Archive for December, 2014

THE NEW NORMAL

Joe Nigro and Bob Diorio have been hanging around NYC since 2010.  This Local  has been remade in their image. The NPF has but 34% of the cash needed to fund our pensions.  The I.A. continues its slow bleed of membership.  The I.A. cant spell O R G A N I Z A T I O N.  The court case drags on.    Local 28 unemployment now stands at approximately 500 members.  Nonunion is in ascendance in our jurisdiction and the I.A. did zip about the ugly allegations that brought them here in the first place.

Welcome to the I.A.’s new normal.

And there is more to come.  By law, the Nigro, DiOrio trusteeship of Local 28 will be terminated in the Spring of 2015.  Which means there will have to be a new round of elections of the officers Nigro and DiOrio removed as part of their trusteeship.

Not content with their successes thus far, Bob and Joe will be rooting for new normal Local 28 candidates in our next election.

Ventlines wishes Bob and Joe and their new normal candidates the best of luck in next year’s elections.  We will watch for them.

In the meantime Ventlines wishes the membership of Local 28 a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year in 2015.

 

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PICK YOUR POISON updated

 

The National Pension Fund (NPF) has posted its Actuarial Report as of January 1, 2014. (Through 2013)  The Actuarial Review is an important document that should be familiar to every member of the I.A.  Evert Local 28 official MUST be familiar with this document.

On page 39 of the report there is a comparison of data from all contributing I.A. local unions.  In 2013, Local 28 contributed an average of 1601 hrs. @ an average hourly rate of $11.65.

The average I.A. local contributed an average of 1660 hrs. @ an average hourly rate of $4.35.

According to a data analysis on page 16, in 2013 there were only 240 members throughout the entire I.A. who received a 55/30 (60/30) pension.  Their average pension awards were $2,552.00 each.

The average normal NPF pension in 2004 was $1,289.00.  The average normal pension in 2014 was $930.00, a decline of $359.00 per month since 2004.

In 2004 there were 68,296 I.A. working members contributing to the NPF.  Through 2013 that number has declined by 14,014 members.  Over the same span (2004 through 2013) the number collecting pensions increased by 6,472.  Thus we now have 14,014 fewer members supporting 6,472 more retirees.  (pg.38) 

This is the most dangerous trend in the NPF and requires the full attention of the SMART General Executive Council, and Joe Nigro.  Organization of the unorganized has got to be prioritized by SMART.

The Actuarial Review data tells us Local 28 is the highest hourly and total contributor to the NPF.  In 2013, using the NPF’s average Local 28 member count, (2300), Local 28 contributed $42,898,795.00 on 3,682,000 Local 28 hrs. worked. (Pg. 39)

(2300 average members x 1601 average hours = 3,682,000 total 28 hours x $11.65 average rate = $42,898,795.00 total Local 28 $ contribution.)

Local 28’s $42,479,700.00 contribution is 9.16%% of the NPF’s $389,378,479.00 total employer contribution for 2013.

As the NPF’s top contributor, every member of Local 28, every I.A. official, every Local 28 official and all would be Local 28 officials should be familiar with the content of the Actuarial Report.  Read it.  Study it.

There is good news and bad news in the report.  At the top of the good news category is the NPF’s investment return for the 2013 calendar year.  The NPF earned 20%+- last year.  That is an outstanding result – but must be judged against investment loss years such as the 27% Republican Recession loss in 2008.  The NPF also exited Critical Status or the Red Zone as per Internal Revenue Code (IRC) regulations.  The NPF improved its funding status to Endangered Status (Yellow Zone) in 2013.  That is also good news.  The trend is your friend.

On an actuarial basis the NPF achieved a funding level of 59%+- in 2013.  That too is good news and an improvement over previous years.  The trend is your friend.

Unfortunately, on a current liability basis, as reported on page 34 of the report, we see the enormous current liability sum of $11,291,679,667.00 representing the total of all pension benefits owed by the NPF to all categories of NPF participants.

Using the current liability funding standard, the current liability amount of $11,291,679,667.00 is compared to the current value of all current NPF assets which are valued at $3,818,123,174.00.  The result is the NPF’s current liability funded status.  Thus the current liability funding standard of the NPF in 2013 was 33.8% which soberly compares to the 59% actuarial funding standard for the same year.  Pick your poison.

Ventlines will be posting more blogs on the NPF Actuarial Report.  The membership should know that Local 28 has one of its ablest employers, Ron Palmerick sitting as a NPF employer trustee.  Mr. Palmerick is probably among the I.A.’s largest employer contributors to the NPF.  Honk your horn if you think Local 28 should have a labor trustee on the NPF.

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THE TITANIC SYNDROME

Selling 500 Greenwich Street is not the long lost answer to Local 28’s problems.  Nonunion competition will not disappear.  Massive unemployment will not miraculously shrink.  Nigro and DiOrio will not suddenly solve the NPF’s critically unfunded liability problems.  The albatross of the never ending court case and its never ending costs will not vanish.  The malevolent I.A. trusteeship will not end because of the sale.

Throughout most of its 100 year history, Local 28 always rented office space.  After WW ll and the advent of commercial air conditioning, Local 28 began a growth period from less than 500 members, to a peak of almost 1000 permit men and members in the early 1950’s.  A good portion of the new members were furloughed sheet metal workers from the Brooklyn Navy Yard.  At the time we rented a three room walk-up second story office located at 128 Lafayette Street in lower Manhattan.

Again in the 1950’s, after Local 28’s President, Business Manager, Edward F. Carlough and Local 28′ union employers signed the first building trades pension and welfare plans into existence, Local 28 and the union’s newly created funds jointly rented larger space at 350 Broadway near city hall.  We stayed there until growth in the funds and membership and President, Business Manager Dan Pasquinucci, Sr. and Recording Sec’y, Edward O’Rielly took us to 1790 Broadway near 57th Street.  We stayed there until we purchased the condo in 500 Greenwich Street which we built out with the sweat equity of the membership.

500 Greenwich at last satisfied this membership’s ancestral desire and goal to own its own space and stop paying rent to landlords.  Local 28 now owns three properties.  We are a labor union not a realty conglomerate.  At present we are straddled and surrounded by Nigro and DiOrio.  We have 500 members out-of-work.  We have three full-time Manhattan business agents with offices in Manhattan.  Manhattan is the historical breadbasket of all Local 28’s work.  500 Greenwich is a quick trip through the tunnel from and to Brooklyn.  The same is true for Queens and N.J.  The Westside Highway is a quick trip uptown  and to the Bronx.  We are in the thick of things at 500 Greenwich.  And you know that because the estimated value of 500 Greenwich reflects its valuable location.  There are subways galore in that area of Manhattan.  195 Mineola Blvd is reasonably convenient to the great majority of L.I., Local 28 members.  500 Greenwich is reasonably convenient to our NJ, Brooklyn, Bronx and Queens’s members along with anyone working in Manhattan.  The apprentice school is convenient to the diverse but smallest segment of Local 28’s membership.  Manhattan is convenient to all boroughs.

What with our nonunion and unemployment problems and a broken down NPF, it surely seems we have enough on our plate without seeking at this time to divest ourselves of a valuable union asset because DiOrio thinks it might be a good idea.  The membership should think long and hard about this deal.

We are a labor union of sheet metal workers not realty moguls.  We may be at a turning point in our competitive history.  First things first – take care of union business.  At this time in our history we need a laser focused effort on our real business – union business, our jurisdiction.  Vainly ignoring our real business and wrongly chasing down vast and multiple real estate deals that put all our eggs in one basket might end up being the historical equivalent of  rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.  Protect what we’ve got.  There’s no rush.   500 Greenwich is not getting cheaper any time soon.

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DISAPPEARING JURISDICTION

The recent Industry Fund booklet which claimed Local 28’s jurisdictional work is increasingly won by non-union sheet metal contractors has stirred some interest – especially among the 400 plus members sitting on the misnamed job referral list.  The job referral list should be called the wish list.

For those 400 out of work members, it is as if the Court, the membership,  the I.A. and Local 28 wish the referral list produced union jobs or union contractors with jobs.  As if, full 28 court compliance with the wish list was all that was needed for those 400 long-term unemployed members  to earn a steady livelihood.  As if full control of Local 28’s jurisdiction was not the real answer.  It is as if the wish list is telling us that 100% jurisdictional control of our work was not the best answer to moving members off the wish list.

What to do?

The first thing to do is prod.  Prod Local 28. Prod the Industry Fund.  Prod the I.A.  Prod Local 28’s Funds and Plans.  The Industry Fund made the claim that this local’s work jurisdiction is disappearing.  If true as stated in the booklet, the future is dire for those on the wish list and worse for those just coming into the trade.  Poke and prod every source of information at our disposal.  Get the facts.

The membership should know if it is true that Local 28 members perform only 33%+- of the sheet metal work in our area.  However the membership does not know if that claim is true.  The members have no way of confirming or refuting that booklet and its claims.

The membership cannot come to an informed judgment without numbers and facts.  For example, by inference, the booklet claims that on any given day in NYC/LI there are 5000 non-union sheet metal mechanics working alongside and in addition to Local 28’s 2500 journeymen and apprentices.  Which is to say that the non-union sheet metal industry is twice as large as the union sheet metal industry.  That’s a lot to swallow on faith.  At a minimum, a non-union census or body count was taken or should have been taken before that claim was made.  The 33% number may be a true statement but we should not be asked to take it on faith – show me.

Show me (the members) how many millions of man hours Local 28 performed in 2000,… 2009, 2010, 2011, etc. etc.  Show me that those 28 man hours numbers are declining in 2012. 2013, 2014, etc., etc.  Show me the population of Local 28 during those years.  Show me our membership numbers are declining.  Or in counterpoint, show me rising membership numbers which means that Local 28, the Court and the I.A. have been unwittingly building a permanent under-class of under-employed members into the way we do business as a union.   Prod until ALL the useful numbers become second nature to the official family and the general membership.

Only genuine transparent information will prove the case presented in that booklet.  Only genuine information will help the membership make the right choices in facing and solving the non-union problem.

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