In a statement, newly installed BCTD President Mark Ayers says the department and its member unions welcome the laborers back “without hesitation.” Ayers, a former electrical workers union official, said when taking office last October that reconstituting the building trades group was a key priority.
Also in a statement, laborers President Terry O’Sullivan says the groups settled issues such as jobsite trade jurisdictional disputes and “per capita” voting based on rank-and-file membership. O’Sullivan could not be reached for details on how the issues were settled.
“I’m ecstatic they are back in the building trades,” says painters’ union President James Williams. “As a basic trade, the laborers are key to any project and especially to the basic crafts.”
The reaffiliation leaves issues related to the laborers-led former group, the National Construction Alliance, in limbo. Contractors are concerned the group’s labor-relations progress may not continue, say industry sources. “How will this shake out?” says Robert Epifano, a New Jersey contractor and former chair of the Associated General Contractors’ basic trades committee. He questions the status of NCA-made commitments to owners on key projects. AGC was set to issue a letter to NCA unions on March 18.wo years of separation seem to be enough for the Laborers International Union of North America and the AFL-CIO’s Building and Construction Trades Dept. The two entities agreed on March 13 to realign after the 800,000-member laborers’ union left the umbrella group in February 2006 to form an independent alliance with the carpenters’ and operating engineers’ unions. Those unions are not expected to follow suit. A carpenters’ union spokesman says the group will not reaffiliate. The operating engineers did not respond to questions. But union and AGC sources say union harmony is still afflicted by local jurisdictional disputes and personal “friction” among union officials.