Update From The Receiver September 2018

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Welcome to the newly redesigned website of Local 2 of Washington, Idaho, and Montana. This new website should provide improved communications to our members, contractors, and the public. A simple resource to stay well versed on news, events and actions you can take to strengthen our trade.

In the spirit of providing up-to-date communications, I present to you an update on where we stand in the receivership, and more broadly, where things stand with the Pacific Northwest Administrative District Council and Local 2 WA/ID/MT.

You’ll remember that following President Boland’s decision to place the District Council and Local 2 into receivership, a hearing was held on May 19, 2018 to determine whether the receivership should be continued. Based on the facts on the ground, as well as the unanimous testimony of members who attended the hearing, President Boland ordered that the receivership be continued.

Meanwhile, with the help of the District Council staff, we dug right into the regular work of the union. One of our biggest challenges has been revitalizing the apprenticeship and training program here in Seattle so that it best serves the industry and our newest brothers and sisters in the trade. We got started by expanding our training offerings. On May 15, 2018 we adopted a training budget that kept instructors for all crafts working through the summer – a change from past years, during which all instructors were laid off in the summer – to ensure that we could continue to recruit new apprentices and get them through the pre-apprentice program.

At the same time, we focused on beefing up our recruitment efforts. We made a significant financial and resource commitment to apprentice and improver recruitment by investing in a cutting-edge recruitment campaign. And we further worked with the contractor trustees on the JATC and Trust to eliminate the initial wage periods for brick and tile apprentices – meaning that while apprentices will still need the same related training and on-the-job hours they’ve always needed to journey out, they’ll start at a higher wage. That immediately made our crafts significantly more attractive to young people who know they want to go into construction, but who haven’t decided which trade to pursue.

The leadership of the apprenticeship program has changed, as well. When Seattle apprentice coordinator Jim Charest retired in June, labor and management trustees immediately promoted Lowell Gladowski – a 20-year member, Job Corps graduate, and former signatory contractor – to the Coordinator position. Lowell is respected by both the labor and management trustees, and I’m impressed by his natural rapport with the apprentices themselves.

Of course, organizing and growth is probably the central focus of the receivership. We need to grow our membership to keep up with the demand for skilled craftworkers – and we always need to try and sign non-union contractors. So, I’m pleased that all our representatives have been receiving training that will help them organize more effectively. Our rank-and-file Organizing Committee continues to meet, led by Cordell Fischer. If you’d like to join the organizing committee, simply contact the union hall and attend the next scheduled organizing committee meeting.

Here at the Union Hall, Jesse Sanden and Cordell Fischer have both stepped up to the challenge of working with me through the many obstacles faced in a receivership. Jesse and Cordell have gone through the trainings that we’ve providing, and they’ve taken what they’ve learned and implemented it into their jobs. Both are willing to do what is needed to get the Local Union on the right path.

In early July, I hired Matthew Bilyeu, a 15-year member of Local 2 W/ID/MT, as our new District Council organizer in Seattle. It’s a tough job, and there’s a lot to learn, but Matthew is stepping up and getting the work done.

As Matthew was getting his feet on the ground, Benny Wright resigned as a field representative of the District Council in late July. We were surprised by Benny’s decision, but of course respect his decision to go back to working with the tools; on behalf of the District Council, I want to publicly thank Benny for his service to the union. We are evaluating how to best replace Benny, but in the meantime, Cordell, Jesse Sanden, and Matthew have done an admirable job of filling in on short notice.

The US Department of Labor is currently conducting a prevailing wage survey in the State of Washington. This means that the Department is asking contractors for information about the wages they pay, so that the Department can determine whether work on federally funded jobs must be paid at the union rate, or some lower rate. Of course, this is a big deal for us; we want the prevailing rate to equal the union rate for all our crafts in every county in the state. So, our representatives have been working hard to make sure that every single union contractor in the state participates in the survey.

Construction work continues to be extraordinarily strong in the region. South Lake Union and the Downtown Seattle core continue to be growing, The Convention Center project, the 1.4 Billion Dollar expansion of Sound Transit, the multibillion-dollar Microsoft Campus renovation and expansion, and the Airport Expansion work continue to provide a robust construction market.

So, if you’re not working today, and you want to work, call the hall and we’ll get you on a job. And if you’ve got a friend or relative who wants to join the union – with or without experience – there’s never been a better time. We can put journeymen and improvers to work tomorrow and can get new apprentices started in pre-job training in a matter of days.

Now that I’ve settled in a bit, I plan to visit more jobs – both in Seattle and the rest of the Council. I hope to meet you, either on a job or at a union meeting, in the very near future. Of course, don’t hesitate to reach out by phone if you need to talk sooner. And whatever you do, work safe, and take pride in yourselves as the best hands in the business.

Sincerely and fraternally,
Thomas F. McIntyre
Pacific Northwest Administrative District Council
Local 2 WA/ID/MT
[email protected]