PRIDE enters talks; 2 more contractors defect from MCA
By ED FINKELSTEIN
As the strike by Bricklayers Local 1 entered its fourth week, efforts intensified to find a resolution with PRIDE of St. Louis Executive Director Jim LaMantia assisting in the talks in addition to the Federal Mediation & Conciliation Service (FMCS)
However, after countless meetings between Local 1’s bargaining committee and representatives of the Mason Contractors Association (MCA), no progress was being reported. The critical issue is still the pension plan.
“We’d like to settle this soon, but not at the price of destroying our members’ pension plan,” said Local 1 Business Manager Don Brown. He pointed out that the MCA’s position is really indefensible since the union’s pension plan is fully funded and there are no withdrawal liabilities for MCA contractors.
The MCA pension fund trustees want to kill the current plan and install a 401(k) type plan while diverting members’ pension fund contributions into the old plan as some form of an “insurance” against any future withdrawal liabilities, if and when they ever might happen, an unlikely occurrence according to the Bricklayers’ pension consultant.
- Those diverted contributions would gain NO pension benefits for Local 1’s members and apprentices.
- The management pension trustees have sued to force the issue of a new pension plan into arbitration to avoid collective bargaining. This move has national repercussions for all unions. IF successful, it could be the beginning of the end for defined benefit pension plans normally a process of collective bargaining across America as companies could arbitrarily kill their defined benefit plans and force 401(k) type plans onto their employees.
And support for the absolutely unreasonable and irrational position of MCA continues to erode with yet another major contractor — Denton Tuckpointing — resigning from the MCA and to become an independent contractor and signing a new agreement with Local 1.
Last week, two other major contractors did the same: Superior Waterproofing and Restoration and B&K Tuckpointing.
Additionally, McBride & Sons removed E.C. Landers, a struck MCA contractor, from its jobsites when they learned they had not signed a new bricklayer’s agreement.
SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGN
To keep its more than 850 members on strike informed about the status of the negotiations, Local 1 has set up a website: www.bacstl.com, and has a Facebook page, Twitter account and texting service. See separate story adjoining.
Local 1 members: Go online to get current strike updates
Bricklayers Local 1 has launched an online campaign to better communicate with members and the general public on what the strike means and to provide updates on strike developments. Hundreds of members and union supporters have already signed-up to receive information on the ongoing strike.
Here are the ways YOU can sign up to get updates:
- Go to bacstl.com and fill out the contact form on the homepage.
- LIKE the Bricklayers’ Facebook page at www.facebook.com/bacstl for up-to-date information.
- FOLLOW the Bricklayers on Twitter @BACADCSTL.
- TEXT BACLocal1 to 25827 to sign up for text blast updates.