The Building Tradesman Newspaper

Sweeney to building trades: right to organize, filibuster top 2004 legislative agenda

By Mark Gruenberg
PAI Staff Writer

'ABC programs do not work' - Study points out lousy nonunion training record

WASHINGTON D.C. - The Building and Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO on April 11 released the final report in an extensive two-year study of apprenticeship programs sponsored by the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). ..

Landmark St. Hugo carillon a delight for the eyes and ears

Question: What do you call a structure that's 10 stories tall, has no bathroom or elevator, with the only interior spaces being two closet-sized rooms?

Hint: At the very top are 48 bells of various sizes, which will be able to gong melodies that old-time bell-ringers could only dream of playing.

Answer: It's a one-of-a-kind carillon tower, and construction of the structure at St. Hugo of the Hills Catholic Church in Bloomfield Hills is nearing completion. Doing the work are building trades union workers, general contractor Barton-Malow and its subcontractors.

"I'll tell ya, when we this started I didn't know a thing about bells," said Jerry Slusarski, project superintendent for Barton-Malow, which is overseeing the construction. "I still don't. But as for the tower, I think it's beautiful. Passers-by stop and talk to us and you can tell they've become more impressed as we've gone higher with the exterior masonry. It's a very impressive structure."

St. Hugo of the Hills' pastor, Monsignor Anthony Tocco, said he had his doubts about the varying colors in the tower's masonry panels in the project's early stages. "But they blended into each other beautifully," he said.

The tower is clad with more than 1,600 pieces of Mankato Kasota limestone from Minnesota. The masonry panels, attached with stainless steel clips to an iron frame, were chosen to match the rest of the church. The project began in July and completion is expected in mid-June. Stone masons have worked through the winter, wrestling with limestone panels that weigh an average of 150 lbs.

"This hasn't been an easy job," said Dennis Van Steenis of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Local 1, working as project superintendent for mason contractor Chezcore. "The tower is set up on a hill, and it gets windy and cold up there." ..

Public, Dems support hike in minimum wage; GOP won't budge

By a nearly 3-1 margin, Michigan voters expressed support for Democratic legislation to increase the state's minimum wage from $5.15 per hour to $7.15 per hour, according to a March poll commissioned by Inside Michigan Politics. ..

'Jobs Today' bill features many jobs aimed at construction

LANSING - Gov. Jennifer Granholm last week called for immediate legislative action on a new jobs package which is expected to be a boon to the building trades. ..

When smart people do stupid things

By Scott Schneider
Director, Occupational Safety and Health
Laborers International Union

Blink and you might miss NMU's Magers Hall renovation

MARQUETTE - The Magers Hall renovation at Northern Michigan University isn't the largest, most complex, or architecturally significant renovation to take place on campus. ..

News Briefs