For the record:
Mr. Douglas McCarron, General President United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America 101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20001 July 7, 2017
Dear Sir and Brother:
In am in receipt of your letter dated June 14, 2017 (herein referred as “Eligibility Determination”) and filed pursuant to Section 53-G of the UBC Constitution. Section 53-G provides, in part, that, “(a)ll protests directed to the conduct of nominations or elections, or election procedures, in any subordinate body may be appealed to the General President within thirty (30) days from the date of the election.” Said correspondence stated that you had decided the Local 157’s election for Recording Secretary and Vice President was null and void. This letter will oblige Section 52 of the UBC Constitution and the thirty day threshold responding to your June 14, 2017 ruling and exhausting all remedies allowed before taking my case to the civil courts or the Department of Labor.
Your response to the Bilello Protest stated that under UBC Constitution 31D, I was not eligible to be nominated or elected to position of Recording Secretary of Local 157. As someone not “employed by the organization as a full-time officer or representative.” My eligibility turns upon the language which evaluates whether I am
[w]orking for a livelihood in a classification within the trade autonomy of the United Brotherhood as defined in Section 7 or in employment which qualifies me for membership or is depending on the trade for a livelihood.”
You established your findings from UBC Representative, Anthony Pena’s investigation that I find problematic. After being interviewed in numerous phone conversations, there are many construed observations and omissions in Mr. Pena’s report.
For example, I was requested to submit my W-2 receipts for 2016, in which I replied promptly. Mr. Pena chose to only source five months of my work history from January 1, 2017 and also omit evidence on gaining employment on my own. Mr. Pena stated in the June 14, 2017 “Eligibility Determination” letter, “Walsh does not solicit work on his own”. Mr. Pena interviewed me asking this question. I responded yes, that “I just got off a two week “back to back” job working for American Wood Installers (AWI) in December 2016 for 39.5 hours and 39.5 hours in January, 2017. I solicited this job on my own, as I often do to gain employment, for over 30 years. This appears to have been omitted from Mr. Pena’s report. I called several companies looking for work as was stated to Mr. Pena but he also left this out of his report. Retiree’s eligible to work often try to gain “back to back” employment the last week of the month so there’s the possibility the dispatch will extend into the following month. This satisfies the 39.5 hour threshold for two months and doesn’t upset the contractor having to replace the Job Steward. However, when a retiree following the rules leaves a job because they reached the 39.5 threshold before a job if finished, they are regarded as “deserters” and lose their remaining dispatches and put to the back of the “Out of Work” list, just for following procedure. This must be what Mr. Pena is referring to in Section 32 of the District Council’s Job Referral Policy.
Another example, Mr. Pena states “In the first four and one half months in 2017 leading up to the nomination, Walsh had earned much more income from his pension benefit than he did from qualifying employment.” I find this newfound income criteria problematic for many reasons, also it never surfaced before. So I may better understand the provision under which any prior determinations were made, please provide previous writings or in the UBC Constitution where it states one must earn more on the tools than their pension income, especially over a four month threshold and how Mr. Pena derived this criteria. I clearly explained to Mr. Pena, I worked my allotted hours in January 2017, remained at home to take care of my ailing wife in February/March, remained on the OWL for six weeks in April looking for work and worked 39.5 hours in May, proceeding nominations. Why Mr. Pena decided to say “During the course of the investigation, Walsh explained that his very limited hours were because he must attend to some family obligations.” and callously not include the significant information above is perplexing.
The District Council operates an out-of-work list (“OWL”). Individuals may put their name on the OWL and be referred for employment with contractors. According to Mr. Pena, “Walsh added his name to the OWL for the “first” time in 2017, on April 3.” Mr. Pena neglected to add in his report to you that I waited patiently, depending on the OWL for over six weeks for a dispatch, while making calls for work to contractors and was taking care of my ailing wife in February/March. On May 15, 2017, I was dispatched to a job that I depended on for my livelihood. This turned out to be a two hour show up time job because of non-union issues. Desperately, I placed my name back on the list May 16, 2017 and fortunately was dispatched the following day. I remained on a job with Supreme Woodwork for my 39.5 hours, satisfying the hours for May. However, I put my name on the OWL June 23, 2017 and discovered I was placed on the back of the OWL. I lost all my referrals for adhering to the rules and was deemed deserting the job, as per Section 32 of the District Council’s Job Referral Policy.
Mr. Pena states “Walsh put his name back on the OWL on May 24, but was removed in accordance with Section 32 of the District Council’s Job referral policy.” This is an untruth because I would not put my name back on the list in May because I already exhausted my 39.5 hour for that month. Please check you records for confirmation. “Walsh has not put his name back on the OWL since on or about May 24.” Mr. Pena interviewed me why I haven’t put my name back on the list and I explained to him why, he must have forgotten to include this crucial fact in your report. Mr. Pena continues to state “Walsh does not solicit work on his own. Although Walsh could work up to 39 hours per month in “Covered Employment” (within the collective bargaining jurisdiction of the District Council) under terms of the NYC Pension Plan, he does not do so.” This fabrication of not “soliciting my own work”, which Mr. Pena and I clearly discussed, was specifically examined, when I defined the AWI job. My name was not on the OWL until June 23, 2017 because I waited to gain “back to back” employment the end of the month. Since then, I have secured my 39.5 hours for June and will have my 39.5 for July, with the same company, Girandola & Shutkind Construction.
Section 33-A of the UBC Constitution provides, in part, that “(t)he [Local Union] President shall determine questions of eligibility for office, subject to an appeal to the General President under Section 53-G. Mr. Pena stated “their eligibility was not decided at the Local Union level”. This too is misrepresentation because Local 157 President, Graham McHugh ran on and approved the ticket that won a “white ballot” election May 18, 2017. How was Mr. McHugh supposed to know of a protest until it was made at the nominations meeting?
All of Mr. Pena’s errors and denunciations put Greg Kelty and me in an uncomplimentary posture as this letter was circulated and read to the Local 157 membership. I am appalled at his lack of understanding and proficiency that would be presented to you to make a genuine determination of our eligibility status. Unless, whomever drafted the June 14, 2017 response letter for you to sign, didn’t do their job accurately and this certainly puts your decision in question.
For three years I have been receiving over $1.000.00 monthly stipend as Delegate and full time Recording Secretary of Local 157, the largest local in the U.B.C. As someone not “employed by the organization as a full-time officer or representative”, my eligibility turns upon the language of the United States Internal Revenue Service’s (I.R.S.) determination which evaluates whether I am an employee of the Local Union and one who is responsible to file a 1099 form paying taxes on compensation from my positions. Please provide in writing from the I.R.S., where it states I am not an employee, particularly if I am collecting over the six hundred dollar threshold, over the tax year.
I would also like to bring to your attention Section 31C “ The regular terms of elected officers shall be three years in Local Union and three or four in District, Industrial and Regional Councils, or until their successors are elected, qualified and installed”. This provision clearly states that I must remain in my Recording Secretary position “or until their successors are elected, qualified and installed”. There is nothing in the U.B.C. Constitution stating my term is terminated on June 30, 2017, only in Section 32B stating “When vacancies occur in any elective office of a Local Union or in the position of Delegate to the Council from a Local Union, the President of the Local Union may appoint a qualified member to fill the vacancy pro tem, until such time as an election is held to fill the vacancy.” Local 157 did not have a vacancy. It was an end of the term, so Section 31C should be enforced. I have been told by President McHugh, I would not be permitted to attend the July 10, 2017 Special Called meeting and July 13, 2017 Executive Board meeting.
In finding that I didn’t meet any of the quoted eligibility requirements, you necessarily found that I was not “in employment which qualifies me…..for membership”. In order to understand future uncertainty, please explain how if I worked for UBC signatories but was not “in employment which qualifies me for membership? Could you also clarify and provide guidance to the fact that you do not cite any prior determinations, either made by yourself or by any of your predecessors as General President, in which these criteria were interpreted and applied.
That a member can be eligible not only by “working for a livelihood” but by “depending on the trade for a livelihood” necessarily seem to mean that a member can be eligible even if, in a period immediately prior to nominations, the member was not working at all, or not working whatever the requisite number of hours which would be deemed sufficient in itself: were this not the case the category of “depending” would be unnecessary-----only “working” and not “depending” would make one eligible. What is the definition of “working for a livelihood”? What is the definition of “depending on the trade for a livelihood?” Can you please provide guidance with respect to when a certain threshold level of hours of work that will be deemed “working for a livelihood” as opposed to working for some other purpose? What objective standards go into making this determination? When a member engaged in employment which qualifies him or her for membership and when a member is depending on the trade for a livelihood? Our membership deserves cohesive guidelines to move forward and not keep kicking the can down the road with this issue.
Based on the new information provided, facts and circumstances, I ask you reverse your determination and reinstate me to the member elected position of Recording Secretary of Local 157. Please consider I have been elected to three positions and served passionately as Recording Secretary for a full three year term, without any tribulations. I was also elected in 2015 to the 41st General Convention and NYCDCC, 2016 Delegate Body. I am currently in the same “depending on the trade” status as I was in 2015 and up until the recent May 18, 2017 Local 157 nominations. There were no inquiries from the NYCDCC Chief Compliance Officer or the UBC on my of “depending on the trade for a livelihood” status during the last few years, until NYCDCC, President, Steve McInnis incited and asked his intimate friends to send (Protest) letters, as we enter the NYCDCC Executive Committee political season.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
William R. Walsh Local 157
cc: Michael Capelli, District Vice President, Eastern District (via email) Joe Geiger, EST, NYCDCC (via email) R.S. Local Union 157 (via email) Glen McGorty, Esq. (via email) Barbara Jones, Esq. (via email) Benjamin Torrance, USDOJ. (via email) Josh Leicht, NYCDCC, CCO. (via email) Brian Quinn, Esq. (via email)
It's very sad the way retires are treated,they were so hard,and deserve the respect,rightfully so,for there contributions they worked there whole entire life for.Our leadership sets the example,please let's not knot let the respect fall threw the cracks,we should be thanking our retires,they are the working class heroes who worked in the hot,the cold,the rain,the snow,to earn there fruits of labor,give them the respect and integrity,and enjoy there golden years for there great careers with the brotherhood.
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