of Local 2 NY/VT
  3. Gerald Marotti of Local 1 CT
  4. Dennis Pagliotti of Local 1 PA/DE
  5. Chuck Raso of Local 3 MA/ME/NH/RI
  6. Jerry Sullivan, Jr. of Local 1 NY
  7. Richard Tolson of the NJ ADC

Delegates from the South are entitled to elect two Vice Presidents. Those elected are:

  1. John Perkins of Local 5 OK/AR/TX
  2. Jay Smith of Local 8 SE

Delegates from the North Central are entitled to elect eight Vice Presidents. Those elected are:

  1. James Allen of ADC 1 of IL
  2. Donald Brown of the Eastern MO ADC
  3. Gary Burns of the WI ADC
  4. Ted Champ of Local 4 IN/KY
  5. Leroy Hunter, Jr. of the WV ADC
  6. Craig Hydeman of Local 15 MO/KS/NE
  7. Ken Kudela of the OH-KY ADC
  8. Chuck Kukawka of Local 2 MI

Delegates from the West are entitled to elect three Vice Presidents. Those elected are:

  1. Dave Jackson of Local 3 CA
  2. Tim Thompson of Local 2 WA/ID/MT
  3. Richard Whitney of Local 4 CA

Delegates from Canada are entitled to elect three Vice Presidents. Those elected are:

  1. John Leonard of Local 1 NL
  2. Alan Ramsay of Local 1 AB
  3. Gerald Reinders of Local 8 NB

Women Members Make Their Mark on BAC150

BAC women have been working alongside their BAC brothers for at least three decades. Over that time, however, the number of women BAC members has not increased significantly. This Convention has demonstrated a firm resolve to change that going forward.

Delegate Lily Calderon, Local 21 IL bricklayer, worked in the fields of video, electrical, and carpentry before a training program for women introduced her to bricklaying nine years ago. “I was at the District Training Center and just fell in love with the trowel trades,” she says.

Delegate Yolanda Overstreet, Local 21 IL bricklayer, was a laborer and highway flagger who wanted something more. She entered the bricklayer apprentice program at her Local some 27 years ago and is happy she did. “I know people doing similar work who aren’t in the Union,” she says, “and for them there’s no reward or gratification. I have benefits, medical and dental, and I can look forward to a pension because I have the Union behind me.”

Brenda Cartino, Local 1 OR, was the first woman journey-level bricklayer in her Local and continues to be a trailblazer as a traveling refractory bricklayer.  Appreciative and proud of her appointment to participate in the Convention as a Sergeant-at-Arms, she deeply values BAC and the connections she’s made with her BAC brothers and sisters here in Baltimore.

Among the Convention guests are six BAC tradeswomen invited by the International Union.

Laurie Harris, Local 3 CA, bricklayer and PCC, has been a Union member for 28 years. Her grandfather and seven of her great-uncles were bricklayers, and masonry is in her blood. Harris was a teamster and cabinetmaker before finding her calling and rightful home at BAC.

Michele Riley, Local 2 MI, cement mason and PCC, was a UPS driver who was encouraged by a friend who is a bricklayer to give the Union a try. She joined BAC in 2002 and has never looked back.

Also in attendance at BAC 150 are Vanessa Casillas of Local 56 IL, Ruby Nieves of Local 1 NY, Leilani Omegna of Local 2 WA/ID/MT and Magan Smith of Local 8 SE.

A total of nine women members including two delegates and one Sergeant-at-Arms, share challenges and opportunities at a working lunch on Monday with IU officers. From left, Leilani Omegna of Local 2 WA/ID/MT, Yolanda Overstreet of Local 21 IL, Laurie Harris of Local 3 CA, Michele Riley of Local 2 MI, Lily Calderon of Local 21 IL, Vanessa Casillas of Local 56 IL, BAC Executive Vice President Tim Driscoll, AFL-CIO Deputy Director of Governance Organizational and Leadership Development, IMTEF National Apprenticeship and Training Director Bob Arnold, IMI President Joan Calambikidis, and Magan Smith of Local 8 SE.
A total of nine women members including two delegates and one Sergeant-at-Arms, share challenges and opportunities at a working lunch on Monday with IU officers. From left, Leilani Omegna of Local 2 WA/ID/MT, Yolanda Overstreet of Local 21 IL, Laurie Harris of Local 3 CA, Michele Riley of Local 2 MI, Lily Calderon of Local 21 IL, Vanessa Casillas of Local 56 IL, BAC Executive Vice President Tim Driscoll, AFL-CIO Deputy Director of Governance Organizational and Leadership Development, IMTEF National Apprenticeship and Training Director Bob Arnold, IMI President Joan Calambikidis, and Magan Smith of Local 8 SE.

Proving Themselves

Women in the trades sometimes face issues of gender. Women frequently have to prove their skills on the job to men who’ve never worked with women before.

Frequently the real barrier for BAC women is contractors. “The Union will stand with us and push,” says Calderon. “But contractors aren’t as accepting of women. They aren’t as open to change as the BAC.”

Women delegates and members toured the BAC/IMI Flynn Center in Bowie, MD. From left, Lily Calderon of Local 21 IL, Yolanda Overstreet of Local 21 IL, Michele Riley of Local 2 MI, and IMI Regional Director Terry Hays, and Laurie Harris of Local 3 CA.
Women delegates and members toured the BAC/IMI Flynn Center in Bowie, MD. From left, Lily Calderon of Local 21 IL, Yolanda Overstreet of Local 21 IL, Michele Riley of Local 2 MI, and IMI Regional Director Terry Hays, and Laurie Harris of Local 3 CA.

Harris agrees, but with 28 years under her belt and a specialty in restoration, she is often a foreman or foreperson on jobs, and it helps. She’s well-connected with contractors in the San Francisco Bay area. When asked to name something she would like fellow members and delegates to know about her, she replies, “I care about this Union. It’s not just a job. It’s about skill and trade. It’s my way to raise my family. It changed my life.”

“Contractors are afraid that because you’re a woman your work won’t be as good and you’ll cost them,” says Overstreet. “But once contractors know your abilities,” getting placed on jobs “is easier.”  She adds, “I share the same struggles as those working next to me. I have the responsibility of raising my children and I want to see the Union stay strong and keep the non-union from taking BAC jobs.”

At this Convention, on jobsites, and in the union hall, BAC women members are making their mark and will continue to do so in greater numbers.

Workshops Face Today’s Challenges

Meeting rooms turned classrooms for BAC 150 Convention workshops were jam-packed Wednesday with delegates dedicated to building an ever stronger Union. As BAC enters its 16th decade, we’re using every available tool to mobilize and build coalitions with partners in the labor and community movements.

Community-Based Organizing

Leaders from labor and worker advocacy groups led a spirited workshop on organizing labor from the ground up. Jobs With Justice (JWJ) Campaign Organizer Natalie Patrick-Knox and Organizer Carlos Jimenez, presented details of strategies and campaigns used to shape the public discourse on workers’ rights. JWJ’s POWER campaign—Protect Our Workers from Exploitation & Retaliation—does just that.

The campaign provides strategic support for workers when management tries to squash organizing efforts. Employers often use threats of immigrant deportation to undermine wages and working conditions. In one success story, non-union painters bargained for back-pay and union elections.

From left, Carlos Jimenez and Natalie Patrick-Knox of JWJ, Partnership for Working Families Executive Director Nikki Fortunato Bas, IU Organizer Francis Jacobberger, and IU Director of Organizing Steve Nelms.
From left, Carlos Jimenez and Natalie Patrick-Knox of JWJ, Partnership for Working Families Executive Director Nikki Fortunato Bas, IU Organizer Francis Jacobberger, and IU Director of Organizing Steve Nelms.

The Partnership for Working Families is also building coalitions of labor and community to support worker organizing. The group is building partnerships around local minimum wage laws and working with researchers in occupational health and environmental justice to address injuries and fatalities among recycling workers.

BAC Makes History

History doesn’t lie, but big business often does. Understanding labor’s past is therefore essential to mobilizing in the present. Drs. Sam White and Jessica Ice of West Virginia University’s Institute for Labor Studies and Research presented the first of two modules, still in the drafting stage, that will eventually make up a series of a dozen modules, each focusing on specific aspects of labor and BAC history. The modules will be available online for use by members, Locals/ADCs and apprentice classes beginning later this year.

One module looks at the fight to protect workers from the dangers of exposure to silica dust. As far back as the 1920s it was well established that dust from stone cutting was known to cause lung disease, but industry pushed back.

For almost a century, BAC has been at the forefront of the national movement, joined by worker and health and safety advocates, to limit silica dust exposure. OSHA’s proposed silica standard, published two years ago, is expected to be made final, according to Jordan Barab, who spoke to the Comvention on Tuesday, by late 2016. Says BAC President James Boland, “It’s long overdue but a critical and necessary step toward ensuring the safety of BAC members, along with millions of other workers, on the jobsite and we’re committed to see this through to its adoption.”

The other module presented is called “The History of the Open Shop”, which underscored the point that “right to work” laws are nothing new. The National Association of Manufacturers established “open shop” principles in 1904, and BAC fought back. The fight still continues and has intensified since the 1980s and the recent Great Recession. BAC rightly calls these laws “right to work for less,” and will continue to lead the fight against these and other anti-worker, anti-union measures.

Heritage on Display

Business Agent Badge, Local 1 NY
Business Agent Badge, Local 1 NY

The Heritage on Display’s connections radiate far and wide. From upstate New York, we have an antique hawk from the 1880s, donated by Local 2 NY/VT Vice Chairman Dale Stehlin, that was used in the construction of the Adirondack Inn in Sacandaga, a famous getaway for New York City vacationers. Completed in 1888, the Inn had rooms for 250 guests, and even boasted an elevator, a true rarity at that time. Sadly, ten years after its construction, the inn caught fire and was destroyed. Also from Local 2, courtesy of Secretary-Treasurer Pat Tirino, is a journeyman’s card from 1869 and Governor Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Lifetime Membership card in our Union!

And speaking of New York City, another wonderful item on display is a Business Agent Badge from Brooklyn – donated by Jerry Sullivan, Jr., President of Local 1 NY. The badge belonged to Brother Sullivan’s late father, Jeremiah Sullivan, Sr., Vice President of Local 1 NY. In the early 1900s, union representatives often wore badges to identify themselves on jobsites.

From the New Jersey ADC, we have a BM&P Local 33 Seal from 1898 and an antique, homemade raking tool, along with a number of cement tools including a cork float tool and chalk line from the 1940s.

Thanks again to all of our supporting Locals and ADCs.

2015 Convention Sergeant-at-Arms

Appointed by the IU Executive Board, Convention Sergeants-at-Arms are charged with maintaining order in the hall during Convention general sessions and during the election of IU officers, should one be necessary. Under the direction of BAC Executive Vice President Gerard Scarano, assisted by Chief Sergeant-at-Arms Jack Argila, the 2015 Sergeant-at-Arms team has done an outstanding job.

Front row, from left: Joe McSorley of the NJ ADC, Brenda Cartino of Pacific NW ADC, BAC Executive Vice President Gerard Scarano, Doug Severson of SD ADC, and Doug Johnston of ADC 1 of IL. 2nd row, from left: Matt Eleazer of Pacific NW ADC, Jack Argila of Local 1 NY, Shaw Herzog of OH-KY ADC, Bruce Nagel of ADC 1 of IL, Brian Jennewein of E. MO ADC, Stan Paczynski of Local 1 MN/ND, and Jim Fialkowski of ADC 1 of IL.
Front row, from left: Joe McSorley of the NJ ADC, Brenda Cartino of Pacific NW ADC, BAC Executive Vice President Gerard Scarano, Doug Severson of SD ADC, and Doug Johnston of ADC 1 of IL. 2nd row, from left: Matt Eleazer of Pacific NW ADC, Jack Argila of Local 1 NY, Shaw Herzog of OH-KY ADC, Bruce Nagel of ADC 1 of IL, Brian Jennewein of E. MO ADC, Stan Paczynski of Local 1 MN/ND, and Jim Fialkowski of ADC 1 of IL.