Don’t fall for it, Austin City Council

White Lodgings, the developer behind the JW Marriott being built downtown, is trying to back out of a deal they negotiated with the City of Austin in which they agreed to pay prevailing wages in exchange for $3.8 million in fee waivers. With the city launching an investigation into why they aren’t paying prevailing wages after complaints from the IBEW, White Lodgings is arguing that the city and the company had different definitions of “prevailing wage” when they agreed to it.

Their argument is based on the idea that a developer who advertises a portfolio of 167 hotels & 14 restaurants (source: whitelodging.com) doesn’t know what “prevailing wages” means. I find that hard to believe.

We have to hold them to the fire on this issue and let our voices be heard so that the City Council knows we will not tolerate them backing down or giving in. The Austin skyline is better off with this hole in the ground than allowing White Lodgings to play dumb on something as straight forward as “prevailing wage.”

Read the article in the Statesman.

New Regional Council Affiliation

Local 1266 and all of the Texas Carpenters’ Locals have been realigned to be part of the Central South Carpenters Regional Council. The Texas Carpenters Regional Council has been absorbed into this council that represents the 12 locals and the over 5000 members from Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Arkansas.

I think this will be a great thing for Austin and Texas Carpenters as we work to rebuild our Union here in the state and look forward to working closely with our new EST, Jason Engels. He came and spoke at tonight’s regular Union meeting and there was a very positive energy in the room as we begin this new chapter in the Union. Local 1266 is excited to see the coming changes as the integration gets ironed out.

I encourage all of our members to take this opportunity to re-engage in the local and help us move into the future with an active rank & file membership that truly represents how passionate we are about the Union and our Local. Big things are happening and new opportunities for involvement abound. Please do your part to help us be successful with everything we have going on. Contact me or Tom, to find out what you can do to be involved.

Interior Systems

20130216_164045[1]20130216_164107[1]20130216_164146[1]20130216_164223[1]This semester the Interior Systems were practiced. The class built a 20 ft. x 16 ft. mock up of a reception office. The room had such features as a shaft wall, chase wall, sound wall with resilient channel, octagon shadow box, low wall partition, 3hr fire column, drywall soffit, soffit light pocket, door pocket, receptionist window, 3ft radius arched opening, 18in. radius arched half height opening and an expansion joint. The students learned print reading, job planning, layout, material handling and the different materials used in most of today’s buildings. Students got hands on experience with hand tools cutting drywall, track, studs, and used the chop saw for heavy gauge materials. We went over the project during class time and discussed the problems that were encountered. Thanks to all the students that put in hard work and showed up with their tools ready to get the project done.

Thanks,

Instructor

Frank Trevino

Raising Minimum Wage

President Obama addressed the federal minimum wage in his State of the Union address, stating that it should be raised to $9.00/hr. A study was done last year that concluded, if it had kept pace with increases in worker productivity, the minimum wage would be $21.72/hr. The same study found that, at the very least, if the minimum wage had kept pace with inflation, it should be $10.52/hr. Read about it here.