Archive for July, 2014


The membership of Local 28 is as sharp as any membership anywhere in the I.A.  Our members are prone to leadership roles; they are tool talented, expertly skilled in layout, drafting, testing and balancing and service engineering.  They are hard working on the shop floor, the scaffold or the roof.  They are fearless, innovative and entrepreneurial – they make excellent contractors.  And they have long been admired throughout the I.A. for all those traits.

But above all, the key to their enduring success and tradition of proud unionism is that they are street smart.  They can recognize a con-job in a New York minute.  Nigro and DiOrio cannot hustle this membership.

Our members know that DiOrio and Nigro are not proud of the contract the I.A. has negotiated.  The contract contains controversial changes the membership didn’t expect or want.  This is a contract that benefits the I.A more than Local 28.  The I.A. removed Local 28’s officials, denied the members a vote, kept the contract a secret, released it to the membership days before it takes effect in order to sleaze this contract past a membership that has been deliberately kept uninformed.

The members know that if DiOrio and Nigro were proud of their work Nigro would have hired Carnegie Hall for a vote on this contract.  If Nigro had done something to be proud of he would also want to tell the delegates of the general convention that he had earned the respect of 28’s members (not their contempt) with a hard won labor agreement.  None of that will happen.  Instead DiOrio and Nigro are trying to keep the whole mess quiet.  Instead they are trying to silence the protests of a membership that feels they have been betrayed by a profoundly incapable and disappointing leadership.  DiOrio, instead, is conjuring up imaginary lawsuits by imaginary general contractors to con the membership into meekly and silently accepting a contract in which the members had absolutely no say.

The manner in which DiOrio and Nigro and their negotiating committee are treating the members of Local 28 is shameful.  They have brought the protests upon themselves.  Maybe they should have talked to the membership.  Maybe there are good and valid reasons for each and every change in the new agreement – even if the terms are controversial?  Maybe the new terms would prove beneficial to the union sheet metal industry in the long run?  Maybe they could ask the members to sacrifice now for a greater good and gains in the future.  They arrogantly refused to talk to the membership.

And given what’s gone down, the members have every right and almost a duty to demonstrate against the arrogance and indifference of their treatment by DiOrio and Nigro.  So it’s probably best, if the I.A. gets used to protests and learns instead to talk with Local 28’s membership, instead of talking at a membership they are just pretending to represent.  Before it’s too late.



The I.A. has locked the membership out of 500 Greenwich Street.  Claiming damage to the door of Executive Board conference room DiOrio and Nigro have banned all but invited members from the  offices that the members themselves voluntarily constructed at 500 Greenwich Street.

DiOrio’s leadership style is lacking and cowardly.  And it is getting worse.  DiOrio, simply put, is unable to face the betrayed membership of Local 28 who believe he is a Judas to the labor movement.  DiOrio is so intimidated by Local 28’s increasingly oppressed and infuriated members that he hires  (NYC off duty) police protection at Local 28 expense.  During the I.A. show trials of Kevin Connors and Jimmy Cuiffo, DiOrio hired six armed off duty NYC police officers to protect him from his imagined enemies.  DiOrio refuses to attend even the sniveling informational meetings he has concocted.  Now DiOrio is hiding behind the locked doors at 500 Greenwich Street to escape the glare of the membership.



If you don’t know what you are talking about – it is better that you say nothing – if you are not speaking the truth – say even less.

The following is copy of a message which was sent out to all Local 28 Apprentices in order to officially discourage their participation in the membership demonstration against the DiOrio secret MOU and his intent to force his un-ratified contract on the members of Local 28.  Shame on DiOrio!


Date:07/28/2014 1:26 PM (GMT-05:00)
To: Local 28 Apprentices
Subject: Wildcat Strike
A “Wildcat Strike” is a labor strike that has not been called or sanctioned by the officials of a union.  It is an “illegal” industrial action. We understand that many of you are being encouraged by mechanics to take part in the job walk-off or wildcat strike.  Apprentices are not to be involved in this strike.  If a mechanic chooses to walk off the job, it is unlikely that they would be put out of the union.  Apprentices, on the other hand, can be terminated from the program for being involved in an illegal strike.  If you find yourself in the situation where you are the only Local 28 member on the job and there is no supervision or no mechanic there to supervise you, you are to remain at the job until the end of the work day and to notify me  via email @

You tell me?

You tell me?  Was the rally a success?

Estimates upwards of 500 to 700 members of Local 28 converged today on the rally sites in lower Manhattan and 500 Greenwich Street to protest the  I.A.’s latest insult to free trade unionism. The secret Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by Nigro/DiOrio and their hand picked bargaining committee members brought an end to NY’s seven hour day.  And if that I.A. change in the Local 28/SMACNA Agreement wasn’t insult enough, the I.A. planned to enforce the MOU effective August 1, 2014 without a vote of the membership.

Until today!  Until the membership decided enough is enough.

It’s now been reported that when members converged on 500 Greenwich Street, DiOrio,  (ever the leader) chose not to face the angry demonstrators but instead sent one member of his Bargaining Committee, Business Agent Butch Keane to inform the members that there was a change in the  plans and there would now be a membership vote on the new contract this coming Thursday, July 31, 2014.  Keene declined to tell the members when and where the vote meeting would be held.

Which tells us that the Rally was a total success.  Congratulations to the organizers and all the demonstrators – whoever you are.  You are on the verge of taking your local back and dumping DiOrio.

That success, however, now takes us to a potentially new low point in the I.A. behavior toward the members of Local 28 and potentially a new low point for the personal and professional reputations of Bob DiOrio and his paymaster Joe Nigro.

There is no question, but for the rally/demonstration, the I.A. fully intended to implement its secret MOU without the consent of this membership.  The demonstration today MAY have changed those plans.

If the demonstrators changed the Nigro/Diorio game plan,  then the Nigro/DiOrio signature on the current MOU can only be fairly regarded as worthless.  As a Local 28 spokesman, DiOrio’s MOU and his word would henceforth be as worthless as toilet paper with the Local 28 Contractors Association.

And if DiOrio goes ahead with his original plan to deny the membership a vote as he promised to the contractors and cancels the Thursday vote, which today he promised to the demonstrators, then DiOrio becomes Local 28’s No. 1, Super Duper Two-Faced Liar.

Either way the resumes of Nigro and DiOrio are certain to be buffed with more lies.




Several members have reported to Ventlines that a Local 28 membership rally will be held @Noon, on Monday, 28 July @ City Hall in Manhattan.  The Rally will be a protest demonstration against the I.A. trusteeship and the loss of membership rights during the trusteeship of Local 28.   Under the Nigro/DiOrio trusteeship of Local 28 the membership has lost the right to vote a new labor agreement UP or DOWN in addition to the loss of their right to elect their own officials .  Following the rally members may converge on the U.S. D.O. L. @ Varick Street to press their case to dislodge the I.A.’s trusteeship of Local 28 as illegal.



As a retiree, I am not expected to possess much knowledge about what constitutes the right ingredients of a successful negotiation of a new Local 28 labor agreement, i.e., a win, win outcome for both sides.  Fortunately, I am not negotiating this agreement on behalf of the membership of Local 28.  Unfortunately, Bob DiOrio and Joe Nigro are negotiating this agreement on behalf of Local 28, and with Bob and Joe, knowing less about the Local 28 sheet metal industry than a day-one, Local 28, pre-apprentice, we have the makings of mayhem on our hands in New York.

What have they done?  What will they do?  We are about to find out.

Joe and Bob and at least one 28 Business Agent going into this negotiating session had an important pre-disposed bias: Local 28 union wages were too high.  The I.A’s thinking is that Some Local 28 mechanics were making too much money for Local 28 to be competitive with non-union contractors.  Therefore, this negotiation session faced with that kind of bias seemed destined to be a, heads, I win, tails, you lose, coin toss with the SMACNA employers as winners.

Did it happen?  What have they done?  Zones?  Shop vs field wages?  Eight hours?  Time and one-half OT?  What have they done?  Who are the members regarded as making too much money to compete?

Stay tuned, we are about to find out.

P.S.  Accept or reject?  Under the Nigro trusteeship, Local 28 members will eat the new contract with no opportunity to vote this new contract UP or DOWN.  And if a Local 28 official speaks out against the agreement he will be replaced with an IA patsy who believes in DiOrio’s need for “…a measure of respect for political neutrality.”  Welcome to the new I.A.  where the rank and file but not the General Officers must learn to compete.


Update on the lawsuit vs Nigro





Thanks again to all of the members who are supporting the fight to take back the local.


We have filed a lawsuit against the IA to overturn the Trusteeship and give the local back to the members. Members should have the right to vote on your contract!! Members should have the right to vote on the EEOC settlement!!  Members should have the right to elect your Delegates to the IA Convention!!  Members should have the right to elect your local officers!!  All of this and much, much more has been stolen from you by the IA. Our lawyer, Daniel Clifton, Esq. has years of experience fighting for union democracy. He is committed to this fight.




Local #28 needs this lawsuit to battle the IA.  Mr. Clifton confirmed that the IA’s failure to file Form LM-15 does not automatically void the Trusteeship. It is their illegal conduct we are challenging.


Keep checking Ventlines. Keep attending meetings. Keep up the financial support. All contributions will be kept confidential.  Money orders are accepted. This is our local and we need to take it back.



Reply Forward

DiOrio and 28’s pilfered PAL money

A recent story in Newsday tells the sad story of the consequences of an I.A. run Local 28.  During the first trusteeship, the I.A. quietly and greedily claimed Local 28’s PAL money as its own.  Very few members knew about that money grab.  Now a non-union L.I. contractor gets the benefit of the political clout that once belonged to Local 28.  Something is wrong here.

DiOrio is a babe in the N.Y. political woods.  Thanks to the amateurs running Local 28,  a non-union L.I. contractor won a $200,000.00 N.Y. State grant.  A Local 28 contractor should have been the beneficiary of that grant – not our non-union competition.  What happened Bob?

Service Workers Union, Local 355, contractor, J.M. Haley Corp. is planning on growing his sheet metal business from 65 employees to a shop size of 115 non-union sheet metal workers.  Haley is using a $200,000.00 grant provided by the NY State Empire Development Corp. and a tax break for the next 15 years to relocate and grow his business.  The Haley Corp. already does million dollar jobs in Manhattan and also does N.Y. State higher education facilities on L.I.

Haley’s future looks rosy – doesn’t it Bob?  How about 28 contractors and their 28 employees?  Do you think they might be in need of some grant money to grow their business?

Onward to Political Neutrality?  Another winner!  Ughhh! Displaying photo.JPG


?Respect and Acceptance of Political Neutrality?



Bob DiOrio has replaced Financial Secy/Treasurer Jimmy Cuiffo.  DiOrio has appointed Local 28’s appointed Organizer, Rob Soto as Local 28’s first appointed Replacement Official of the 28 trusteeship.  DiOrio’s July 1, 2014, Important Notice to the membership announced that Soto was appointed  because he met the strict I.A. standards for appointed union officials.  DiOrio and Nigro like appointed jobs – especially their own.  Therefore Jimmy Cuiffo, the elected 28 Financial Secretary is out and Soto is in.

According to DiOrio’s Important Notice, Rob Soto matched the three important I.A. standards for an appointed I.A. Replacment Official:

  1. Soto was “…able to learn new tasks.”
  2. Soto was able to “…demonstrate a strong work ethic.”
  3. Soto has “…some measure of respect and acceptance of political neutrality.”

With respect to the first two I.A. standards, DiOrio must have had a difficult time making a decision – so many members to choose from – thousands.  Every member of Local 28 very easily qualifies for the Secy. Treasurer job under those standards.  In NY if you can’t learn a new task and demonstrate a good work ethic you meet Line E in a NY minute.  No problem there, plenty of officer talent in 28.

DiOrio’s third standard, however, seems alien, more I.A.ish.  It doesn’t seem like a New Yorkers’s qualification for elected union office in Local 28.  Hmmmm?

Maybe the I.A. is trying out a new Nigro/DiOrio motto or battle cry?  Maybe we will see the slogan on one of Nigro’s new banners as they lead the new SMART I.A. and Local 28.

“Onward to a Measure of Respect and Acceptance of Political Neutrality.”

Quite an inspiring battle cry.  Huh?

Oldies like “Solidarity”, “Brotherhood” and “Loyalty” were probably getting just a bit too uncomfortable for DiOrio and company.

We have a lot to look forward to in Nigro and DiOrio’s new Local 28 and SMART.  Ughhh!