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  • July 7, 2020


As reported earlier in this newsletter, after 14 years as Director of the Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Administrative District Council of New Jersey and 33 years of BAC membership, Richard E. Tolson has retired.

In June of 2006, after a 2 plus year receivership, the International Union formed the ADC of NJ, appointing Rich as Director. As many of you are aware, Locals 4, 5 & 2 did not always have the best relationship. Rich was tasked with bringing 3 locals together under one umbrella and dealing with multiple personalities and issues. After some time, he resolved the personalities and issues and the BAC in NJ was on its way operating as one organization.

Then came the economic downturn of 2008. The worst since the great depression. Rich again was faced with an unenviable task. Leading the Union through 50 – 60 % unemployment, work hours reduced by half and a bleak economic and construction outlook. Again, the BAC in NJ crawled our way through this difficult time and is now able to continue the almost 155-year history of representing craftworkers across New Jersey.

On June 1st, 2020, after running unopposed, I was sworn in as Director of the District Council and Kevin Duncan was sworn in as Secretary Treasurer, replacing me. The following were appointed to Officer positions in Local 5: Leon Jones President, Lynn Canfield Recording Secretary, Mario Cerrito 1st V.P., and Nick D’Orazio 2nd V.P.. Local 4 Officers remain the same.

Over the past 14 years I worked closely with Rich in all efforts to increase man hours for our members, market share for our employers and the wellbeing of our Trust Funds. I, along with Secretary Treasurer Duncan, the ADC Executive Committee and staffs of both Locals are looking forward to building on those efforts. Our top priority will be increasing market share which in turn will increase work opportunities for our members.  In accomplishing this goal, we will be taking a bit of a different approach, learning from past failures and successes.

One main difference will be refocusing on our Apprentice’s and their training to increase our membership and quality of our future craftworker. Traditional organizing of nonunion contractors and workers to increase membership and market share is exceedingly difficult. Trying to level the playing field through organizing the all too familiar “Underground Economy”, with unscrupulous contractors violating labor, tax, worker comp laws etc. and employment of undocumented workers has proven ineffective.

Although efforts will still be made through traditional organizing, the ADC is dedicated to using our apprentice program as an organizing “tool”. With the understanding and cooperation from our employers, we think this can be the best way to increase membership and help continue to provide you with the best craftworkers. Remember, most of your current craftworkers, whether they be Super’s, Foreman or Journeyperson’s, started as apprentices. They all had to learn.

As mentioned, our approach moving forward will be to learn from our mistakes, build on our successes and reexamine how better to improve the unionized masonry industry in the state of New Jersey. This will not only apply to the union but the management of our Trust Funds. A financially solid health fund providing good benefits and stable pension funds are just as important as work opportunities for both members and employers.

I look forward to meeting those of you I do not know and continuing the relationships of those I do know.

In closing, I want to reinforce, that Kevin and I, the Officers and staff of Locals 4 & 5, are committed 100% to cooperating with our employers to keep you successful and profitable and to position the unionized masonry industry in the state of NJ to be around another 155 years.

John F. Capo




Hopefully you have been able to adjust and thrive in this climate of uncertainty with a heightened sense for public safety, and projects forced to minimize crews while seeking innovative ways to maximize efficiency. IMI has recognized the need to support our contractor and membership base now more than ever and we are continuing to respond both collectively and individually. We’d love to offer you and your company assistance, whether it’s understanding codes, standards, or project documents, troubleshooting issues on a project, or supporting efforts to increase market share. We’re available to meet virtually or by phone, and our intentions are to stay in close communication with you, so don’t hesitate to reach out anytime.

IMI’s shift towards more online offerings has been a positive consequence of the COVID-19 era and will continue as we emerge from restricted activities. Hopefully, you have taken advantage of our BAC contractor-exclusive offerings and services listed on our newly created webpage. We are also tailoring educational programs for the A/E/C community based on local market intelligence with the goal of maximizing BAC hours. The information we share with the design and construction community is also available to you – through web-based communication, phone, and eventually, face-to-face sessions. As opportunities arise for members of your staff, consider scheduling a time with us to discuss topics of interest. Finally, I appreciate your input thus far and encourage continued dialogue, as we cannot refine our efforts without your vital feedback.

Thank you!

Director, Industry Development & Technical Services
International Masonry Institute

C: 609-287-8411