Dear Brothers & Sisters:
With the change of the season comes new opportunities and possibilities. Creating opportunity is just what the staff and many members have been doing these past few months.The Regional Business Representatives throughout the council have been meeting with our contractor partners on a regular basis to see what work they have and when these projects are going to start.While the Organizing Department continues to reach out to developers and end users throughout the council utilizing all means possible to ensure our contractors are getting every chance to bid as much work as possible. Also, under the direction of Organizing Director, Bob Casella, along with Regional Business Representative Dan Jackson, District Council #4 engaged in a good “old fashion” organizing campaign with the Tompkins Community Action Workers. Comprised of a workforce of nearly 70 employees specializing in four (04) primary program areas: Energy Services, Housing Services, Early Childhood, and Family Resources, these employees for years had no voice at work. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) sponsored the election in which the employees voted to affiliate with District Council #4. As we engage in negotiating a first contract this will empower the workers to have a voice they have wanted for so long and give them the ability to achieve their goals as a more just and democratic workplace.
Myself, along with the hard work of Training Director Greg Stoner, District Council #4 has been successful in securing grants from the IUPAT FTI, IUPAT LMCI, NYS Hazard Abatement Board, Empire State Development, NYSERDA, NYSDOL and NYS Electric and Gas which has enabled the training department to purchase new state of the art equipment and very soon begin construction on the expansion of the WNY Training Facility.
The new equipment we have acquired, such as the blast can, compressor and spray booth have enabled the Industrial Painters to gain more confidence and experience to ensure more success in the field. The virtual sprayer has been a huge success whether it’s an apprentice or the most experienced journeyperson that machine is always going. Coming soon will be the virtual welding machine to help our glaziers, industrial painters or any other member achieve the welding certifications they need. This “green” training has proved to save money on materials and at the same time provided priceless experience. What is better news, is that it is at NO cost to the membership or our contractor base.In addition, the membership has asked to provide training classes in other areas of the council besides Cheektowaga and Geneva so it would be easier to attend more classes. I am proud to say we are doing just that, classes are now being offered in a number of different locations throughout the council.
There has been a concerted effort on enhancing our training program and we are focused on taking the training of our members to new levels but with the new equipment now comes limited space, so in the upcoming months I hope to have good news about the expansion of the WNY Training Center.
One last thought, the Spring is here and the weather is nicer with long holiday weekends coming up. Far to many accidents happen just before a holiday weekend so please stay focused while on the jobsite. When your work is done enjoy your time off and cherish the time with your family.