Since its founding in 1865, the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers has actively fought to improve our members’ quality of life – on and off the job – through access to fair wages, good benefits, safe working conditions, and solidarity among members.Today, we represent the most highly skilled trowel trades craftworkers across the United States and Canada including bricklayers, stone and marble masons, cement masons, plasterers, tilesetters, terrazzo and mosaic workers, and pointers/ cleaners/ caulkers. With over a century of protecting the rights of our workers, BAC is the oldest continuous union in North America.
BAC Local 1 Md., Va. & DC represents men and women working as Bricklayers, Stone Masons, Pointer Cleaner Caulkers, Terrazzo Workers, Tile Setters and Finishers in the construction trades. Our Local is comprised of five Chapters: Baltimore, Washington DC, Richmond, Norfolk, and Roanoke. Two Chapters in our Local, Baltimore and Richmond, predate the founding of the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers which occurred on October 17, 1865. The Bricklayers Union in Baltimore has been in continuous existence since March 17, 1864. The Richmond Bricklayers Union also predates the International Union but disbanded in 1875 and then was re-charted in 1885. The Washington DC Bricklayers Local was chartered by the IUBAC in 1867, Norfolk in 1887 and Roanoke in 1934. The DC Stone Masons received their BAC Charter on February 1, 1889. The International Union assimilated the Tile Setters and Finishers into the BAC in August 1925. In 1994, the International combined 18 separate BAC locals from Virginia, Maryland and DC into one local; BAC Local #1, Maryland, Virginia & DC. In June of 1999, the IU restructuring plan added 14 counties from North Carolina into Local 1’s jurisdiction. Our geographical jurisdiction of our Local includes the State of Virginia, Washington DC and the State of Maryland (except its three most western counties) plus 14 counties in North Carolina.
As is the case of most organizations The International and all its affiliates, including Local 1 Md., Va. & DC are governed by the International Constitution. Since its adoption almost 150 years ago, our Constitution has been amended and modified numerous times. These changes were adopted during the International Conventions that are held every five years. The next International convention will take place in the Fall of 2015. During the same year the International will also celebrate its 150th anniversary in October 2015. The time and place of the 2015 Convention will be announced in February 2015. Our local will celebrate its 150th Anniversary on Saint Patrick’s Day, March 17, 2014.
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Respect. It is what we all want, seek and when necessary – demand. As a Union member, a craft worker, a citizen… a human being, we gravitate toward those circumstances and people which will provide the respect we feel we deserve.
As an apprentice, many of us have endured a little hazing (“paid our dues”) in order to gain the respect of the journeymen we work with. It is a test, so to speak, of our worthiness to them and if the knowledge that they have accumulated over the years through much time and effort should be shared with you. That deserves respect, also.
When we attain the status of journeyman, it is a measure of respect that the Union, through its Apprenticeship and Training Council, has determined we deserve. In turn, the JATC and Local are hoping you will continue to work towards the betterment of yourself, those around you and the craft in general. This is one of the reasons we will celebrate 150 years as a Local in 2014.
The Union requires participation in order to function effectively for the members - through stewardship and Chapter/Local meetings. Stewards on the job help communicate Local matters and enforce the contract. When an issue cannot be resolved, they can contact the Local for assistance. Meetings offer a forum to discuss issues and hopefully, solutions. The Local is only as strong as the members’ willingness to participate constructively.
At the bargaining table, the Local negotiating team sits down with contractors to determine the fate of the next contract. Depending on our market share, current economy and various other factors, we attempt to compromise on terms that will benefit the two parties. There has to be a basic level of respect between both sides in order for the contract to practically succeed. The contractors respect us in the form of wages, benefits and working conditions. We display ours through craftsmanship, work ethic and willingness to perform to the highest standards in our trade; professionalism. You don’t need to have a white collar on to be deemed professional.
Finally, I’d like to mention self-respect; the measure of oneself and a considered perception of how others do. When you show up on the job - are you on time, dressed appropriately and ready to work to the highest standard? When you attend training or meetings - do you do the same as on expected on the job? When it comes time to break bread or receive the goods the Union offers from time to time – do you allow those who have built the Union to go first, do you take a fair share and leave enough for all to benefit - treating those as you wish to be treated?
I believe one of the virtues of any Union is our ability to work together to make ourselves stronger as people and collectively, as a community. I hope you do to. I wish you Good Luck and Prosperity in the New Year.
Respecto. Es lo que todos queremos, buscamos y cuando es necesario lo demandamos. Como miembro de unión, un artesano, un ciudadano… un humano, somos atraídos por las circunstancias y personas que nos da el respeto que nosotros creemos que meceremos.
Como un aprendiz, muchos de nosotros hemos pasado por estas inexperiencias (“pagar nuestra entrada”) para obtener el respeto de los maestros del oficio con quien trabajamos. Esto es una prueba, en otras palabras, de nuestra determinación para ellos y con el conocimiento que ellos han acumulado atreves de los años y el esfuerzo debería ser compartido con nosotros. Eso también merece respeto.
Cuando obtenemos el estatus de maestro de oficio, es una medida de respeto que la unión, por la Junta de aprendizaje y adiestramiento, ha determinado que merecemos. Sucesivamente el JATC y el local tiene la esperanza que usted va a continuar a trabajando para el mejoramiento de sí mismo, y los que están a su alrededor y en el oficio en general. Esa es una de las razones por la que nosotros vamos a celebra 150 años como un local en 2014.
La unión requiere participación para funcionar efectivamente para los miembros – por el encargado de los miembros en el trabajo y reuniones de local. El encargado en el trabajo ayudar a comunicar asuntos del local y ejecutar el contrato. Cuando hay un asunto que no puede ser solucionado, ellos pueden contactar al Local para asistencia. Las reuniones cada mes ofrecen un foro para hablar de los asuntos y con suerte, llegar a soluciones. La fuerza del Local depende en la disposición de los miembros para participar constructivamente.
En la mesa de negociaciones, el grupo Local de negociaciones se sienta con los contratistas para determinar el destino del próximo contrato. Dependiendo de la estabilidad del mercado, la economía presente y varios otros factores, nosotros intentaremos llegar a un compromiso en los términos que beneficiaran los dos partes. Hay que tener un nivel básico de respetó entre los dos partes / lados para que el contracto prácticamente tenga éxito. Los contratistas del local nos respeten nuestros salarios, beneficios y condiciones de trabajo. Nosotros lo demostraremos con nuestra artesanía, ética de trabajo y disposición realizar con los más altos estándares de nuestro oficio; profesionalmente. No se tiene que vestir de cuello blanco para ser considerado un profesional.
Finalmente, yo quisiera mencionar el amor propio; la medida en que uno se vea a sí mismo y reflejar la forma en que los otro lo hagan. Cuando usted llega al trabajo – ¿estar a tiempo, vestido apropiadamente y listo a trabajar a con los más altos estándares? ¿Cuándo asistes a el entrenamiento o reuniones – haces lo mismo que es esperado en el trabajo? Cuando llega tiempo de partir el pan o recibir los bienes que la Unión ofrece de tiempo a tiempo – ¿dejas aquellos que han construido la Unión ir primero, tomas una parte justa y dejas suficiente para que todos se beneficien – tratando a otros como tu quesera ser tratado?
Yo creo que uno de las virtudes de cualquier Unión es nuestra habilidad de trabajar juntos para hacernos más fuertes como personas y grupo, como una comunidad. Espero que tú también lo pienses así. Les deseo buena suerte y prosperidad en el Nuevo Año.
Happy New Years! Hope you have enjoyed the Holidays. We can all hope that work continues to improve in the Washington/Baltimore area in 2014. Hours worked improved during 2013 although the hours worked are still well below pre-recession levels. During 2013 most of our contracts were successfully renegotiated, however the Bricklayers will have to sit down at the bargaining table again in the first part of 2014. Fortunately, the work load for the Baltimore/Washington Bricklayers has been improving as of late and that will make negotiations a little easier. Speaking of contracts, the negotiating teams, both past and present, have worked extremely hard to negotiate contracts with our employers that established favorable work rules, wages and benefits for their brothers and sisters. Members undermine all the good contained in these agreements when they “vote” not to abide by what is written in their collectively bargained agreements. If this practice was such a good idea, the negotiating committee would have fought to get it put in writing. Personal make up days for straight time are not permissible in any of our contracts. In 2014, most of the Federal holidays that the Local observes will fall on a Monday or Friday. The exceptions are; New Year’s Day, Veterans Day (Tuesday November 11) and Christmas which falls on a Thursday. Thanksgiving involves both Thursday and Friday in the DC Chapter.
The Locals’ financial position improved during 2013 especially during the second half of the year. Barring unforeseen circumstances, that trend should continue into 2014. The Local continues to look for a full time Organizer. If you are interested in this job, please contact President Scott Garvin.
Although the Richmond, Norfolk and Roanoke Chapters were merged into Local 8 SE last July, Local 1 still has a great interest in Virginia politics. Our jurisdiction still includes 16 counties and the cities of Alexandria and Fredericksburg in Northern Virginia. As you may recall, Northern Virginia was crucial in electing Terry McAuliffe as the next governor of Virginia. The campaign for Maryland’s’ next Governor is already underway. We should get a better idea of what the candidates for office are willing to do for Unions during the next legislation session in Annapolis that begins in January. The DC and Baltimore Building Trades are getting involved much earlier and are more focused on specific candidates than they have been in the past. They will be looking for candidates to commit to approving Project Labor Agreements, Prevailing Wages and enforcement. At this time it appears that Maryland Governor O’Malley is somewhat more favorable to PLA’s than he has been in the past and it looks like there will be legislation passed in Maryland and DC for a sizable increases in the minimum wage. Virginia on the other hand is a right to work for less state and it is expected they will continue to be so. The Feds on the other hand don’t seem to be able to get anything right. They are the wild card when it comes to a successful economy.
The staff of Local 1 wishes all of you, your families and loved ones a safe and prosperous year in 2014.
The response has certainly been overwhelmingly mute, that is to say there has not been a single request to participate in the continuing education courses as I have offered. Perhaps it is nothing other than the fact that most simply feel as though they don’t have the time to devote to such pursuits, that their schedules are merely too full to accommodate any other commitments. The point is, I have not received a single response, neither positive nor negative, which makes it impossible to determine what the issue might be. Let me humbly make the following request; if there is some training that you would like to see offered and or if you really believe that continuing education is nonsensical, then please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would appreciate the input.
To that end, and during the interim, I will attempt to utilize ‘our’ Newsletter as a means of introducing bits and pieces of information that would typically be introduced in those courses being offered. For a number of years one of the most popular classes, per IMI’s Instructor Certification Program (ICP), was a course I’d taught titled, “Arches, Domes and Vaults”. That as they say, is today’s lesson, or at least a small excerpt from that course.
Prior to the development of the arch (thousands of years ago) the only available means for spanning an opening such as a door or window was the ‘post and lintel’ method. Utilizing two vertical elements, called posts, which were set to plumb to left and right of the opening and then spanned by the horizontal/level piece called a lintel (see # 1). When constructed of masonry the problems were as follows; the posts being under compression can withstand phenomenal loads in this position. However masonry in a horizontal orientation, the lintel, is under tension and fails miserably in this condition. And so, the material of choice for the lintel (until the introduction of reinforced concrete) was wood because it performs exceptionally well in tension. The problem then was time, as wood in a relatively short period of time decays and fails which ultimately can lead to the failing of large portions of the building. Unwilling to accept defeat b builders continued their search to resolve this age old design problem of how to successfully span an opening with masonry.
Such changes in construction were exclusively ‘experiential’ or based on trial and error from which it was hoped that better methods were developed as a result. In addressing the continuing problem of spanning an opening builders began experimenting with 1. Triangular units such as found in the ‘jack-arch’, which is a segmented lintel based on an inverted triangle (#2). The use of corbelling units to create the span sometimes coupled with various keyed or triangular units. Again through numerous attempts with subsequent successes and failures and roughly somewhere between these two approaches the arch was developed (#3&4)
The ARCH was used extensively throughout the history of architectural design and construction that is up until recently when the “architectural engineers” started organizing and imposing their will on the design and construction industries. Although an indispensable profession to the overall process of building today it has lost faith in the ARCH, or all domical forms (forms based on the arch, such as domes and vaults) in general. Despite the evidence of countless number of existing arches, domes and vaults the engineering industry has turned its back on the concept of a true masonry domical form and will only sign-off on such constructs if they are reinforced and fully dependent on large amounts of steel straps and suspenders.
When engineers are confronted with the question as to why they are so remiss about the use of ‘true‘ masonry arched or domical elements they have, after much conversation and dodging, will finally admit that “the United States is a very litigious culture and thus we cannot take the risk of a failure”. Bottom line is they have not spent the time or energy to learn MASONRY. Not to mention that their training/education never included much outside of reinforced concrete, steel and glass and as such the same holds true for architects as well. Disheartening as it sounds it is true.
Keep in mind that the origin of the word ‘architect’ was in definition of the trades-man referred to as a technician of arches, and that originally there was no architect but only the MASTER MASON. The master mason who held fast to the ‘sacred geometry’ (that process and art of designing using stereotomy, geometry, and ratios & proportions) was responsible for designing, engineering and ultimately building of structures such as cathedrals, castles and fortresses.
In Conclusion, a final word:
Luis Khan, 20th century architect, said “ask a brick what it wants to be, and it will answer an ARCH!”. Along the same train of thought, if I ask a mason what they want to build, the answer is probably the same…. An ARCH!
M. Stokes Redabaugh,
Director of Apprenticeship and Training