6 minute read

News in Brief

BAC Executive Council: Empowering Workers in Our Trades

Expanding our union’s ability to improve the lives of workers engaged in our trades was the theme of the BAC Executive Council’s March meeting in Miami Beach, FL. To enhance members’ ability to provide for their families and enrich their communities, “we need to engage in conscious planning that strategically and methodically produces growth in membership, contractors, and work opportunities for BAC members,” BAC President Tim Driscoll said during his opening remarks. “The International Union will focus its efforts in the coming year on four primary functions: organizing, training, public advocacy, and industry advancement.”

Advertisement

The BAC Executive Council members were provided with updates from the IU departments and reports from each region. They also heard from a line of inspiring guest speakers, including Martin Helms, Executive Director of Helmets to Hardhats; Amy Walker, national editor for The Cook Political Report; Jon Soltz, Chairman of VoteVets; Anthony Shelton, International President of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM); and James Skretta and Arjae Rebmann of Starbucks Workers United.

Four retired members of the Executive Council were recognized for their service to the union’s highest advisory body: former Wisconsin Administrative District Council Director Gary Burns, former President of Local 2 Michigan Chuck Kukawka, former Secretary-Treasurer of Local 2 Michigan Nelson McMath, and former Vice President of Local 1 New York Zach Winbush.

The labor-management and craft committees also met for the first time in three years since the Covid pandemic. These meetings addressed how signatory contractors and the union can continue to work together to grow BAC membership, union contractor base, and market share. Speakers from the industry included Paul Hart, Vice President of Product Marketing and Data Innovation at ConstructConnect; Peter Cappelli, the George W. Taylor Professor of Management at The Wharton School and Director of Wharton’s Center for Human Resources; and Mike Clancy, Partner at FMI. Topics discussed during these presentations covered the construction economy, membership recruitment and retention, and contractors’ succession planning. //

Arjae Rebmann, right, and James Skretta of Starbucks Workers United speaking to the Executive Council. “There is no shortcut around teaching workers what their class interests are and being able to get them to understand, on a personal level, why a union is something that they want to fight for,” said Arjae Rebmann, whose grandfather was a bricklayer and lifetime BAC member. BCTGM International President Anthony Shelton was one of the keynote speakers at the BAC Winter Executive Council meeting. “I want to thank all the BAC members who came out to the strike line and helped us…That labor solidarity is one of the ways that we won these strikes,” President Shelton said.

New Leaders Hone Their Organizing Skills

After two years of meeting virtually, the International Union’s New Leaders Program was relaunched at the Maritime Institute of Technology and Graduate Studies (MITAGS) in Linthicum Heights, Maryland on May 1–5. As one of the IU’s keystone educational programs, the meeting serves as a comprehensive orientation for newly appointed or elected Local/ADC officers and staff.

Twenty-two new leaders from across the country spent the five-day intensive training sessions learning the union’s core functions, our organizing plans and strategies, and hands-on skills to tackle their daily tasks. The program’s more than 20 sessions are designed to familiarize participants with the IU programs, resources, and personnel. Organizing was the week's main focus.

“I’m really honored to be a part of this tradition,” said BAC Interim Organizing Director Luciano Padilla, who was the lead instructor. “This was a great opportunity for the new leaders to learn from one another, share experiences and successes, and develop relationships they will utilize throughout their careers.”

BAC Local 4 California Secretary-Treasurer Andy Gerber agreed, saying the program was “informative, productive, and fun…It provided a chance for new leaders throughout the different regions of the country to get to know each other and bond.”

“We were able to share ideas and relate to one another,” he continued. “I got a lot out of it and will use the experience to help me in this journey moving forward.”

“After gaining experience, all of the new leaders will mentor future new organizers at some point. This is the key to keeping our union strong,” Padilla concluded. //

The 2022 class of BAC New Leaders Program. From left, Dan Kuczkowski and Ernesto Garcia of ADC 1 of IL, BAC Executive Vice President Jerry Sullivan, Jordan Mondragon of Local 3 CA, Angela Henderson of Local 1 WA/AK, Jeremy Zackula of Local 15 MO/KS/NE, Paul Mooneyham of Local 5 OK/AR/TX, BAC President Tim Driscoll, David Calderon of Local 3 CA, Anthony Bobo of Eastern MO ADC, Dean Gottschalk of ADC 1 of IL, Esteban Carrion of Local 1 NY, Andy Jorgensen of ADC of WI, Allen Pennypacker of Local 5 PA, Sean Griffin of Local 2 MI, Adalberto Villalpando of ADC 1 of IL, Scott Wooldridge and Jeff Hays of Local 4 IN/ KY, Andrew Gerber of Local 4 CA, Jhon Sanchez of Local 8 Southeast, Jeremiah Hutson of Local 5 PA, Lowell Glodowski of Local 1 WA/AK, Manny Enriquez of Local 3 CA, William Becker of Local 5 PA, and BAC Secretary-Treasurer Bob Arnold.

VIRTUAL EVENT EXPLORES OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES TRADE WOMEN FACE

BAC women members from the US and Canada attended a webinar hosted by North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU) on March 5, in lieu of last year’s canceled Tradeswomen Build Nations Conference (TWBN).

The webinar, “Women Empowerment in Union Construction,” featured opening remarks from NABTU President Sean McGarvey and LeanIn.org Founder Sheryl Sandberg, followed by three panels for attendees to choose from. The recorded webinar can be viewed for free at: https://nabtu.org/twbnwinter-webinar “Participation in Tradeswomen Build Nations is a milestone for many women in the trades,” said Liliana Calderon, BAC Executive Council and Local 21 IL member. “Union tradeswomen build relationships and learn from shared experiences."

The next in-person Tradeswomen Build Nations conference is scheduled for October 28-30 in Las Vegas, NV. More information of the conference can be found at: https://nabtu. org/twbn //

Executive Vice President Carlos Aquin Retires

International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Executive Vice President Carlos Aquin retired in April 2022. He served on the IU’s Executive Board for over five years, after being appointed in January 2017.

Brother Aquin, a second-generation BAC marble mason, became a member of BAC Local 4 California in 1996 after having honorably served his country in the United States Marine Corp. In time he relocated to Nevada and worked on numerous high profile projects in Las Vegas as a member of BAC Local 13 Nevada.

He took leadership roles as Local 13’s Compliance Officer in 2004, Secretary-Treasurer in 2005 and President in 2006. Prior to joining the IU Executive Board, Aquin was also the Director of the BAC Mountain West ADC. He also served on the IU Executive Council for nearly 10 years.

“Brother Aquin is a dedicated trade unionist who ably served BAC throughout his career at both the local and IU. We wish him all the best in his retirement,” said BAC President Tim Driscoll. //

Retiring Executive Vice President Carlos Aquin

BAC Members Participate in World of Concrete 2022

Members from BAC and IMI/IMTEF participated in the 2022 World of Concrete in Las Vegas on January 17-19. The three-day event brought in 37,000 attendees and 1,100 exhibitors.

During the Masonry Skills Challenge at the World of Concrete, BAC apprentices showcased their talents and took five out of nine top placements.

Awards were presented to the top three apprentices in each of the three skill levels. First-year apprentices Frank Kocjancic of BAC Local 9 Pennsylvania and Sebastian Fernandez of BAC Local 5 OK/AR/TX won 1st and 2nd places respectively. Kurtis Sutter of BAC Local 3 Ohio placed 3rd in the second-year level. In the thirdyear level, Josh Rehme of BAC Local 1 MO and Marco Antonio Suruy of BAC Local 21 IL took 1st and 3rd places. //

The winners of the annual Masonry Skills Challenge at the 2022 World of Concrete.