Unions work

Apr 6, 2010|

Frank Callahan and Ronald Cogliano square off in this no holds barred discussion about the union labor. Special guest referee..Tom And Todd

Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

It's okay. Now Scott Lehigh and we talked about the so a couple of days ago -- -- -- great call me get a couple days -- I did a column on project the labor agreements project labor agreements and I'll let run -- -- from the merit construction alliance and frank Kelly and from the mass building trades. Feel in any gaps but a just a quick. -- outline -- -- essentially they agreements that put up certain public projects will be union. Only. Projects. Two. To address certain things efficiencies. -- safety job safety site safety and and what work stoppages and keep in a project moving forward particularly project with a lot of most of our howling if how to fix the project to make sure were paying the most money for the labor. -- and they get I think it right take your at least one does what -- LA fitness and if forces the government to hire the expense of workers. And greets his -- a little loop that allows them to charge more than what the market would bear -- low -- let's -- runner frank had discussed in that piece of it because let's say the legislature passed today. 500 million dollar courthouse she bond authorization. Instead because of the scale this. Project labor agreement Brian Todd says what I think you would say -- forced to buy the most expensive will hear from Franken a minute but. Wouldn't you still have to -- win low bid. To get that project. -- Tom under PL a the majority of the construction workforce in Massachusetts is -- open -- or nonunion non unit present according to the department laborers statistics -- census population -- no no other kind of a statistical data is available on that that's that's a credible. When you block out that much of the of the competition you price is naturally go up it's economics one -- one. Under PLA the only thing it mandates the mandates a bunch of other things but but the main reason for PL a is to help the unions regain lost market share and by doing that. What they -- -- mandate that all the labor on the job comes reunion hiring hall. Which knocks out a great deal of competition and that's why your prices go up. So Steele would come from the -- and workers the -- and -- to go through Kaplan Q and electrical rather than just what you call open shot or rather than an -- -- -- bidding process open fair competitive bidding process putting our contract is on a fair and equal -- -- that he didn't realize also. Have do with the supplies are required sees unionized suppliers and -- you could in some cases. It definitely. In fact I believe the most cases appeal it just requires is the management not -- union. And there's some there's some special provisions and therefore that but it had it does nothing to address efficiencies productivity is. On budget on time it is there are no provisions like definitely gonna guarantee you those things. Actor a couple of big projects in the history of Boston Massachusetts that we're PLA's. And I'm sure you've heard this type of contention before from Ron and and taught and others that -- G force -- system by the highest price. On any particular project so what's the unique position on that what's the justification for PLA if what these guys say is somewhat accurate. Well obviously an object to the characterization the highest price because as simple first grade math went -- VCR members or more per hour. They get better benefits they have better training. But the training is key. Because you may pay some more and our but I think more productive to get into drug gotten better than getting it drug got more quickly -- getting it done the right time right the first time. That's a lot more efficient that's a lot more cost effective. So what you're rafter is better quality. Better quality in decent wages and working conditions for the workforce. There were -- CA union organization that's who represents him. Well -- that was the goal why when you have a law that said you have to hire. The workers who have the right experience. Whether their union or not. Well that's what a project labor agreement does. Because I think runs at a bit of a disadvantage point terms of the numbers. The at Cornell University released a report yesterday that shows despite down arguments to the contrary. They are we represent over 60% of the construction work force the actual trades people. In the construction industry we have 75000. Members in the stated that the reports at 73 but it is good I don't think the average -- taxpayer carrots with the average taxpayer cares is there's a perception. That we're getting screwed because the government saying we have to get screwed in other words that the government wants to bribe. Certain organizations. With. Work dollars from job dollars than it did they wouldn't win in the free market. So you're creating an artificial environment through which certain people get the money. That's taxpayer dollars that makes him more expensive to build projects were -- if that was the case then what with the private sect -- so widely. That driving here grow by Harvard University Harvard University does project labor agreements on a regular basis -- general hospital the Fleetcenter. I guess -- TD Banknorth Garden I would expect it's politic side I don't know instruction right here on fish I was a big picture unless -- -- -- our our craft I think Bob Kraft knows the value of the dollar I think he -- a value of politics a little -- Estrada isn't well why do private organizations ever get involved with the -- paying more money well. Some sometimes it's it's it's a matter of -- choice but most times I think it's a matter of one in future permits move through wanted to get your of your -- piece of legislation move through. Do you projects moving -- back affirmative. Franken mentioned decent wage and training. What we're talking here about is. Public projects public projects -- prevailing wage that's a -- the land the vigorously enforced by the State's attorney general. Everybody every trade makes the same rate which is tied to the union right. With regard to training you know anybody can sit here -- say that my folks -- the best trained his folks of the pestering the fact of the matter is he has. The union and Oprah show up workers. Take the same exam to become licensing their trade. And and so they're they're qualified it -- and on top of that. There's a state law the cost or pre qualification process so that. He what you just that you can't pull up with a pick -- truck in the latter a second do this job we have to show the of the financial wherewithal the experience -- do these kinds of -- assist. All there anyone who's dealt with contractors knows that -- trenchant why. And that there's no way to know what you're gonna get when you hire a contractor that. Hiring union workers in it gives you some assurance he gets people were serious about their trade -- not. Well are disagree I think that there are open shop workers who work in their employees of their companies which is rather has -- a large distinction they're not working out of the union called a longstanding employees -- -- companies. That that have a loyalty to the company and they have a loyal to the customer and the customer comes first in the in the quality of the project is job one. If you don't have a PLA on a particular project though and even though the prevailing view beauty beauty of emphasized that prevailing wage is gonna apply and any public project. What's to prevent. Todd and I former company and we let's just say -- unscrupulous couple of unscrupulous. Fellows I guess you'll be in charge we thought we Heidi we hire people. And we who would not pay -- the the legit -- we have this classifying. Them. They may even be undocumented a rather things that we hear about from time to time so did displacing legitimate workers could be nonunion could be union but did just plays -- legitimate workers. And Todd and I had just put the output we us our money and -- -- -- up -- -- company signatory to the year they opened shop. In in my example would be an open shot because I assume a signatory to the union. That that kind of ties to me and also well that's perfectly but apparently couldn't tell where those types -- well that's incredible buffet type thing I think I think to say that to -- and industry with a broad brush just say opened shop value good news. He's on what you -- -- -- I don't -- -- every so and I don't let -- have no idea how unscrupulous as opposed to I would say the overwhelming majority of your members. Play and it legit right but I am just thinking in terms of how you defend. It's something that might be so open. Into mischief -- in this is why you have your payroll reporting requirements in the attorney general vigorously enforces it if you want her website you'll see. A virtually every week she's gotten she's got a press release a she's a very -- she has an -- spend more so than their predecessor write it up and and in effect. We support that we don't we want nothing but the best players on marketplace. But how do you -- how do -- equal that out I mean anything the it will what is the implication for unions of of superior workmanship that you -- well let me tell you we do. We spend over thirty million dollars a year borrow money no government money on a dime of it -- borrowed money with our contract is enjoying the labor management. Represented training programs has 44 training programs around the state. He division of apprentice training statistics show that 81%. Of all registered apprentices in the state are in union programs. There are union programs to report that came out of UMass Boston two years ago sure that our programs not only. Train the lion's share of the work force but they also graduate. Into journeyman. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- I will say this with our respective frank the UMass Boston study came from the labor resource center which is. Run run by and large you folks in and so it's it's hard to put any kind of credibility behind those studies. With respect you don't just have clarification on those numbers were raw data from the division depressed when numbers -- retired Massachusetts. The numbers that I decided on the 81%. -- -- -- apprentices that was are okay what but you know what -- I don't -- just care about the statistics what we were looking for the principals here. Well why we should be given a -- to unions on on any construction job that this state is paying for well tell you how we got here for second taught. Is we proposed responsible employer ordinances across the state that had some success when it. And all the responsible employer ordinance requires for a municipality. Is that the contractors that are -- union or nonunion. Pay their workers can't pay prevailing wage pay unemployment insurance. Provide health insurance provides real apprenticeship training if that's indeed with the non union claims -- doing. Every time we propose one of those Ron. Or someone from another organization like -- comes in opposes that. And my suspicion is set every time mistake and say all they want about training about paying the prevailing wage upon a level playing field. But as soon as we have enforceable standards that are in the -- Then we end up with opposition from groups like runs well that's understandable you're throwing our attorney. Criterion that have to do with -- how are you guys are -- your business. There's not only Iran acquires them to have its offer health insurance is a nose and onto the Massachusetts statute there is now and the Massachusetts Health Care reform. But if we're trying to set up standards that's who we are all about in the unionized sector setting standards has some Lincoln. Get training have a Korea not just a summer job -- is just harmful one and two years -- wanted to retain skilled workforce. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- The strain this there are training programs approved by the State's division of pressure training throughout the commonwealth some -- run out of organization some morons trade schools very trade schools -- that. -- was -- we would go through -- okay so it in this training programs are -- -- -- but -- let me just back up for a second if I might have the reason why we -- is not firm responsible player ordinances. Or any other kind of scheme to still work to the unions it's. It is is it it's for the project labor agreement and whether or not it's fair to discriminate against majority of the marketplace. In in in doing so -- jacked up costs on taxpayers and and I would say. It's any -- -- in the sermon everybody in the audience wouldn't be okay if if the governor were to say that deep that any project paid for with taxpayer dollars. Would only be open to open sharper knowing -- workers. And I I was suspecting it's would be no. I I would like that. Hi there anything that drives down the cost suited doin' business I think is a great idea but -- -- -- treasured about Frank's point about the penny wise pound foolish so I get short term. The lower costs but then two years of five years in ten years down the road I -- crappy quality in the sheet rock has fallen down. An electrician he'd be the electrical keeps -- -- -- you know that's that's pro gun argument that that who is unsubstantiated it's a good one if it's true. We don't know if it's short and we've certainly seen projects were there any unions involved with the Big Dig -- -- we've -- some quality issues there. Now maybe they were signed issues that they're -- -- -- the union's fault. But it -- where we don't really know what the cause and effect is we don't know if you're not incentivizing people to. Keep their prices down then the prices go up. Grab and they we'll talk about PLO OK we just take some calls on this to a comeback and -- project labor dream run entirely on a frank Kelly in Iraq yes will be back do you any other calls taught insomnia. -- at six AB WRKO. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- Arriving here on Boston's talks resume AM six CN WR -- Hey -- succeed. All right all right all right I wish you get -- at all cover wind stopped talking for a minute. I -- write him back over here. Coming up frank Callahan here is the president of the Massachusetts. Bill good -- ray ray's counselor tell you yup that's a union group. Well. Most of. Building trades so plaster is a laborers and electricians and capitalism I organism all that kind of stuff. -- and run Galliano is the executive director and president of the merit construction alliance. Easily gloriously said they'd be the nonunion shop these guys did against each other not into each other individually but this. Yes sides of this debate yeah he's against each other run public -- -- -- about project labor agree has some Scot Lehigh wrote about project labor agreements last week's -- reached out to these two gentlemen and a hit they have right. And in a while this guy has so much impact on your writing for the knows how how many young very good call don't telephone got a bunch of calls a wanna talk to you guys so let's get somebody on -- you're on WR -- frank Callahan and -- currently on a high. I valued -- and who want to call. Hey I'm a former union project manage Barack sexual mill work firm. And I've got several high profile dot com dot com Boston. And one thing that came in common with the company's it was my it was a family owned company was that every installation job we lost money ought. Every job the work what -- I can't speak for the other -- trade but the on the operator's standpoint. These guys seem like. OK I'm out they're making 25 point is called an hour. I'm just gonna you're our hero that it they had no sense of urgency I ordered correct these guys that -- -- forty feet -- or in the course of the day. And we can -- somebody 300 dollars coming up output then. In every -- would be well. These have the money I don't. And then then that's. I guess what. What people are concerned about whenever you if you drag the process -- -- story like that and you've do you do you tell us that union pays for itself and productivity and skilled. Which your response he says I'm getting killed for just putting forty feet of baseball and it's an easy response can call the union hall. Yeah we're not like a lot of a lot of the Arab misperceptions out device unions and critically the building trades if you don't produce -- gone. There's no seniority but that story we just heard is a constant he should call the union hall and send those 34 or five guys yet work for him. Send them home cinema it was -- sent Jenny a four or five guys have a they'll do the work that's a case I'm sorry that happened to you that's not common and and the union sector. If that did happen -- highly recommend anybody any other contractors Roloson and out there. Call hall -- it would get rid of these guys -- not produce and can get us for a five moral gonna get the job do people do that. That happens all the time that they call in and -- all the time -- out their workers there's another misperception that you get stuck with people from. You know you if you're union contract and we tell you we've been having your -- -- That's not the case you can ask of people. They have the irregular Wii consoles I you know I've had I've done a couple of projects before and I know -- that's ought to invest in electrician about the scene and he can do it. I can call the union balance they sent Feinberg you should -- while that's good to know Larry Nelson WRK I learned. -- somebody. I don't think. What I call merit shop by prefer to use marriage show -- -- we go up. You know -- wages based on the Barrett did employees as they have they were on the trade and they. I have experienced of late they've workout they get paid more money they don't just get -- the salary based on the bloodline. But so much because sixteen years of the marriage show up and I think the big issue that people have to understand the appeal Asus. With the crowd still was their business would have it doesn't would be -- money is their business this is money that. I'm paying for. These projects that might. Employees of patent for a tax taxes tax -- and Libby told they can't work on these projects. They've been told they can take fought on but they have no right to work on them because they don't have a car that you when you cut. And then the other issue I think that they should bring up here is that in the east he always. The unions have also have a bargaining agreement with they can look what they -- wages that men can get paid lesson Leo anyway and the prevailing -- To work on these projects which is discriminatory against us. I have to pay the man. But total wage in this French but the union can allow the union contract. To pay less so he can be competitive and get the job from. While this over and over -- let's throw that to Franken Roger said he are you guys in agreement on the gentleman's interpretation. Because when I -- -- prevailing -- is the law and nobody can screw around without without risk of going to jail I think -- okay so there's not gonna be real difference yes but he's telling me. You guys unions can kind of we cannot -- yes the wrong word but you can you can. You can discount you -- the prevailing wages of prevailing wage and union and nonunion contractors are we are supposed to pay an -- -- a lot of nonunion contractors do not. Put -- -- don't speak for the union side. The union wages typically tough anywhere from Sony five cents to a -- and a half higher. Than the prevailing wage because there are factors in the prevailing wage formula. Which in our contracts which are not factored in. Ironically contribution to the apprentice training program which is they'll say fifty cents an hour. There are other benefits that we have that are not allowed under the prevailing racial so there is some. Some instances where we can get some concessions but it still has to be is still as illegal prevailing wage because Tora -- -- I saw you rug rats at a comment frank email I gotta -- if I had time thank. You -- how -- ya I know we can't have unsubstantiated claims cycle you know and are you contract is don't pay that keep the prevailing wage they certainly do -- the prevailing wage. Paula we're looking for is a fair shake lookin' for a chance to have to submit a competitive bid. It and to keep taxes low by providing the best quality the best price and I ask this question before and I'll ask it again frank. If the shoe was on the other flight and the governor came out and said only nonunion workers are only open -- merit shop workers on this project. Would you think that's fair. And I'll tell you what else front while -- usually -- is not a simple yes or no answer because what happens every day would hurt a lot about discrimination is wasting characterized. Union workers are discriminated against every day on the job sites by contract to -- I know we disagree on this and it's not all union contract this is is not a progress statement. But when legitimate contractors both union and nonunion -- and a project in -- against contractors. That don't pay the prevailing wage to cheat on their work has caught the cheat on their unemployment that don't hire local workers. That -- classify workers as independent contractor C you know from their responsibilities. That takes the competitive advantage puts the on this contract a union or nonunion pay huge disadvantage competitive disappear and we're talking 102030 dollars an hour. Per worker. And that's the difference on these drugs. A lot of times a low ball and it's a list of discrimination. And it's not union -- nonunion it's a Kinsler is eleven that's a different -- -- are those that that that that that guy is playing on the margin there in doing something so blatantly illegal ice and your response is Ron. He's gonna get the fear of god put me and let him by the attorney general let's. A motto -- get in my -- he's he's not doing anybody any -- -- frank gap we pointed out it's it's on both sides of the coin. But you know our our big issue here is is with with Governor Patrick and in we sent him a letter in and I was serious when I invited him. To let me take them around to the open shop and are you worker and let him look them in the eye and explain to them why did not good enough to work on the job -- the good enough to pay for the project. And I suspect you have a -- that's a very powerful point I expect you would wanna do that great your next NW RQ good morning CO. Yes I want to we UMass Boston which someone keeps quoting studies from up. That the campus is falling apart that I believe -- -- help I'm gonna assume by the president it was built but mostly union workers. I mean you can view the parking garage while I was there. There were bricks falling off a library that's what police tape around it so. Yeah that that I'm familiar with the campus Greg and I'm not sure that it's gonna throw to run out of track that was built under some old construction rules it was hideous corruption. Goes back to the sixties and seventies I don't think deadly as any cheers to that would happen again and I don't think it relates to either. Nonunion two two -- just that that was so it's far as -- wasn't political corruption the bottom of the political -- translate into buildings the fall apart is it translated into certain favored contractors were given contracts. And they used -- because of payoffs I have to assume they're using crappy concrete w.s and crappy -- they use and crappy work is and they contractors who resist pay to play routine goes down 4050 is we'll put the money in their pocket -- there'll -- and a taxpayer gets screwed that was what I was EM BM CA MGM's camera and I remember now -- Fareed let's go to James Saxon WR Kelly James. Bail out today good morning good morning. Just I work with nonunion and hanging guys -- we all work together and I just wanted to say you'd be. Everybody have to work and I think gave their right to work. It stayed about which -- spreading governor stature as the wrong idea of god nonunion shops. -- -- -- -- -- What's your experience working with both types of workers once you get on a job is there any difference it's visible between it. A union worker in nine you know worker. You know it but sometimes yes but I was -- guys from our ears and got laid awful lot not been are nonunion contract there are graded work. For ten years and never got laid off or aren't. I've never been under big there I mean I've never been. Never got -- -- raid you know while it got before -- everywhere god. -- -- -- -- trailer network all over Boston. Yourself your hourly wages is as much now as it was when you're union worker. How are I am aren't rated work and I get these wage all the time we've never had never worked for contractors that caught me. Being. Taipei any Adobe won't let wage is some kind of nervous start and. -- -- nervous you're saying basically that you've been treated fairly by all of these do you merit based construction companies. Yes golf course if they if you never got if you if it never got -- You know -- -- dirt ground while the attorney general to write on American companies I mean it's never been that way and almost in this type of economy there. Bet they'll they'll both companies are out yeah exist anymore -- -- company's very in the past in the eighties. You know. Which I've got companies. It's -- to the fly by night companies that. But I like companies like now it's so competitive. You know you've got you know electricians. You know it did the electrical. Companies alone I mean. Sorry we are you James who got to move on thank you for making the call making the point great you're next on WRKO. -- Thanks take a call this is great game it was so simple project is great debate going on frank and that aren't doing a great job but. Just just wanna make a point and that it would all due respect to frank it is a great job on behalf of the members. And agree with them one on number the issue he talked about like the level playing field but here's I think the bottom line we should get the cheaters note and we should have. Responsible companies but. Just say that you have to be a member of any -- it has once said that if you wouldn't want it to be it opens shop group whether it is group or Mike -- But they have to be a part of a -- to be able to public construction that's just not good public policy and that's what we're talking about here. If frank they're able to convince private donors to build union great power tool but. This is the public sector and it's public interest and you shouldn't have to be a part of. Greg I get I get the argument a lot of times people in the public safe to say we have to mimic and we should really learn from the private sector they know about efficiency. They know about productivity and all those things so when frank says to -- -- craft so there -- Foxboro in other valuable -- nobody disputes that. How the university is not to squander money Mass. General so wanted to put. Isn't that -- type a lesson you wanna have public officials governors are whomever absorbent say while it's those private sector at tight missing -- missing the -- why the house and -- -- at our expense. Well -- mister speaker I think you have to look at the broader picture if you look at the totality of private projects. The vast overwhelming majority of private projects are built with. OP OW and don't let it did then and it being done by aid of a mixed group of union and nonunion contractors and workers. And I think you know making that construction decision this is a complex. Met that a lot of different factors wanna take into account and then politics is certainly part of it. And but they've -- take nothing away from the private owners that make the choice to go with appeal it. But there are many many private owners that make the choice to do open bidding among union and nonunion companies. And and again that I think there's a distinction between the private money and private owner and and the public government. -- appreciate the call Greg caucus Iran and frank when you guys would agree with falcon a -- Greg's model that. Open bidding. Each each side is gonna get to participate and now the contract is given out and it's kind of what -- -- a mixed bag. There -- some union folks on the site some nonunion folks. What's the reality what you taught and I know about that work site is the attention is their hostility a people's ties being flattened that kind of crap. I can tell you guys are flat stuff doesn't happen that's at stansted to make tires thought there and yes. I can't tell first kiss on The Sopranos and Alder -- Can't really do -- but the you know Iraq tensions on the job it depends on what's going on there are legitimate nonunion contractors out there no denying that. But when we see contract is out there that are doing a number of the things that I talked about that aren't paying the proper wages treat their people right. We were put up a pickle line we will informal as workers we would meet calling AJ -- I -- here we try to take those members and we talk to the actual work its. We we try to get him to join you try to recruit him into the union let them know with a -- lets you run a chance let's let's let's declare. Open shop in and New York is work side by side all the time in fact our folks are happy to work side by side with your work -- we just want an opportunity put bread on the table for a family. You know we keep going back to dish cheaters that exist but this frank aptly pointed out. There from both sides of the of the -- that's just a moot point because it affects you -- that's right and and so we all just won a level playing field and in Greg's right if if and private industry want to adopt the PL a new one usually labor. That's your money you should be able to do that. By and large most companies don't do that. By -- much mostly private buildings carried out in a mixed mixed environment. Environment -- trying to wanna get you can really great point on the business model and you know for years. We've been criticized both in the union sector and a project labor agreements with the not a cost effective efficient model. -- proven that's not the case that they are cost effective putting product quality projects on time on budget. The courthouse one bill which he was speaker when we get fourth major courthouses on time and on budget the convention center public project began on time and on budget. I could go on and on we had the Boston Harbor cleanup and up a host of other projects in schools. And that was always a criticism another we've proven that that's true. All of a sudden we see our. Our opponents on the nonunion side all of a sudden get religion being concerned about the work let's be clear about one thing for -- and Greg who just called. Do not represent one single worker rocket ever present contract is I think run reps is about thirty. Greg reps -- about 275300. We have 75000. Members in the state. Who worked for almost 3500. -- -- -- Roswell the last where we're right up against the with all due respect the 75000 number hasn't changed since I was a little kid we represented employees and their employers and you end up by the way study after should study union empirical evidence shows that -- Kelly's doing in fact increased costs come back in anytime you guys has been a great debate if they got the time goes too fast well let frank Kelly and a run cuddling on the go Todd and I short break back to Steve -- back to you and your calls in a moment -- -- six AD WRKO.