May 14, 2020 Alaska Info Meeting

Alaska Info Meeting | May 14, 2020 @ 6PM via Zoom

1). Intros and best practices for zoom meeting

2). Shared info of Alaska Representatives for members

NW Carpenters Union Alaska Representatives Contact Info:

Scott Hansen, Regional Manager: 907-240-8699
Chris Dimond, Statewide Lead: 907-290-9007
Stephen Abel, Piledriver Rep: 907-230-6232
Kevin Mackey, Piledriver Rep: 907-201-1580
Kirk Perisich, Carpenter Rep: 907-321-0047
Joe Pugliese, Millwright Rep: 907-317-8606
AJ Sutton, FBX Rep: 907-482-0158
Dustin Swatek, Carpenter Rep/Contracts Department: 907-290-9286

Other attendees:

Frank Mucci, Training Center Director
Dan Mathews, President of Local 1281
Josh Bolton, President of Local 1243 and Fairbanks Training Coordinator
Jonni Ketcher, Communications Specialist, LU 1503

3). Resources for COVID-19 Updates

ICRA (Infection Control Risk Assessment) Training is available for NW Carpenters Union members and signatory contractors:
This training is a great way to ensure you know proper infectious risk control containment protocols on any job site you work on.

Additional Training Info for members can be found at

Tele-doc is available to members to save on costs of going into clinics or hospitals to reduce possible COVID-19 exposure. This feature is available to members via the trust plan.

COVID-19 Safety Be sure to reach out to a rep about any job site that does not practice proper safety measures. It is imperative that members are kept safe.

4). Updates on Contract Negotiations from Dustin Swatek

The negotiation committee has been putting in long hours during the week, however, due to COVID-19 and its subsequential effects, new courses of action have been considered.

Alaska has been affected greatly by COVID-19. The committee has recommended a 1-year extension for the ratification process. Over 8 jobs have been shut down and it has affected 79 carpenters and 7 millwrights. Few jobs have opened back up. There are still issues of funding facing Alaska due to lack of tourism this year and the issue of getting materials in. That is why a vote is opening t members to decide if we should extend this ratification process.

A YES vote says that ratification will be extended to next year and a NO vote will mean negotiations will go forward.

You can use your UBC number (do not enter dashes or spaces) to sign in. If you are having trouble logging in, contact a rep to help you sign in.

Members can vote HERE

4). Updates from AKTC Training Director Frank Mucci

The CITF, the international, has extended all CITF certifications by 120 days. Several training centers have been closed.

There is the ICRA training available. You can take the online awareness training before you are registered for the in-person training. There are a lot of contractors requiring a COVID safety plan in place, so it’s recommended to get trained up.

The training center is back up and running, first-time piledriver training started on Monday, May 11th. Classes are being kept to under 10 apprentices. They are doing 3 weeks of training, back to back. In Fairbanks, they are applying a similar approach.

After talking with the Labor Trustees, the Training Center is considering opening up applications again. There is a chance more applicants can apply, be accepted, trained up, and be ready to work by next year.

A big focus right now is getting people trained and focusing on workforce development so we can support our signatory contractors.

In Juneau, Matt Schenker has left the Training Center. We are looking for more instructors. Training has been reduced for now.

Updates from Fairbanks Training Coordinator Josh Bolton

Apprentice training starts on Monday, May 18th. The JATC did apprentice candidate interviews last week. 18 apprentices were selected. JATC felt there was enough work. 17 were accepted. Classes will be split. 

There will be 4 weeks with the first 9, covering safety on the job sites, and providing as much hands-on as is safe. The second class will be in Mid June, with 8 in the class. 

As far as journeyman upgrades go, they are going to try and supply scaffold classes by the end of July.

4). Questions

Q: Jonathan

Does anyone on the rank and file side know how much work is going on this year compared to the last few years?

There are some upcoming jobs with Davis later this fall, Neeser has a core and shell project on 5th ave, Highpoint construction has 3 jobs coming up this summer. Ryan Elementary coming up in the coming weeks, and a senior housing complex that’s a midsummer start, and something happening out in the Prince William Sound with Chenega Native Corporation. Roger Hickel has 13 projects on the books, with a lot of school work and other projects.

For Millwrights there’s a job at the Ellie Power Plant. In Juneau there is a 12 million SEALASKA project that should be starting this summer.

Pilebucks had a good start this spring and most contractors are busy and full swing. Ghemm Company has a large log of potential projects set for the next couple of years.

Due to COVID and the general way it has affected our lives, it is hard to predict upcoming changes.

Raziel Nelson: When will we know if there are openings and when will those applications be available, if there are any openings?

It’s going to happen quick–probably early June. There will be 4 or 5 slots available. 

Jonathon Dunbar: Does anyone on the rank and file side know how much work is going on this compared to the last few years?

Scott Hansen: There has been a significant downturn over the last 4-5 years. The price of oil has dipped down and has affected much of the work in Alaska. We have been helping contractors through market recovery. Refinery work has been cut back. Compared to 5-6 years ago we are still 20-25% down in hours overall.

(Info added after meeting: 2020 March: 94,887.25—2015 March: 136,281.75)

Jack Campbell: For the divers are pretty flat out right now. Everyone at American Marine has been working non-stop since February, although I’m not sure how much work is going on for the Piledrivers.

Gabe Shaddy-Farnsworth: Gotten a slew of calls from contractors looking for hands. They have trouble filling their spots right now, but there is a need for work.

Frank Mucci: With work being abundant in the present and the future full of uncertainty, with a “No” vote, would it be possible to negotiate a 1 year contract with the AGC and still capitalize on the our opportunity to collectively bargain to tie a percentage to training and get our members and increase on the the check?

Dustin Swatek:The short answer is no. The committee thought about pushing it out for a year, but oftentimes, the language takes longer than economics.

Jonathan Dunbar: What is the demand for hands in all crafts including apprentices?

Scott Hansen: Most all apprentices are out dispatch right now. Scott says he doesn’t have a stack of unfilled job calls.

Dan Mathews:How many people are out of work right now?

Scott Hansen: It’s impossible to tell exactly right now. Going by the reports on man-hours, we’re ok right now and people are working. Washington got completely shut down, whereas Alaska was not. They are slowly going back to work, but Alaska didn’t get hit as bad. I can only go by reports I get on man-hours from the Trust reports.

Dustin Swatek: With Contractors/Members not using mix 20/20, it has also been harder to know exact numbers.

Micah Mathew: what do you mean membership is down?

Scott Hansen: In 2007, there was a lot of overtime, a lot of projects. Now jobs have slowed down, 1170. In 2017, we took in the millwrights, we had about 1300. Nowadays, we’re at 757*. We were taking in 30-50 apprentices typically. Now we are at 20-25.

Frank Mucci: Numbers have been climbing back, but they are still lower than they were. Active apprentices today: 140. An all-time high of classes was 60 in a class. But we have been at around 20-40 per class in the last few years. 

(*This number was amended from 800 after the meeting in order to reflect accurate information)

Jonni Ketcher: Is there additional training outside of ICRA to improve the likelihood of being hired on right now?

Kevin Mackey: The need for welders is pretty large. Steve and myself have been scratching our heads trying to find more members. There is a lot of work for welders and that has been hard to fill. It’s the most utilized skill in our trade. (Piledrivers)

Scott Hansen: We’re the best around and in the state, though the more you learn and take in, the more employable you are. There is often a need for a ceiling grid person. A good Door Hardware carpenter is another one that’s typically in demand. Also, show up on time, don’t come in drunk, and don’t fail a piss test.

Dustin Swatek: A lot of what our contractors are looking for is to show up with a good attitude–it goes a long way.

Dan Mathews: Is there ever a good time to negotiate a contract?

Scott Hansen: Go ask WA and OR. They got 5% raises. Their economy is booming. They are staying busy. We talk about losing members and it’s often because they’ve moved down there. The best time to negotiate is when the economy is flying.

Dustin Swatek: Member participation, Economy, and Control of the Market. You have a good opportunity to come out on top when you have those three working together.

Jonathon Dunbar: If we wait, would we be able to put a stipulation on back pay?

Dustin Swatek: No, due to how the contract is written.

Dan Mathews: Can you clarify how much the membership got on the check the last contract? and when that was?

Scott Hansen: Nothing much. We got 7 cents into the pension, then 50 cents that went into pension and health. And last year we got 75 cents which also went into pension and training. We haven’t had a raise on the check yet.

Raziel Nelson: How long will the (contract) vote be up?

Dustin Swatek:From Wednesday May 13th at 6pm until next Monday May 18 @ 6AM.

Micah Mathew: Why are we taking less apprentices than before?

Scott Hansen: Supply and demand. We are fortunate we got apprentices out to work. When you end up losing members, they walk away with an idea of the union being shit and it stays with them. We had a Native startup class that was sponsored through a Native Corp. The last really good economic time was when we had a class of so many we undertook too few and so we took another 15 or 20 for a quick start class.

Frank Mucci: At one point, we had 50 apprentices and only 12 graduated. We need to take in apprentices the market can support rather than weeding out apprentices with a sink or swim approach, we need to set them up for success. We want to set them up with the tools to be successful in the industry.

Micah Mathew: will there be more welding classes going on this year

Frank Mucci: I’m planning for a full two weeks– two separate one week blocks–one around December around Christmas Break, and one at the end of the third year pilebucks class, right when we are in the bulk of the welding class operations. I was in Juneau last week and I plan to make a point to be there at least once a year. It’s a small facility but a great one. We hope to keep training people up so they can stay current and keep those jobs going.

Jonathon Dunbar: Do any of the rank and file members on the committee have any reasons why now would be a good time to negotiate?

Jack Campbell: From my perspective, talking to members. Finding out if there is going to be work, which varies by work, by trade, by time of year. My opinion is that we should push for negotiating now, because the dive companies are in a tough spot and need work. They can’t fly people in and they’re hurting for guys, so we can use it as leverage. The company could fly people in, but it would be expensive due to two week quarantine. However, I also understand if we wait a year it could be much more beneficial in the long term.

Gabe Shaddy-Farnsworth: A lot has been said on why the committee has asked members to ratify–there’s a lot of uncertainty. There are reasons to believe the dire projections for the state’s economy. Nobody I know is hurting for work and it sounds like projects are staying on the books, which gives us an optimistic look. There are a lot of big unknowns moving forward. It’s hard to say if our economy is going to be better in the next year, either.

Jonathon Dunbar: 3 years ago our negotiator said he hopes the membership doesn’t agree with the Bargaining agreement…because he didn’t do a good job…somehow that passed and we seen a first tine in thirty year no increased.

Scott Hansen: I don’t know if we had any raises during the 80s since things weren’t great then. The best raises were probably in ‘07 and ‘08.

Steve Abel: you talk about the 80’s, i first sat on the negotiating committee for piledrivers in 1985. First meeting was a walkout from Labor’s side. Every negotiation was a learning experience. There is a good time to negotiate, there is a bad time to negotiate. What I do is talk with the contractors and get their perspective before we go into negotiations and make a rational decision.

You gotta look at the “crystal ball” because you don’t know if it’s a good time to bring on more apprentices. You don’t know what the future holds but hopefully if we wait, times will be good. Right or wrong, if everyone else agrees, you kinda gotta agree with them. If the whole group said I was wrong, I’d have to take that into consideration. Do I think we should wait a year? Personally, Yes. If you have any more questions, contact me.

Chris Dimond: I wasn’t present on the negotiations committee 3 years ago last time. I thought it was a horrible contract and unfortunately the membership passed it. I’ve heard of contractors thinking we need a pay cut now. The state is sending back tens of millions to hundreds of millions of school bonds back to local municipalities.

I sit on Docks and Harbors in Juneau and we have been reviewing millions of dollars in work that will need to be mothballed, as there’s just no funding. No tourism money, no oil money, with oil prices dropped to rock bottom and production down by a ⅕ its hit us hard. The amount of money that this state is hemorrhaging has contractors see projects not moving forward or they are backing out from them. 

Juneau is just a small part of the overall picture and it’s hit us hard.

5). Closing Statements:

Encourage everyone to attend Tuesday so we can have a larger turnout and ensure all members are informed.

Please share the voting information and links so people can make an informed decision on the contrasts.

Did You Know?

UBC started on job sites across the country.

Our founding president, Peter J. McGuire worked tirelessly on the job sites across the country with his fellow Carpenters to organize the union. In 1881, he organized a Chicago convention to form a union. Representatives from 11 cities joined him and they produced a constitution and structure. Learn More


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