Tuesday, October 19, 2010


October 19th, 2010

I have been quite busy for months now and have put off writing here for several reasons. One of the reasons is that after the appellate court ruled in Prate’s favor on the underlying case, and vacated everything from 2005 on, I have been preparing to take the Chicago Carpenters Union back to court.

Before I did that though, I exhausted all means I possibly could to work out an amicable settlement. The reasons I tried to resolve the issues were simple, in the end I will prevail again! What I was trying to avoid was the union spending ridiculous amounts of money to defend something that they simply cannot defend. Here is why:

• First, Arbitrator Martin’s ruled I was right. Facts and documents clearly proved that.

Second, Judge St. Eve upheld Arbitrator Martin’s decision to the underlying case but had to rule that after the 2005 contract, there was a new means of grievance resolution. The reason she ruled that way is the union, through its attorneys, in my opinion, deceived Judge St. Eve by misrepresenting that the RCEC agreement contained a provision providing for a permanent arbitration board. The union represented there was a new procedure to settle disputes with a standing panel of 5 arbitrators of which Arbitrator Martin was not one. What the union and Travis Ketterman, their attorney, neglected to tell Judge St. Eve is that the contract was never completed! Section 18-8 clearly spells out “by mutual agreement” and “set forth in a separate document” which never happened! I found this out between Judge St. Eve’s ruling and the decision of the appellate court. My link to oral arguments clearly shows; if you listen to it, that the union and their attorney, Travis Ketterman, continued the apparent, in my opinion, misrepresentation in their oral argument before the appellate court! Listen to Travis; you can clearly hear him after the stammering ends address this issue. Go to:


Click on oral argument and listen to oral argument.

Click on OPINION to view final opinion.

There was not a new panel of arbitrators chosen or any written procedures in a separate document completed. Travis Ketterman and the union, in my opinion, knew this as Travis was standing in front of a 3 panel Federal Appellate hearing, continuing to deceive the court. I have proof Travis knew there was no permanent arbitration board, nor any written arbitration procedures, when he was in court as the RCEC’s attorney, Howard Bernstein, had spoken to Travis and sent e-mails back and forth on this very issue way before the oral arguments ever took place.

So, here we are, back in court and the union once again is spending huge amounts of money to defend what in the end, again, should be a lost cause.

Open Letter to Mr. Libby from Michael Prate,

What I do not understand, Mr. Libby, is why haven’t you publicly addressed items and issues from my last and other previous blogs? Specifically;

• What about the union’s attorneys getting health care benefits through the trust funds? Many of your rank and files benefits have run out, how come they cannot “buy in”?


• How come, Mr. Libby, you never went after any of the contractors my Most Favored Nations Grievance clearly proved were paying piecework until they owed you huge sums of money they couldn’t pay and then closed their doors owing the funds millions of dollars of which YOU SHOULD HAVE COLLECTED!

• Because you did not collect monies you knew were due the union and funds, you made Prate and ALL OTHER LEGITMATE SIGNATORY CONTRACTORS less competitive in the marketplace as you kept coming back to us for more money for the funds! Maybe, if you would have done your job correctly, you would have collected monies owed the funds and all of our “unfunded liability” would be much less.

• The union has yet to negotiate with RCEC for a new contract. During the last time around the threat from the union was that if RCEC contractors did not sign, we would be non-union and they would come after us for unfunded or withdrawal liability!

• Mr. Libby, I dare you! In my opinion, your union knowingly did not do it’s job and collect huge amounts that were due! The truth will come out. Myself and several other contractors are waiting for the union or funds to “go after” any RCEC contractor like that and then respond with a class action, holding the union responsible, not just the contractor!

• Do not forget, Mr. Libby, you as President of the union and also head of the trust funds, know exactly what is going on and you ultimately make these “business” decisions and are liable.

Michael Prate

I will be addressing more items and issues on a more frequent basis again. I am still in touch with my “inside” contact at the union and have other disgruntled union members providing me information.

The Carpenters Union, while pretending to want to resolve my other issues, keeps ignoring the basic business principle that the rest of us need to practice to survive, which is, a business deal has to be good for both parties! The days of this union’s “one way street” are over. You can see how their financial picture is changing rapidly, look it up. Watch what Frank Libby does in this new case with Prate. I would be willing to bet he makes a big deal out of spending huge amounts of legal dollars to not only fight me again, but to continue to try and break me by going back to harassment, defamation and frivolous legal battles, all to continue to defend something they cannot defend, they deliberately and knowingly wronged Prate. All I want is to be made whole, that is what I fought over 8 years for and I will not quit until that happens! Justice will prevail!

The latest case the union just filed in Federal court is clearly an example, four attorneys are listed, FOUR! How much is that per hour Mr. Libby? Tell us all how much union money you are willing to spend to fight a losing battle while you had to lay off how many union employees? How much money did you pay Whitfield’s office for the Prate’s Most Favored Nations case besides the millions you had to pay Prate?

Thank you all for your ongoing interest and support. Hopefully soon you will be reading more in the press.


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Carpenter Union Update

April 18, 2010
Blog #8

It has been a while since my last blog. I have a great one ready for the day the appellate court rules on Prate Installations vs. Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters.

In the meantime I have something to share with you. Several months ago, the carpenters union laid off many of its employees. Evidently many of these former union employees are disgruntled by this union’s leadership and its current state of affairs. Since the lay off, I have received numerous phone calls from “anonymous” past union employees. These people have all shared with me some of the “wrong doings”, as they see it, that the CRCC has done and is still doing. They are asking for help. They want the union leadership to stop what they feel are actions detrimental to their union and trust funds.

I have been diligently researching and investigating all charges. I intend to come up with the facts and proof of these allegations and then confront the union leadership and see if they will “right the wrongs” amicably before I proceed to legal remedies.

I have also received several “anonymous” letters addressed to me; these letters have outlined, in detail, situations the writer thinks are wrong if not illegal.
I am including in this blog a copy of a letter I sent to CRCC President Frank Libby. Read the letter and ask Frank Libby about this as I have. I will keep you posted as to his response. In my letter, I am asking him for details about allegations a former union employee has made about the union giving preferential treatment to, what the writer of the letter refers to as the, “scumbag law firm” of Collins, Whitfield, McGann & Ketterman. This alleged special treatment has to do with medical benefits that are supposed to be for card holding members of the union or signatory employers who have non-union employees listed monthly and pay in 175 hours per month for this benefit.

In the meantime, I thank all of you that have shared with me information and ammunition to go after this union and its leadership to correct the wrongs they might be doing. Keep the information coming. I will respect your desire to remain anonymous! I hope to build a large enough case that I can convince our government to step in and protect our pension funds and oversee this union’s daily activities. Considering all the things this union has done in the past, I would be willing to bet that there are still things going on that are wrong and possibly illegal. Please help me change this.

Enclosed is my letter to Frank Libby. Let’s see if we get honest forthright answers to the questions I post.
To view the document click this link:


Thank you,


Monday, February 22, 2010

Please Note

February 22, 2010
Blog #7

I apologize that I have not posted anything new for a few weeks. I did on January 24, 2009, but was advised I should remove it for now. The reason is that I had posted more information about the carpenters union and their attorney’s ongoing deceitful practices. My attorney was concerned that until the appellate court rules, we should wait and not post anything else. With the 7 year stall the union has promoted in this case, I am in agreement.

I will again, once the court has ruled, start posting the evidence and backup documents showing everyone how the union has been cheating its members and breaching its fiduciary responsibilities to its signatory contractors.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Blog #5 January 21, 2010


I have been asked many times “How long has this been going on?” Today, I will lay out the reasons for you to see and the facts to back up what I say as to why this Prate Installations and the Carpenters Union dispute has dragged on.

My issue with the union started in May 1998. My actual ‘”Most Favored Nations” grievance (MFN) started July 12, 2002. That was the day the Carpenters Union and Prate settled the “bogus” audit. Since that day I have sent numerous letters to Earl Oliver documenting piece work was rampant in the field. Earl responded by saying I wasn’t sending him anything specific, a B.S. stall tactic; which I later proved.

In a letter dated February 12, 2003 I finally and formally filed a grievance letter to the Carpenters Union. The union then commenced a stall tactic that delayed the actual start of the hearing until Spring of 2008. Just the undisputed fact that this union could put me off that long is wrong! In the CBA, we have to respond and jump through hoops anytime the union demands something from us, but why doesn’t it work the other way? Because they had previously gotten away with doing whatever the union management wanted to! Come next contract time, this needs to be addressed, the contract should be good both ways!

Enclosed are documents that clearly prove the union stalled Prate’s right to a grievance as long as possible. They ignored me and after numerous letters from me and my attorney, I finally said screw it and filed an “unfair labor practice” with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

Since I had beaten the Carpenters Union at the NLRB in March of 2004, Case #13-CD-664, the Union, through their attorney, Travis Ketterman, asked if I would drop my charge if he agreed to go right to arbitration. I agreed and then, as documents show, the union and their attorneys then stalled again by not responding to my request for documents by subpoena. Again for the record, over five years since my demand for arbitration, I finally prevailed and we started the actual hearings in 2008. In my next blog I will tell you why I believe the Union did not want to respond to my subpoena and why they stalled answering my subpoena.

Documents posted with this blog:

1) My letter of February 12, 2003: My first formal certified letter notifying them of my grievance.

2) My attorney’s notice to union of my grievance after they ignored my letter of February 12, 2003.

3) My attorney’s letter to the union’s attorney, Travis Ketterman, questioning the stall tactics.

4) My letter to Earl Oliver, Union and Trust Funds President, putting him on notice of specific violations by the union even as they try to avoid my grievance demand.

5) Josh Holleb, my attorney, writing again to the NLRB about the continuing violation and vunion’s refusal per March 31, 2004 ruling by the NLRB in Prate’s favor.

6) Josh Holleb’s May 11, 2004 letter the NLRB again asking to file a charge (#7) to force the union to comply with our requests. NOTE: If we contractors stalled supplying information to the union like that, they would be all over us. This is 16 months after my first notice!

7) Actual charge to the NLRB.

7½) Package of documents to the NLRB with back up as to why we have to file a charge.

8) My letter to Earl Oliver, self explanatory.

9) My attorney’s letter to the NLRB withdrawing charge as union “promised to deliver all requested information” if I would drop charges. Notice the date!

9½) Basically the same as #9.

10) The Arbitrators reply to all about the union wanting to squash my subpoena after they agreed to total compliance if I dropped my NLRB unfair practice charge. James Martin allowed my subpoena.

11) Actual subpoena.

12) List of items requested in subpoena

13) Notice date November 2004 – self explanatory.

14) Union “lame” response to our #13. Note, they want to give me documents at time of hearing, or 1 week prior. They thought I was stupid……

15) Do not miss the date, May 30, 2007, still trying to force the union to produce documents. We need a penalty in the contract for conduct like this. As employers we would never have gotten a way with this conduct!

See the Documents here:  http://home.comcast.net/~carpenterwatch/BLOG5DOCS.pdf

I hope you have one major question, such as, why would the union stall this grievance for so long? I will answer that with the next posting.


Michael A. Prate

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Per Your Requests, A Little Bit About Me. The Author Of This Blog

January, 2010

I have been asked to post a biography on this site by multiple people. I have, all my life, maintained a degree of privacy. In light of the situation I am involved in with the union and what I am posting for you to see, I agree that a little about me is fair. Question is, what do you want to know? What is too much or too little? Here is my attempt…..

My name is Michael Anthony Prate. I was born May 10, 1952. I am 6 feet tall and weigh 180. I have brown eyes and brown hair.

I was born in Chicago Illinois on a fine spring day. I was placed with Evangelical Child Welfare agency in Chicago until a foster home was found for me. I was with my foster parents, Ben and Gertrude Boss, for a period of 13 years. We lived in Palos Hills and Oak Forest. The Boss family was of Dutch heritage and a religious household. My religious upbringing was in the Christian Reformed Church. I had been baptized Catholic. I had no idea I was a “foster child” until one day I was told my father was coming to visit. Shortly after, there was a custody hearing and I ended up in Chicago at 900 N. St. Louis Avenue with my father and my stepmother. What a shock and change! From an all white upper middle class parochial high school, (Chicago Christian) to a Chicago Public High School, Rezin Orr High School. I graduated from Orr in 1970.

I have been working since I was nine years old. Growing up in my financially struggling foster home with 5 siblings wasn’t easy, but we survived. I had a paper route, cut lawns and did anything anyone needed including babysitting. Being able to earn an income gave me a sense of accomplishment that I was helping the family. At 11, I was pumping gas at Nick’s Marathon on 147th and Central after school, weekends and in summer. I was also learning how to work on cars from one of Nick/s mechanics (David Heinemann). When our neighbor had an addition put on I was fascinated. The general contractor let me help clean up, move materials and such on the site. This was my first introduction to construction sites!

When I moved to the city I found work through a property manager that owned several properties at the Grand and Damen area. My new stepmother worked at Petricca’s on Western Avenue and Grand Avenue. I would go see her after school and get to go to the Blackhawks games on the charter bus, someone always had an extra ticket. (Yes, I am a 44 year long Blackhawks fan! Go Hawks!)

At 15, I had my own studio apartment about 2 blocks from my father’s house. Our relationship was strained and I found it easier to be on my own. At that time I worked the midnight shift at a Clark gas station on Chicago Avenue and Kedzie Avenue. I was in the Fillmore Police District (many great stories!!) I was also attending school and working after school at Federal Envelope Company on Sacramento Blvd. Two jobs and school left little time to get in trouble, but…..

I spent my summers laboring for several contractors, Chell & Anderson, Herlihy Mid-Contintent Construction and Slezak Construction were a few. I enjoyed being around the trades. Upon graduation from high school, I decided to get into one of the trades. I settled on finishing concrete and had a good job working my way through the apprenticeship.

On a jobsite one day I met a shingler, Jack Petty. We became friends over a period of time. Jack had told me about roofing and the idea of piece work really appealed to me. I left concrete and Jack taught me how to shingle. Jack was a great shingler, but a poor businessman. His company, Palatine Roofing, would have work some days and none on others. I left and tried several other companies including Rosenow Roofing for a short period of time.

Around the middle of 1971 I was not happy with how most of these companies treated me, the customers, or the job, so I went to work for a man that I had met previously (Horst Herzing of Herzing Roofing Company in Arlington Heights). When I started working for Herzing there were 3 employees including myself. Horst sold work and played cards in the back room of the office. After 9 months I was estimating work in the afternoons after shingling all morning. The business was growing and I was looking for security. Horst kept making me promises and in mid 1973 I cornered him with an ultimatum. Horst thought I would not leave, so he made a lowball ridiculous and offending offer. I picked up my personal items and left, never looking back.

When I left Herzing had over 30 employees. I told the men that worked there that I would call them when I got situated and if and when I had work for them. I wasn’t in too much of a hurry to find a job. I had plenty of “side work”. The side work never ended and in 1974, while roofing a house for an attorney, I got educated on what it took to become a “legitimate” business. In 1974, Michael A. Prate, Inc. was incorporated. 36 years later we are still here! I have been fortunate to prosper in my business life and I am blessed with 8 children and 4 grandchildren.

Today, Prate Installations is a full service roofing company. We have had a “full package” approach to the customer for over 20 years. We include roofing of any kind, shingles, shakes, slate and tile, sheet metal of all types including; standing seam roof and ornamental work. We also provide flat roofing and related flashings, insulation and siding; including Hardie round out our complete exterior package along with fascia, soffit and complete gutter systems of any materials. Our work includes new construction, the tearoff and reroof work and covers residential, industrial and commercial project. One of our major strengths is historical reproduction work.

Our main geographical area to work in is Lake Michigan on the East to Rockford out West. Indiana border to the South and Milwaukee to the North. We also travel and have recently completed large projects in; Sag Harbor, Long Island; Raleigh, North Carolina; Des Moines, Iowa and Milwaukee, Wisconsin to name a few.

Through out life I have tried to live and practice at work as well as home the Golden Rule, “Treat others as you would like to be treated”. Most of the time this does work.

I currently sit on the Board of Directors of the Residential Contractors Employment Council (R.C.E.C.) and have since 1998. I am a Director of The Construction Industry Service Corp (C.I.S.C.O.), and have served as a Director of The Chicago Roofing Contractors Association (C.R.C.A.), and am now Secretary of this organization. I have served as a Director of the Wauconda Chamber of Commerce and was President of that organization for 2 years.

Through Prate Installations and myself personally, we have always believed in helping others. Throughout the years we have donated cash and services to many individuals and organizations. Until the 2008 recession, Prate Installations sponsored an annual “Make-A-Wish/Prate Golf Outing” and successfully raised over $95,000.00 to grant the wishes of many children from the Make-A-Wish Foundation. We offer below market value discounts for churches and charitable organizations and enjoy distributor and manufacturers support in these offerings.

The rest, and there is so much more, would be too much to digest right now. The blogs fill in some of the time from 1998 to current.

Perhaps the one important thing you should know about me and my 10 year fight with the Carpenters Union is that it is not about money. The dollar never meant much to me and I never had any aspirations of high earnings. What did matter to me was to be the best at whatever I did! Low and behold, financial rewards happened! What is most important to me is that I have kept my commitment to my employees, of which I still have my original employee (Tim McGill) working for me for 35 years now.

I believe that The Carpenters Union, with malicious intent, attempted to destroy me and Prate Installations. This was because I forced Earl Oliver (deceased past president of the union) to quit extorting from my industry and be accountable to me and all of the other signatory contractors to the Carpenters Union. Earl was a bully. I have always disliked bullies and have a documented history of defending others against bullies. I did not care how tough he was, how much money the union had, what they were and are doing now is wrong. The Carpenters Union just always had gotten away with their one sided approach. Rock the boat and they crushed you.

I started with nothing. If I end up with nothing, that’s o.k., not fair, but o.k. But I will never let a bully organization like the Chicago Carpenters Union screw over me or all of you card holding union members.

My ultimate goal is to be made whole for what this union wrongfully did to me, my family, my company, my employees and their families. Along with that this is exposing to all of you Carpenter Union members how I believe you are being cheated, knowingly by these guys, you union’s officials and their attorneys. At some point I hope to get the U.S. Government involved to protect your pension funds. This union doesn’t care about you. Ask yourself “What has the Carpenters Union done for me?”

Before I end this bio, let me make it perfectly clear that Michael Prate did not take on the Carpenters Union and beat them alone. I could not have done it without the tremendous amount of support from family, employees, vendors and friends. I will elaborate more on that once the final appellate decision comes down. To those that supported my efforts in this crusade, thank you, your sacrifices are not in vain.

My goal is that, through this blog, you will learn what I unfortunately have had to live with, which is the truth about the Carpenters Union officials.


Michael A. Prate

Monday, January 11, 2010

More Examples Of What Goes On With YOUR Union

Blog #4 January 5, 2010

Dear Carpenters Union Members,

What I am going to show you today is just one example of dozens of documented instances where literally millions and millions of dollars of your pension fund dollars knowingly went uncollected by your union. If the union had no knowledge of monies due, then I would understand, but your union knew about these cases and chose not to collect! Why? Send a certified letter to Frank Libby and ask him why?

Mr. Frank Libby

Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters

12 East Erie Street

Chicago, IL 60611-2796

Phone: 312-787-3076

You can also contact the union’s attorneys and ask them why. You can reach them at

Whitfield, McGann & Ketterman

111 East Wacker Drive, Suite 2600

Chicago, IL 60601

Phone: 312-251-9700

You can also contact the Funds Administrator at and ask her why.

Kristina Guastaferri

Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters

12 East Erie Street

Chicago, IL 60611-2796

Phone: 312-787-3076

Back to this case in specific. In 2003, I had two carpenter union members come in and apply for work at Prate. Manuel Estrella and Lencil Sanchez filled out all the proper paper work Prate requires per federal and state guidelines. On Prate’s employment application we are very specific about past employment history and what and how your previous pay was. Both of these union carpenters had put down on the applications that KAP Roofing was one of their prior employers. Both men listed “piece work” as to how they were paid. Upon receiving this information, my Human Resources person brought it to me. I personally met with both men and discussed their work history, including pay. Once these men realized that they had not been paid properly, they asked what they could do and would I help. I gave them Tom Shipley’s phone number from Local 1307 at the Carpenters Union and told the men they should take their well documented evidence to Tom and see what he would do. This all happened on 05/02/03, Guess what, 4 years later these men still had not received proper wages or pension credits (Document #6). How does this contribute to the pension dollars I am talking about that the union knowingly did not collect? Keep following…..

On September 30, 2008, Case Number 08-C-4064 was filed by the Carpenters Pension Fund against KAP Roofing (Document #7). The charge was $689,099.73 for the period of audit of January 2005 through December 2007. Please note a very pertinent issue, what about all the years prior the January 2005 that I had notified the union they were being cheated? Could the $959,076.36 been double that amount? The union, in the suite, claims it will be ready for the trial on or after January 17, 2009. Note the attorney, Travis Ketterman, their same union attorney in Prates Most Favored Nations case!

Now go to Document #8. This also is a court order in regards to the union and KAP Roofing. Read specifically the underlined parts! Guess what union members, you got screwed again! Case “dismissed” because KAP went out of business! How much did this company truly owe the funds we will never know? What we do know is that if the union had been doing its job since 2002, which is to enforce its contract unilaterally, these huge dollar amounts would have been collected and allocated to these men’s pension. Now, the rest of us signatory employers have to pay for the union’s breach of fiduciary in this case. There are many more like this. I can show you if you would like, let me know.

Enjoy the read, contact the people listed and let them know you are concerned about your pension and what the union is doing to protect your interests You can also call or write Eugene Wachtel, the attorney for the Employers Trustees, (their job is to protect your pension and monitor the unions compliance). You can reach Eugene Wachtel at:

Eugene H. Wachtel

c/o Lord Bissel Brook LLP

111 South Wacker Drive

Chicago, IL 60606-4410


I have enclosed 8 documents to back up my allegations:

1. Prate controller writing to Pension Fund compliance person. Note that Doug Kaeser wrote this because at the time, I had a hard time being civil with anyone from the union!

2. Pension Fund letter to Manuel Estrella telling him the last contribution to his pension was in March of 2003 and none since.

3. Copy of letter from Manuel to President of Union, Earl Oliver, making the President of the Union and head of the Trust Funds personally aware of how he (and all of you union members) had been cheated.

4. Another letter from Doug Kaeser of Prate still trying to help these men get proper wages and benefits. Is that not the union’s job?

5. Another notice to union by Prate, note that the union’s attorneys were also aware in July of 2003 of delinquent wages and benefits.

6. Letter to Arbitrator Martin in my Most Favored Nations Case from Manuel Estrella when he was supposed to testify, notice the date!

7. Pension Funds suit against KAP Roofing.

8. Pension Fund and Court dismiss suite.

Click here to view the case documents http://home.comcast.net/~carpenterwatch/BLOG4DOCS.pdf

So union members, the documents clearly show that Earl Oliver, President of the Union and Head of the Trust Funds; Tom Shipley from Local 1307; Travis Ketterman, the Union’s Attorney; John Jaeger, the Funds Compliance Officer; Harold Boswell, Funds Employee; James Rosemeyer, Fund Collector, and Sergio Garcia, Local 1307 Business Agent, all knew these men were being cheated by KAP Roofing and to this day, did not correct the wrongs they were aware of!

P.S. What do you think would have happened if the employer was Prate!

Respectfully submitted,

Michael A. Prate

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Let's Go Back To 2002


I hope everyone had a good New Year. I’ve been busy with many things and unfortunately have been falling behind in my postings. I was hoping to weekly update this site with more history of what has been going on and how you Union Carpenters are not getting the best fiduciary representation from your elected officials as far as your pensions are concerned.

Let’s go back to 2002. I had a bogus audit from the Carpenters union demanding 2.5 million dollars they claimed I owed the trust funds. In early March of 2002 the union picketed and struck all of Prate Installations jobsites with the intent of putting us out of business. Earl Oliver, to my face, told me that “Since you are the largest residential roofer, I’m going to make an example out of you and put you out of business.” Marty Umlauf was sitting next to Earl and laughing. After 5 months of losing work, working nights and weekends to keep up with field production demands and battling with the union to get the strike stopped, I finally settled. I basically settled because my controller was worried about how long we could hold out from the union’s tactics, illegal as they were, the judicial system takes forever and we were bleeding a slow death.

With the proverbial “gun to my head” I settled with the union. Sure enough, another confidential settlement agreement was demanded by the union and I had no choice but to sign it. That was July 12th, 2002, just days after I filed a suit in federal court. I’ve enclosed my suit so you can clearly understand what was going on with the union. The union’s long time practice of this scam was wrong to me and I vowed at the settlement to “have my day”!

What was interesting at the time was that the union, through their attorneys, represented to Magistrate Mason, that piecework was a violation of ERISA law and cheated the union members’ pension. No mention by the union to the Magistrate that the UNION had unclean hands and was participating with a segment of the specialty trades and cheating the members pension fund by allowing and having a piecework contract with the Overhead door industry.

After I settled and the union sent a letter to all my customers that “we would all go forward in a positive direction for all parties”, the union struck and picketed Prate again! This was within two months of the settlement!

I went to the NLRB, as I had also been signatory to the Roofers Union local 11. I filed an unfair labor charge as Local 11 claimed shingle work the same as the carpenters union did and I’d been signatory with the roofers union for years. I had many men in local 11 and decided that I would prefer dealing with them on shingle work rather than the carpenters union. This pissed off Earl Oliver even more and he again threatened me with the NEXT union president, Marty Umlauf, again sitting by his side laughing.

Well guys, the last laugh was mine! On March 31st, 2004, the National Labor Relations Board ruled in my favor on shingle jurisdiction. The case # is 13-cd-664 if anyone is interested. Click here to view the case documents http://home.comcast.net/~carpenterwatch/BLOG3DOCS.pdf
This ruling hurt the carpenters union because immediately, I along with other large shingle contractors began using MORE Local 11 roofers for shingle work. This in turn HURT YOUR PENSION FUND because suddenly, thousands of hours of benefits were NOT going to the Carpenters union anymore, they were going to Local 11. How smart was the now President Mary Umlauf? Not very!

I sent Marty a letter after Earl had died, asking him if he was willing to “start over and proceed forward in a positive manner for both of us”. I never got a reply. Click here to view the letter http://home.comcast.net/~carpenterwatch/BLOG3DOCSb.pdf
). I tried again but my appeal for a working relationship with the carpenters union fell on deaf ears.

Absorb what I’ve posted and I will continue to show you how your pensions have been adversely affected due to the Carpenters union actions, or lack of.

I will next start to post samples of hundreds of certified letters I started to send to the Carpenters union detailing that they were NOT doing their job and collecting the right amount of benefits for the funds, there by breaching their fiduciary responsibility to you members!

Stay tuned!