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SUMMER 2007

VOLUME 11

NO. 1

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A MAGAZINE FOR NEW JERSEY LABORERS

UNION UNION

2.0 2 .0 Technology drives Union in new directions


c o n t e n t s

8 LaborNET is a publication of the New Jersey Laborers’-Employers’ Cooperation and Education Trust and the New Jersey Laborers’Employers’ Health and Safety Fund. Please address all mail to the magazine at 104 Interchange Plaza, 3rd Floor, Monroe Twp., NJ 08831 or email at roblew@njlaborers.org.

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NEW JERsEY EY LabORER ORERs’-Emp s’-EmpLOYER LOYERss’ LOYER COOpERaT a iON aT ON a aND ND EDUC DUCaT a iON aT ON TRU RUsTT CO-CHaiRm mEN Raymond M. Pocino, Vice President and Eastern Regional Manager, LIUNA J. Fletcher Creamer, Jr., President, J. Fletcher Creamer, Jr. & Son, Inc. Lab abOR OR TRU TRUsTEEss E. Frank DiAntonio DiAntoni Business Manager, Local 172 Ralph Gianfrancesco Gianfrancesc Business Manager, CNJBLDC Donald Hibbs Hibb Secretary-Treasurer, Local 472 ma aGE maNa GEm mENT TRUsTEEss Robert Epifano, President, Epic Inc.

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Jack Kocsis, CEO, BCANJ Brian Tobin Executive Director, AGC of NJ NEW JERsEY EY LabORERs ORERs’-Emp ’-EmpLOYER LOYERs’ s’ HEaLTH aND ND saf safETY ETY fUND CO-CHai aiRm mEN Raymond M. Pocino Pocino, Vice President and Eastern Regional Manager, LIUNA J. Fletcher Creamer, Jr., President, J. Fletcher Creamer, Jr. & Son, Inc. Lab abOR OR TRUssTEE TEEss José Colon Business Manager, SNJBLDC Mike Urgola Business Manager, Local 1153

Jack Kocsis, CEO, BCANJ Brian Tobin Executive Director, AGC of NJ

Government Relations Director Directo Steven Gardner Health and safety afety assistant ssistant Director Ken Hoffner alliance lliance for Competitive Contracting Director Lou Sancio Communications Director Robert Lewandowski administrator dministrator Kamille M. Caufield

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Around the state

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UnIon 2.0

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caution: Hard Hat Area

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Legislation: new Prevailing Wage Law Makes Penalties stick Against crooked contractors

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new Law Applies Prevailing Wage to Public Private Partnership

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contractor Associations Advance Industry– Promote Labor-Management cooperation

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the Difference Makers

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news from the General President

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Proud to be a Unionist

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KNOWLEDGE

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What is the maximum allowed fall distance into a safety net?

scaffolds caffolds must be at least ___ feet from live overhead uninsulated power lines.

a. 6 feet b. 10 feet

a. 3 feet b. 5 feet

C. 15 feet D. 30 feet

sTaff T Taff NJ LECET / Health and safety afety Director Directo Joseph A. McNamara

news from the chairman

CHECK YOUR

Pat Viola, Business Manager, Local 592 ma GEmENT TRUsTEEs maNaGE TEEs Robert Epifano, President, Epic Inc.

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C. 8 feet D. 10 feet

How many workers can tie to a vertical lifeline that is not an elevator shaft?

What type fire extinguisher is used to put out an electrical fire?

a. 1 worker b. 2 workers

a. Class a b. Class b

C. 4 workers D. as many as it can hold

floor loor covers must support over ___ times the maximum intended load. a. 2 times b. 3 times

C. 4 times D. 10 times

C. Class C D. Class D

an n excavation of ___ feet or greater requires that an exit be provided. The means of egress must be within ___ feet of every worker. a. 4; 20 C. 5; 20 b. 4; 25 D. 5; 25 Answers on page 15


NEWS from the Chairman

MAKInG oUR WAY In tHe 21st centURY

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

aggressive! passive! One word conjures up images of action, vitality, confidence, a willingness to deal forcefully with change and to actively confront and overcome all obstacles. The other connotes resignation, acceptance, even lethargy, a willingness to acquiesce and timidly submit to the status quo, whether good or bad. Which of these two attributes do you want in your union and union leadership? That’s easy to answer! Of course you want leadership that recognizes that changing times and conditions require new ideas and fresh approaches to conducting business. Those unions that want to survive in 21st Century America must be willing to think and act “outside the box” when circumstances call for it. In today’s highly competitive market environment, it’s either adapt or die. Clearly, our Laborers International Union has determined that we want to grow and prosper in this new century. It’s evident in our decision to join the Change to Win coalition and to leave the National Building & Construction Trades Department and form the National Construction alliance, a coalition of construction trades unions. We acted because we saw that the influence and appeal of trade unionism was ebbing away, and that the organizational structures we had in place were not equipped to prevent it. As you will read in the pages of this publication, our determination is also evident in our willingness to work with our employers through labor-management cooperatives to expand union market share and increase job opportunities for both our members and signatory contractors. The old ways of union-management strife and hostility simply don’t work anymore – if they ever did. There’s no question that our futures are intertwined, and that for one party to be prosperous, both must succeed. Our determination to adapt to new ways of conducting business is further evident in LIUNA’s willingness to form public-private partnerships and to even consider the privatization of public resources, if it will relieve budgetary constraints and stimulate economic development. In states like New Jersey, where poor spending practices have led to a growing mountain of debt and placed an untenable burden on taxpayers, such transactions may be necessary to avoid a total shut-down of government services and programs. One proposal being considered is the monetization of state assets such as the state’s three toll roads. Governor Corzine recently released his Core Principles on Asset Monetization which includes, among other features, the promise to leave unchanged the terms and conditions for current employees and contractors; allows any proceeds generated through monetization to be used only for infrastructure investment and/or retiring state debt; and guarantees that state roadways will not be sold or leased to a for-profit or foreign operator. I sincerely hope our state’s legislators will not use this issue as a political football, to stoke the flames of alarm, and use half truths and misleading statements to create mayhem. It is a sobering fact that our state is in financial ruin, and without bold ideas like monetization, our industry, and indeed our state, may collapse under its financial burdens. The time for leadership is now. Finally, our Laborers Union membership must be willing to play a crucial role in this new and aggressive way of doing business by continually fine-tuning their skills through advanced training and updating their certifications and licensures. Regardless of what the International and local unions are willing to do to pursue and create job opportunities, it will all be for naught if our individual members aren’t willing to keep abreast of changing technologies, regulations and market conditions.

Sincerely and Fraternally,

Raymond M. Pocino Vice President and Eastern Regional Manager, LIUNA

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In the end, our Laborers Union won’t be able to sell itself, unless we have the best product to sell. Our membership is that product and our most valuable resource. We must all act aggressively to protect and maintain our status as the most skilled and productive workforce in the construction industry. It’s the price we pay to be the best!

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Union Since its inception in 1903, LIUNA has turned to its political and organizing activism as key sources of influence and power. Yet as technology redefines every inch of American culture, the union is turning to new media like the World Wide Web, e-mail, text messaging, and cell phones as the new tools of unionism. According to a scientific survey conducted recently, 70 percent of all Laborers have e-mail and check it at least twice a week. Cell phones are holstered on most every citizen, and according to The Economist magazine, nearly 45 percent of cell phone owners have text messaged in the last month, with the figure expected to rise significantly over the next few years. With these facts and more in mind, the union is reevaluating its approach and utilizing technology to offer more effective services and more efficient messages. Said Rob Lewandowski, communications director for NJ LECET, “we aren’t about changing the habits of 25,000 members to meet the union’s needs, rather we are about altering the operations of one union to better serve and relate to our 25,000 members.”

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One of the most significant changes has been the development of a centralized relational database, Cyberbase, which contains more than 10 million fields of information on members, contractors, and projects. Developed exclusively for the Laborers’ Eastern Region, the information can be updated and accessed by the union’s many operational arms on an as-needed basis. Its development has solved a problem that almost every other union still struggles with: maintaining accurate and useful information and knowing how to use it effectively.

The benefits of such a system are endless. Cyberbase can with a press of a button send out reminder notices for members needing training recertification; it can track contractor benefit contributions; and can produce targeted information based on geography, interests and skills sets. Laborers 325 dispatcher Greg Haines is a fan of Cyberbase. “Under the old system, if a contractor called for a worker with, say scaffold builder certification, I would have to fax our out-of-work list to the training center, who would pull files to find an eligible laborer, then four hours, six hours later, I’d dispatch a member. A whole day sometimes lost in the process. “ “Now, when I need that same skill, I can narrow my search to ‘scaffold builder certified’ members, and, in an instance, Cyberbase will display, in order, certified workers on the out-of-work list,” said Haines.

Activism expanded and enhanced Just as in the beginning, political and organizing campaigns remain critical elements of unionism. Yet even these campaigns look markedly different from in the past. “We are in the process of creating something akin to a virtual union hall,” said Lewandowski, the NJ LECET communications director. “It can be a place where members can, among other things, support an organizing campaign by signing an online petition; learn about, and maybe


Web 2.0 Collection of technologies, like RSS feeds, blogs, and more, that leverages the power of always on, high-speed connections and treats broadband as a platform, and not just a pipe to connect. Union 2.0 An organization that harnesses the power of new technologies to connect with members, provide better service, and create community.

2.0 someday even take training online; obtain personal information including pension credits and annuity values; and become a more active member of the union. “When our only interaction with the membership is at a monthly meeting, on a weekday night when members are tired, we are failing to build strong bonds with our members and are losing opportunities for action,” said José Colon, business manager of the Southern New Jersey Building Laborers’ District Council and a strong advocate for technology. An online presence allows us to not only talk to our members, but with them as well, creating communities and dialogue not easily feasible in our line of work.” Online, either through e-mails or posted on web sites, members can log-on, learn, and lend a hand to their union, 24-hours a day. NJ LECET Director Joseph McNamara used an example of the advantages, “If over the course of three days, just five percent of our members responded to an e-mail and asked a local congressman to support laborer-friendly legislation, that would mean the congressman would receive one thousand e-mails— a powerful message, done quickly at virtually no cost.”

elements that allow people to sign petitions and send confidential information, www.shayaiscoming.com has helped expand the Laborers’ organizing campaign to include people not normally aligned with union interests. “We have a varied group of visitors to our site, from residents around Boymelgreen developments; current, prospective, and former tenants; other real estate developers and real estate bloggers; former employees, and a whole host of other people who found us through search engines and shared links,” said Johnson. Beyond the additional sets of eyes reading LIUNA-provided online information, and the extra voices chiming in at the union’s request, the Internet also gives information a longer shelf-life than traditional protest packets, and increases the union’s reach. The Union has received messages from people from every continent except Antarctica and the online information will be readily available for months, maybe years, to come. “Now that we have created the infrastructure for activism web sites, you can bet we will be doing more of it,” said Johnson. But he is quick to caution that the increased use of technology will not replace traditional means of activism, but will supplement ongoing activities.

mOViNG fORWaRD The union is realistic about its immediate expectations but is optimistic about its future and the promise technology holds. As the world changes, the New Jersey Laborers Union is changing right along with it. “Some people see this initiative as being about computers, but that couldn’t be further from the truth,” said NJ LECET’s Lewandowski. “This is really about people and how to better serve them.”

ORGaNiziNG’s NEW TOOL w w w. n j l a b o re rs. o rg

For LEROF Director Dave Johnson, online activism is already reaping benefits. Recently, LEROF launched www.shayaiscoming.com, an advocacy web site which provides information on an irresponsible developer targeted by the Union, Shaya Boymelgreen. With more information than can be provided on a handbill, links to primary sources of information, and interactive

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Hard hats keeps us safe, but they also allow us to show off a bit of our personalities. LaborNET traveled the state to see how Laborers personalize their hard hats.

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LEGISLATION

W hy is this guy new Prevailing Wage Law makes penalties stick For Lou Sancio, director of the New Jersey Alliance for Competitive Contracting or ACC, watching debarred contractors head to work each morning can be a case study in frustration. “I chase after these guys for months. I interview their employees, pull their payroll records, and prove without a doubt that they are willingly evading the state’s prevailing wage laws,” said Sancio with a sigh. Recognizing the unfair advantage prevailing wage cheats have over their law abiding competition, Sancio and the ACC have developed a comprehensive system to monitor prevailing wage projects and catch unscrupulous contractors. w w w. n j l a b o re rs. o rg

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When the ACC finds irregularities, it shares the information with the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (DOL). The department then conducts their own investigation which often leads to contractor penalties, and in the most egregious cases, being debarred from performing public work, sometimes for up to three years. But for Sancio, catching bad guys in the act isn’t the frustrating part; it’s what happens afterwards.

Rather than folding up their tents and closing shop, contractors often establish a new company, sometimes with the same crew, same equipment, same office and even same phone number. A contractor is barred from public work, but by establishing a dummy corporation, they are back performing public work within months. “This is called setting up an alter ego company,” said Sancio. “Break the law, get punished, no problem; just establish a new company under another name with some minor modifications of top management.” Ironically, New Jersey has what is considered the toughest prevailing wage laws in the country. NJ LECET has long played an active role in strengthening and broadening the prevailing wage statutes, including, among other things, requiring contractors performing public work to be registered with the DOL. Once again, NJ LECET worked with state officials to remedy the prevailing wage issue of alter ego companies.


NEW LaW appLiEs pREVaiLiNG WaGE TO pUbLiC pRiVaTE paRTNERsHip Acting Governor Richard Codey signed into law on April 25, 2007, legislation that mandates the payment of prevailing wages for privately funded construction projects on public property. Known informally as the (Lend Lease Act), the new law clarifies a legal ambiguity in which public construction is financed and performed solely by private entities. In July of last year, the New Jersey Attorney General’s office issued a legal opinion stating that, under current statutes, this type of construction did not qualify for prevailing wage protection. Recognizing the irreparable harm such wage eroding policies could have on the construction industry, NJ LECET joined forces with the New Jersey Building Construction Trades Council and the Building Contractors Association of New Jersey, to advance legislation that closed this dangerous loophole and brought the policy in line with the changing face of public construction.

so happy? against crooked contractors Under legislation recently signed into law by Acting Governor Richard Codey, debarred contractors will have a harder time reconstituting their business under another name. The new law also empowers the Department of Labor and Workforce Development to immediately suspend a contractor that faces revocation of their registration due to serious or willful violations of the prevailing wage laws. “The new law closes a big loophole used by unscrupulous contractors,” Sancio explained. “Now, a debarred contractor is truly debarred.”

Sancio, couldn’t agree more, but added an addendum to the Senator’s comments. “If you want to work for the people’s money, you’d better run a clean operation. And if you don’t, we at the ACC will catch you. Thanks to this bill, the state now has the full force of the law to make the penalties stick.”

“This legislation aligns the new means of financing and performing public construction, with the original intent of the state’s prevailing wage laws,” said NJ LECET Director Joseph McNamara. Prevailing wage laws were established in 1913 to ensure competitive bids are based on productivity and fair profit margins, and not the undercutting of workers’ wages. The laws were originally drafted in response to the destabilization of the local construction industry as a result of the influx of itinerant workers. Set by the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, prevailing wage rates reflect area standards and have helped attract and retain a productive and reliable workforce. According to McNamara, the most encouraging facet of the new legislation is that it removes from discussion a serious threat to union wages. “As discussions continue between elected officials regarding public private partnerships, we are pleased with the fact that state leaders recognize the value of prevailing wages to New Jersey and have worked to ensure the law is applied to new forms of public construction.”

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At the April 26th bill signing, State Senator Ellen Karcher, a cosponsor of the Senate version of the legislation, was emphatic in the message she wanted to deliver to prevailing wage cheats, “if you want to work for the people’s money, you’d better run a clean operation.”

While instances of lend-lease construction, just one form of what is known as public private partnerships (PPPs), have thus far been rare, it is expected to become a more common occurrence, most notably in higher education construction and transportation. With the state’s public debt exceeding $33 billion, the fourth highest nationally, the state has few choices with which to pay for capital projects, and will likely turn to private funding. Already, Governor Jon Corzine has signaled a willingness to consider public private partnerships, including monetizing the state’s toll roads such as the New Jersey Turnpike. Other sectors of government from school districts and local governments are also exploring the use of PPPs.

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Contractor associations advance industry; promote Labor-management Cooperation

assOCiaTED ia iaTED GENERaL CONTRaCTORs Of NEW JERsEY The Associated General Contractors of New Jersey (AGCNJ) was chartered in May 1936 by a handful of progressive highway contractors who had the foresight to realize that only in unity could they meet the challenges that lay ahead. As the organization evolved through the years, AGCNJ has taken that commitment to unity to another level–establishing with the Laborers, a strong bond dedicated to working on issues of mutual interest.

With friends Unlike many other industries, construction has a certain instability weaved into the fabric of the business. a construction company is only successful if it first, receives work and second, delivers a quality product and service when it does. it is a never ending competitive cycle for contractors, many of whom enter into the business with the sole interest in building things; but soon learn that market development, personnel, financial, and equipment and supply issues consume much of their time.

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Thankfully for them, many of these contractors turn to industry associations for the services they need. Three of the best, all whom have strong working relationships with the New Jersey Laborers Union, are featured here. more than names on letterhead, these associations, among other things, play a critical role in unifying labor and management interests so that job opportunities are plentiful, workers are trained, and job sites are safe and healthy. LaborNET salutes its signatory contractor associations.

“We are proud to claim that 100 percent of our contractor members are union,” said AGCNJ Executive Director Brian Tobin. “It is through the union trades that our contractors are able to remain productive and competitive, and the Laborers are leading the way.” Perhaps the strong working relationship between LIUNA and AGCNJ can be attributed to the leadership of the 70-member organization’s former Executive Director Richard Forman. “Dick started in this industry as training director of Laborers Local 172 in Trenton, and I think that experience helped shape his attitudes toward labormanagement cooperation,” said Raymond M. Pocino, who as a training fund trustee voted to hire Forman. Increasing market share remains a constant pursuit for both the union and AGCNJ. Through the years, labor and management have sat on the same side of the table advocating for investments in infrastructure, improved standards for construction, and working together to deliver safety and skills training. “The interesting thing about our industry is that labor and management’s destinies are inextricably linked,” said Tobin. “It’s really easy for employers and employees to demonize the other as the bad guy, but Ray Pocino won’t let that happen. Under his tenure, labor management cooperation has sharpened and broadened its scope so that whether it is issues of training, safety, business development, or the political process, we enter the arena united and, more often than not, leave victorious.”


bUiLDiNG CONTRaCTORs assOCiaT ia iON Of NEW JERsEY iaT When one works with an organization like the Building Contractors Association of New Jersey (BCANJ) for as long and as often as the New Jersey Laborers Union does, it becomes hard not to feel a certain kinship with the state’s premier building construction association.

UTiLiTY TY aND TRaNspORTa ORTaT ORTa aTiON CONTRaCTORs assOCiaT ia iON iaT Of NEW JERsEY

“On almost a daily basis, I am in touch with [BCANJ CEO] Jack Kocsis, following up on an issue we

Robert A. Briant, Jr. has been an athlete his whole life which is probably why the concept of teamwork is so important to him. As chief executive officer of the Utility and Transportation Contractors Association of New Jersey UTCA/NJ, Briant serves a membership of approximately 1,100 contractors and associate members and knows that working together almost always works best.

discussed earlier, strategizing about the future of our industry, or just touching base,” said NJ LECET Director Joseph McNamara. “Our partnership between NJ LECET and BCANJ is so seamless that sometimes it’s hard to decipher where one organization ends and the other begins.” McNamara is proud to have that type of relationship with all the contractor associations, and thinks it is key to everyone’s success.

“Legislatively, we’ve developed a great relationship with the Laborers Union,” said Briant. “On issues that matter to my members—renewing the Transportation Trust Fund, dedicating the state’s gas tax to transportation capital projects and increasing wastewater and water funding through the Environmental Infrastructure Trust, for instance—we’ve worked side-by-side with the Laborers’ Union and it has made a real difference.”

Kocsis believes the most valuable function of labormanagement cooperatives is to enable both parties to come together and interact away from the bargaining table. “By working closely together on issues of common interest, we can better understand the others’ needs and objectives,” he notes. “This, in turn, makes it easier to negotiate mutually acceptable agreements when we meet across the bargaining table.”

Beyond legislative activity, UTCA/NJ also has a strong interest in collaborating on training issues. Briant serves as co-chairman of the Local 472/172 Safety, Education, and Training Fund and sees the advantages of a skilled and safe workforce. He also acknowledges that developing that workforce requires a commitment from labor and management alike.

s like these... Kocsis says two recent labor-management successes are the passage of “Lend Lease” legislation (see page 11), and the decision by the New Jersey Laborers Union to require all its members to undergo OSHA 30-Hour training, which will make contractors more competitive.

Moving forward, Briant recognizes that there is still much work to be done and is looking to the Laborers Union as a key ally in the fight to advance the heavy, highway, and utility construction industries. Likewise, the union is counting on the UTCA/NJ, as well. “We are better because of our relation with our contractor associations,” said LIUNA’s Pocino. “To an outsider, union and employer cooperation might seem to be an impossible undertaking, but we’ve proven otherwise. It takes the right people and the right organizations to make labor-management cooperation work, and we are fortunate to have both.”

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“Over the past 15 years, union trades and contractors have evolved from being separate entities with separate constituencies to being true partners in the construction process,” he asserts. “Our membership is extremely pleased with the positive relationships we’ve been able to establish with our trade union partners, especially the Laborers.”

“Our contractors are able to successfully compete because they have access to highly skilled and productive labor, people trained at some of the best facilities, by some of the best instructors in the country,” he explained. “Management plays a role by communicating their needs in the field and guiding laborers training into new areas of relevance and excellence.”

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may 15th may have started like any other day, but for Laborers Harry Dering, matthew ambrosio, and bert Rypkema it was the beginning of a 32 hour ordeal fighting one the largest forest fires in state history, one that consumed 22 square miles of the pine barrens, an area double the size of nearby atlantic City.

THE DiffERENCE maKERs: Harry Dering, Bert Rypkema, and Matthew Ambrosio

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All three Local 172 members are employed by the Township of Ocean—Ambrosio and Dering with public works, Rypkema with the utility department. Also, all three volunteer for the Waretown Volunteer Fire Company #36.

In the end, Mother Nature was the fire fighters’ best friend as winds died down and steady rain doused the flames. Were that not the case, according to Ambrosio, the fire would have likely continued for more than a week before getting it under control.

So when the call came in that a forest fire had started in Warren Grove, the three men’s fire training kicked into gear and they sprung into action to combat the hard charging fire. As part of a strike team, Dering, Rypkema, and Ambrosio worked to supply water to the various engines, and protect property from a fire that at times traveled an incredible 45 miles an hour. Because of the fire’s intensity and strength— it was described by journalists as a 100 foot wall of flames— the men even had to cut and run from a nearby mobile home community, recognizing that it would take more than the equipment and manpower they had available to beat back the fire. Property was lost, but fortunately no one was hurt.

Outside of work, Laborers lead industrious lives supporting their local communities. Luckily for the residents of Waretown and nearby towns, Harry Dering, Matthew Ambrosio, and Bert Rypkema volunteer their time and energy fighting and preventing fires and making a difference in people’s lives Know of Laborers making a difference in their community? We’d like to know. Send your story ideas to roblew @ njlaborers.org. (photo l-r:) Harry Dering, Bert Rypkema, Matthew Ambrosio


NEWS from the General President

LIUnA BUILDs AMeRIcA tHRoUGH teAMWoRK

Dear Brothers and Sisters: When I travel around the country and visit various LIUNA Regions, District Councils, and Local Unions, one thing stands out: Our success is built upon our teamwork. Whether it is the teamwork of members on the job, our coordinated organizing campaigns, or the public private partnerships we form, when we work together we’re at our best. In order to move our agenda forward and be the strongest union we can be, all of us must take the initiative to be actively involved in our union’s daily affairs, from organizing to political mobilization. When our union’s leaders made the historic decision at the 23rd LIUNA Convention to increase organizing contributions to 25 cents an hour, I am sure there were many who were unaware that the Eastern Region was already at that level. But what makes me most proud is that, under the leadership of LIUNA Vice President and Eastern Regional Manager Ray Pocino, the Eastern Region raised the bar even higher, to forty cents an hour. The Eastern Region is not only committed to raising the funds, but making those resources work for every Laborer in New Jersey. This commitment is the foundation for growth and every New Jersey member can take pride in setting the foundation. Your actions are making our union even stronger than it is today. This teamwork must carry over into the political arena as well. New Jersey Laborers have historically been at the forefront of political mobilization. We are going to need every Laborer to do even more during this upcoming election season. We must be willing and able to make political action an everyday part of what it means to be a LIUNA member. LIUNA builds America with our hands, our sweat, and our minds—but we also build America through political mobilization at the national, state and local levels. The stakes are high in New Jersey. Legislative elections in November will determine who sets policy and controls the purse strings in the Garden State and I know you are gearing up for a vigorous campaign. But politics doesn’t begin and end on Election Day. It is a year-round cycle. I want to congratulate Ray Pocino on his appointment to the New Jersey Turnpike Authority. With plans bandied about for utilizing public private partnerships for the Turnpike, Ray’s leadership will be instrumental in crafting a proposal that is good, not only for this union, but for the entire state. We can all have that type of influence in our communities—on school boards, town councils, zoning and planning boards. Let’s all make a commitment to get more involved and let’s let people know that Laborers live and lead in our communities. By joining together, and by working together right now, we will continue to increase our strength and power for the future and build our union as we build our country. w w w. n j l a b o re rs. o rg

In Solidarity,

Terence M. O’Sullivan General President Laborers’ International Union of North America

1. D

Check Your Knowledge Answers 2. A 3. A 4. D 5. C 6. B

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HeRMAn LAWRence Laborers Local 595 member Herman Lawrence is a learner. He ardently believes that knowledge is the key to success and approaches every day as a chance to grow. “I’m still learning—about other trades, different techniques, and how to work with other people.” said the Atlantic Highlands resident, who presently serves as shop steward on a major project at Jersey Shore Medical Center. “All of it helps make me a better worker and a better union member.” Eighteen years ago when Lawrence joined the union, there was no apprenticeship program for new members. He counts himself fortunate to have learned from some great laborers in the field, but feels apprenticeship is the way to go. “I tell the new people, treat your classroom training seriously, especially the safety training, and then work hard to apply that knowledge on the job.” After working with several apprentices during the past few years, Lawrence is optimistic about the union’s future. “They come to work with some knowledge of construction, but more importantly they show up with a good attitude. That matters.“

PROUD

TO

BE A

KennY BAtes As a 32 year member of Laborers Local 172, Kenny Bates has seen a lot and formed a few opinions along the way. “Most people come into this business and don’t think they will stay too long and don’t get overly involved,” observed the Gibbstown resident, “but once they figure out that the Laborers Union is their life, their career, they get more motivated.” Not only is this an astute remark, it also describes his own life. Bates thought construction would be his summer job, a bridge between his service in Vietnam and his desire to attend college. Yet somewhere along the way, he’s not exactly sure when, he knew that a career in construction, with the Local 172 was what he really wanted. Rather than slowing down after 32 years, Bates remains a very active member, someone Business Agent Tony Capaccio calls, “my first call when I need help.”

PROUD

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New Jersey Laborers’-Employers’ Cooperation and Education Trust 104 Interchange Plaza, 3rd Floor Monroe Twp., NJ 08831

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LaborNET Summer 2007