WASHINGTON – Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-New Orleans, is proposing legislation that would bar the owner of Avondale shipyard from collecting federal funds under a program that rewards companies for closing facilities that result in taxpayer savings. See the article >
Jumping through the ranks was nothing new to JayLee Trujillo when she became a painter. Less than two years after completing her apprenticeship, and at age 28, she became a foreman supervising 15-20 other painters on a large military contract.
JayLee Trujillo, originally from Montana, went straight from high school into the military. She spent much of her 5-½ year career doing sheetmetal work and painting F-15 fighter jets at Elmendorf Air Force Base. After being deployed to South Korea and then moving to Cannon Air Force Base in New Mexico, she was ready to return to Alaska and make it her home. She was at a kickball game when she met Bronson Fry, union representative for Painters and Allied Trades Local Union 1959. Fry encouraged her to look into Helmets to Hardhats.
The national program helps National Guard, Reserve, retired and transitioning active-duty military members connect to quality career and training opportunities in the construction industry. Through Helmets to Hardhats, Trujillo was eligible to direct indenture into an apprenticeship; she didn’t have to wait for the once-yearly and extensive application process. It turns out Trujillo had the experience, skills, and leadership to move directly into a civilian career in the construction trades. Less than a year after starting what is normally a several-year apprenticeship, Trujillo became a journeywoman. “JayLee has been a model apprentice. She jumped through the ranks and is one of the best recruits we’ve ever had,” said Donnie Hansen, Apprentice Coordinator for Local 1959.
Today, Trujillo is a foreman for Performa, Inc., one of the largest union painting contractors in Alaska. She recently helped complete a 7-bay airplane hangar at Elmendorf Air Force Base. Trujillo says she has thoroughly enjoyed working as a civilian on a military project. “I love what I do,” she said. “The biggest surprise has been the overtime pay. I’m not ‘government property’ anymore and that’s amazing too.”
Trujillo strongly recommends the Helmets to Hardhats program for other veterans. “The Helmets to Hardhats program is an opportunity that many veterans may not be aware of,” she said. It offered her a gateway into a lifelong career, one at which she already excels. Alaska Works Partnership delivers the Helmet to Hardhats program in Alaska. Helmets to Hardhats works closely with the Unit and transition offices of the National Guard, Army (ACAP), Air Force, and Coast Guard. Funding is provided by the Alaska Department of Labor Veterans Employment.
Abe Breehey, director of legislation for the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, died April 14. He had been hospitalized a week earlier after collapsing at his home in Northern Virginia. He underwent emergency brain surgery last week to remove a malignant tumor.
In paying tribute to Abe, Metal Trades Department President Ron Ault said: “Abe was a skilled lobbyist and talented writer who was highly valued by his colleagues working on Capitol Hill both for his understanding of complex legislation and his willingness to work with all of us for the benefit of working people.
“Abe was a very good friend to me, someone I relied on for advice and counsel. He was a great friend, with a quick smile, wit and a good heart. I am so, so sorry we have lost Abe. I admired him and considered him a friend. Along with so many others, I shall miss him. It is impossible to express the depth of my sympathy to his family. My life is better having Abe as my friend.”
IBB General President Newton Jones said, “Abe was a leading voice in the labor movement, representing the Boilermakers on issues related to energy policy and climate change, and their impact on workers. He was widely respected for his passion, intellect, and ability to build consensus across ideological and political lines.”
Born in Binghamton, NY, in 1976, he is survived by his wife Sonya and his beloved young daughter, Abigail, his father, Ray, his mother Crol, sister Rachel and three nieces.
A graduate of Sienna College in Loudonville, NY, Abe earned his Masters in Public Policy at the University of Albany. He worked as a legislative assistant for Rep. Lloyd Doggett prior to joining the IBB staff in 2004.
Friends of Abe Breehey,
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Feel free to pass along this link to anyone who might be familiar with this kind of struggle or is in a position to help. Thank you.
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by Mike Hall, May 17, 2011
In letters to President Obama, more than 500 small business owners serving the Avondale (La.) Shipyard community compared Northrop Grumman’s plans to shut down the Avondale shipyard to “pirates in earlier era who scuttled ships to keep their foes from using them.” The giant shipyard is closing to maximize corporate profits, not because it is losing money.
The letters urge Obama to help them keep the yard open. Avondale generates about $2 billion in economic activity for the region, sustaining a network of small businesses that cater to the shipyard’s diverse workforce.
Today, many of those business owners met at the Avondale Truck Stop and presented the letters to Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.), Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) and representatives of Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.). Richmond will personally deliver the letters to Obama later this month.
The letter signers include grocers, veterinarians, barbers, restaurant owners, accountants, retailers, insurance agents and scores more. Says Avondale Truck Stop manager Kai Chin:
Our business depends on the shipyard. Every business in the area will say the same thing. Losing Avondale will destroy us.
Last year, Northrop Grumman announced it was closing the shipyard and began laying off its 5,000 member skilled workforce. In March, it spun off the shipyard to its newly created company, Huntington Ingalls, and now the workforce is down to 3,000 who are building the final ship on the yard’s order book.
In the letter the small business owners say:
We understand business. Sometimes a business is losing money and has to close. Avondale is not losing money. Northrop Grumman has decided it can make more money closing it than keeping it working. Their corporate bottom line apparently does not have any room for commitment to a community or even to our national defense.
The contract between Huntington Ingalls and the Navy provides significant financial incentives to close the yard—paying $310 million in shut down-related reimbursement. Some $120 million of that would be net profit for the corporation.
The business owners urge Obama to “encourage Northrop Grumman to either”
keep Avondale open building ships or sell it to someone who will.
Conservative blogs have touted Louisiana Senate Bill 76, introduced by Republican State Senator Danny Martiny, as pro-business legislation “aimed against contracts negotiated between employers and unions.” The main article in circulation, Kevin Mooney’s “Louisiana Bill Pre-Empts Union-Backed Project Labor Agreements,” is full of falsehoods and skewed facts being jettisoned by the construction industry’s most notorious anti-union lobby, the Associated Builders and Contractors. “PLAs call for construction contractors, including those non-unionized, to require their employees to be represented by a union on government-funded construction projects,” Mooney writes. “In practice, they lock out non-union construction shops from the bidding process.”
The truth is, Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) do not prohibit non-union labor. Rather, PLAs set out to ensure that a minimum percentage of workers are local hires, so that at least a nominal portion of the people working on a given project are from the community the construction will benefit, effectively bolstering the local community and the local economy. Insofar as PLA’s attempt to bring union labor on to the jobsite, PLAs ensure that a fair wage is paid and that the workers have a level of training that guarantees not only timely completion of the project, but also a final product safe enough for community members to remain out of harm’s way. What eliminating Project Labor Agreements from the project bidding process does is open the flood gates for unscrupulous employers to hire cheap, undocumented, misclassified and out of state workers to maintain the lowest possible bidding price. With this “race to the bottom” approach, contractors ensure slower, more costly completion of the construction with uncertain results. Moreover, this kind of approach costs the community dearly, not just in the near-term where local workers are denied jobs in their own cities and towns, but also in the lost taxes that are attached to the undocumented and misclassified workforce.
The effectiveness of Project Labor Agreements has been proven time and again on the national scale, where federal agencies again this year voted to uphold their use. As Mooney’s article notes, “Even if the bill were to pass, Louisiana would still follow federally mandated PLAs; SB 76 only applies to state agencies.”
Leaders of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 130 (New Orleans), have sent out an action alert asking members, past and present, to bring their friends and families to the Louisiana State Capitol in Baton Rouge today, at 11AM, to protest Senate Bill 76.
WHAT: Protest of SB76
WHERE: Louisiana State Capitol // 900 North 3rd Street, Baton Rouge, LA // (225) 342-7317