The DROPCLOTH Covers Everything


Volume 58, Number 2
Spring, 2003

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The squad of Painters' District Council No. 14 Union painters on the Olive Branch Mission Project included (left to right): Louis Solorzano (K&R/Christopher), Jim Doolin (J.M. Brennan & Company), John Birtas (Ascher Brothers Company), and Johnny Moore (Hester Decorating Company).

The Industry Advancement Fund of Chicago PDCA (the Painting & Decorating Contractors Association) just donated twenty man-days of work plus materials to create a fresh face for the venerable Olive Branch Mission on the South Side of Chicago. "We certainly appreciate the Contractors' generosity in tackling this project," comments Scott Scittid, Vice President and Administrator for the facility located at 6310 South Claremont Street. "When donations like this are made, we are able to devote more resources to our clients."

The aged building was once a monastery at St. Rita's School, but has served in recent years as a shelter for the homeless, providing overnight accommodations and meals to the poor and travelers. "We put four painters from Painters' District Council No. 14 to work for a week," explains Olive Branch Mission Project Coordinator Marty Tew, of J. M. Brennan & Company, who serves as a Trustee for the IAF and a Board Member for PDCA. "Our Associate Member vendors were extremely generous with donations of materials," he adds, noting the contributions of primer, paint, dropcloths, tools, and materials from Chicago Dropcloth, M.A.B. Paints, Pittsburgh Paints/PPG, Purdy Brushes, Sherwin-Williams Company, and William Zinsser & Company.

"The scope of work included scraping the loose and peeling paint and plaster, repairing water damage from roof leaks, and, finally, sanding, priming, and painting the guestrooms, the bathrooms, the hallways, the stairwells, the steps, the meeting rooms, the front desk and foyer areas, and the dining hall. We used a durable, washable white latex semi-gloss finish on the walls to minimize future maintenance. The doors, trim, and baseboards were sanded, washed, and given black and brown oil-based enamel finishes. The basement steps and floor were thoroughly cleaned and painted with gray

polyurethane floor enamel. "It's just amazing how much a fresh coat of paint can brighten up a place like the Olive Branch Mission, Marty concludes, "especially when you're going over old dark and discolored surfaces!"

The Olive Branch Mission is a homeless shelter that has achieved remarkable results for Chicago residents for over 135 years. Its primary goal is to strengthen and enable the homeless to break out of the poverty cycle through job training and referrals, counseling, motivation, and other support systems. The organization helps such individuals and families to become self-sufficient.

With programs such as Emergency and Transitional Shelter, the Life Transformation Program, and Hope of a Home, the Olive Branch Mission serves a wide range of needs. Clients often enter through the City of Chicago's referral network and then become linked to programs and services depending on their needs. Some may be seeking employment opportunities or rehabilitation. Others just come in for a warm meal or a place to sleep.

Olive Branch programs include a special Division for Emergency and Transitional Support Services which meets clients' initial needs when they enter the shelter. They are assessed and then given preliminary supportive services. "Hope of a Home" is another program, focused upon elevating clients to the next level through providing longer-term housing and such supportive services as housing referrals and advocacy, job training, and parenting classes to help them get re-established.

The Life Transformation program provides residential and outpatient rehabilitative services to clients struggling with addictions.


2003 IAF Charitable





1. John Birtas (Ascher Brothers Company).

2. Jim Doolin (J.M. Brennan & Company).

3. The crew of four painters worked a full five days each to round out the ambitious 20 man-day Charitable Painting Project, valued at over $10,000.00.

4. Although roof leaks did cause plaster failures, mold control problems were minimal, so most patching was of a routine nature.

5. Johnny Moore (Hester Decorating Company).

6. Louis Solorzano (K&R/Christopher).

7. The scope of work included such heavy traffic areas as hallways and stairwells, where durable, washable white latex semi-gloss was used.

8. Marty Tew (left) served as Project Coordinator for the Charitable Painting Project sponsored by the Chicago Union Painting Contractors this Spring at the Olive Branch Mission. Hebron Morris is Education Coordinator for the Christian Center for Urban Studies.

9. The main floor dining hall was completed last, following completion of the upstairs residential and ground floor administrative areas.

10. The stairwells and corridors are noticeably brighter and safer with fresh paint and new color schemes.

11. The Olive Branch Mission facility at 6310 South Claremont once served as a monastery at St. Rita's Catholic School. Hundreds of the poor and homeless pass through its portals every week. The organization has served residents of Chicago for over 135 years.





A few random musings may just be the ticket to commence our miscellany. For example, don’t you think Mondays are a terrible way to spend 1/7 of your life? And, could a clear conscience be the sign of a bad memory? Then again, if you think nobody cares, just try to miss a couple of car payments. Now ask yourself this: what happens if you get scared half to death twice? A guy we know swears that 99% of all lawyers give the rest a bad name. How does one react to someone complimenting him on his new alligator shoes when he’s barefoot? And, finally, if you are one of those folks who always maintain a steady 85 on the Tri-State Tollway, perhaps you should forget worrying about cholesterol....

The next time you have some cell phone loud-talker grinding away on your nerves, try taking out a book or newspaper and reading aloud at the same time. After a few minutes, the offender will probably ask why you are doing that, and you can tell them that it’s just like talking on a cell phone.

There are lots of good ways to stay in touch with your customers. One of the most successful paint salesmen in Chicago always uses giveaways to leave behind with his card as an excuse to stop by...most often, a color deck. You can clip out a newspaper article and mail it to them, particularly if it’s about their child competing at a sports event. Tell them in a letter about off-season pricing specials. Call up and say, “Let’s have lunch!” Get ambitious and use the computer to publish your own little company newsletter. If you don’t make these kinds of contacts, someone else will. And then you could be wondering why that piece of business went away....

Some people think that the only real purpose of having a middle name is to know when you’re in real trouble.

Think of your mind as a parachute. It works a lot better if you keep it open.

If you really want to find something around the house, the best way to have it show up is to go buy a replacement.

Chris Rock is a crazy guy, but you have to admire his latest observation: “You know the world is going crazy when the best rapper is a white guy, the best golfer is a black guy, the Swiss hold America’s cup, France is accusing the U.S. of arrogance, and Germany doesn’t want to go to war.”

Did you know that all those Yellow cabs are really orange? Back in 1924, the firm was founded in Oklahoma by a gent named A. J. Harrell. There were other yellow cabs at the time,

but only old A. J. was concerned enough about road safety to ask the DuPont Company to run tests and develop a color that could provide the highest visibility for his vehicles. Their scientists came back with a close neighbor to yellow that is truly a bright orange with pigmentation similar to that of a certain wild berry. Ever since, then, the company has been stuck with “Swamp Holly Orange.”

Color really plays a major role in many corporate identity programs. Consider brown, and you probably think about UPS, because not only the trucks are brown, but also the driver uniforms, the logo, and the advertising. Their current ad campaign even asks, “What can BROWN do for you?” Then there is the Mary Kay cosmetics firm, where everything is pink. Founder Mary Kay Ash decided at the beginning, in 1963, that pink was an attractive, feminine color that would be useful in her packaging...and eye-catching to the female clerks whom she needed to put the products on display. She bought so many pink vehicles from General Motors that her hot pink color became known as “Mary Kay Pink.” Even after her passing a year and a half ago, the business thrives in its pink headquarters building in Dallas. Finally, who could possibly miss identifying “Big Blue” as IBM after all these years? The origins of that company’s nickname are a little more obscure. Some say it’s rooted in IBM being a large cap, blue-chip firm, while others maintain it stems from the employees who all wore blue suits back in the 1950’s and 1960’s. It may just be because the company logo is blue, and because the firm wisely infuses the hue into so many products and programs. The alert contractor might just seize upon this prevailing theme among so many successful terms to build a new identity program around a strong color of his or her own. Orange, anyone?

“Mail Pouch Tobacco” once graced literally thousands of barns across the Midwest from Missouri to New York. This novel advertising medium took the entire working life of Harley Warrick, a native of southeastern Ohio who spent 55 years moving about the region with an itinerant band of barn painters until he died in late 2000. Harley would always paint his initials on those barns, and now one of his artworks has been completely restored in Ohio by a lady named Lore Whitney, who is a lawyer in Mansfield. Whereas Harley could repaint as many as six barns in a day in his prime, the restoration job took two weeks and cost Lore $3,200.00. The old sun-dried barn boards hadn’t tasted any paint in over 20 years, so it took more coats -- and time -- than expected.

Did you know that the Chicago Area JATC School in Berkeley is offering a new Scaffold Training Course designed to meet the City of Chicago Scaffolding Ordinance? The course is being offered on the second Tuesday of every month between 5:00 PM and 9:00 PM at the training center at 1101 Taft Avenue in Berkeley. The only cost is a shop fee of $25.00. Interested individuals should contact Gary Ellinger at 708/449-5282.




By Jay Weaver, Executive Director Of Industry Services,Finishing Contractors Association

The Services Acquisition Reform Act of 2003 (H.R.1837) was introduced on 4/29/03 by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY). It would improve the federal acquisition workforce and the process for acquisition of services by the federal government by ensuring that federal contracts are awarded only to contractors who comply with federal labor, consumer, environmental, and tax laws.
The EPA has unveiled its new Web-based Compliance Site, seeking to help contractors comply with federal and state environmental regulations. The EPA launched the Construction Industry Compliance Assistance Center, which may be found at
NIOSH released a Bibliography of publications (, and a new newsletter ( that are both informative and available for free.
Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich issued an Executive Order which encourages Project Labor Agreements on appropriate State-funded Projects. On 5/7/03, he signed E.O.13 requiring that consideration should be given to including a PLA in bid specifications on a project-by-project basis for state-funded construction projects.
Project Labor Agreements and Prevailing Wages are under attack in several states. On 5/6/03, the Missouri House of Representatives approved S.B.521, prohibiting public entities from requiring contractors to enter into PLAs with labor unions to bid on state public works projects. On 4/9/03, the Delaware Legislature's House Finance Committee supported H.B.97, exempting Delaware school districts from paying prevailing wage rates on public works projects.


A District of Columbia Circuit Court has upheld President Bush's Executive Order For Contractors To Post Beck Notices. On 4/22/03, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that the National Labor Relations Act does not preempt E.O. 13201, thereby requiring federal contractors to post notices informing employees of their rights not to join a union or to pay agency fees to unions for nonrepresentational activities.
The IRS has issued an interest rate for the minimum Pension Plan Funding, saying that the weighted average interest rate used to calculate the current liability for the full-funding limitation that applies to employee pension plan years beginning in May, 2003, is 5.43%. The rates for the 90-110% permissible range are 4.89-5.97%, and the rates for the 90-120% permissible range are 4.89-6.52%. The Job Creation and Worker Assistance Act expanded the permissible range to 120% for plan years beginning in 2002-2003.
OSHA posted a new technical link to its web page on “Hexavalent Chromium” on 4/30/03 which you may visit at hexavalentchromium/index.html.
The new Federal Advisory Committee on Apprenticeship first met in May. Ten persons each represented the Public, Union, and Business sectors. The initial meeting determined how to establish the Committee's procedures and ethics, prepare the American workforce for sustained employment and training programs, and make a new plan for advancing apprenticeships founded upon competency-based training. Combinations of classroom instruction and on-the-job training will develop skills that employers identify.
Meanwhile, the National Advisory Committee on Ergonomics is now developing voluntary “generic” guidelines to help employers develop their own ergonomics programs.



Chicago PDCA/FCA President Keith Farnham met with Illinois Senator Dick Durbin during the annual Construction Alliance Meeting in Washington, D.C. in May. Attendees call on legislators to lobby for the construction indurstry.



FCA is now offering a unique calling program which features four Industry experts whose advice is just a phone call away. Members now have the opportunity to get fast answers simply by picking up the phone and helping themselves. FCA’s experts will provide up to two hours of advice at no cost in the following areas:

  • Employee Benefits (call Bill Ecklund at 612/373-8509).
  • Labor Relations and Collective Bargaining (call Steve Burton at 612/373-8423).
  • Claims Management (call Nick Papleacos at 404/870-2238).
  • Drywall Finishing and Painting Technical Issues (call Bob Cusumano at 561/775-7151).

Hardly a day passes when questions may not arise in one of these areas, so call an FCA advisor to have your concerns answered quickly...if you are a member in good standing of Chicago PDCA/FCA.

Three Counseling Success Stories

1. Job Targeting Programs: Normally, job targeting programs must be administered solely by the Union. At the request of an FCA Affiliate Chapter, advice was provided on how to structure the payment of employee benefits on targeted jobs through a multi-employer (jointly administered) trust fund.

2. Multi-Employer Pension Plan Withdrawal Liability: With a three-year decline in the stock market, many pension plans around the country (not Chicago’s) are now under-funded and have withdrawal liability. The hotline was used by a contractor member in another city to set up a conference call for their Trustees to discuss the principles of withdrawal liability as applied to construction industry pension plans...particularly the special rules for the building and construction industry.

3. Delinquent Contributions: A Contractor was being sued for delinquent contributions. The contractor thought that an arrangement had been worked out with the Trust Fund for payment. Suddenly, however, the Fund brought suit against the contracting firm. The Contractor searched for a multi-employer benefits attorney that could assist in resolving

the problem, but could not locate one who could take the assignment because most of the attorneys represented Trust Funds. The hotline was used initially to provide advice to the contractor concerning how to proceed. When his two hours of free hotline time were up, the Contractor opted to pay for additional legal services. The matter was eventually resolved through agreement with the Fund. The Contractor was counseled through various stages of the litigious process, including a conference with the Judge. The Contractor was very satisfied with the outcome, particularly the expert's advice.

Two New FCA Publications

FCA has just published and distributed its updated Guidebook 2003 (Third Edition) to Affiliate Associations like Chicago PDCA/FCA. This binder lists and briefly explains all of FCA's programs, products, and services in the following areas: communications, compliance, government relations, labor, marketing, meetings, membership, and workforce.

It also contains FCA's history, mission, strategic plan, and partnerships, including copies of its Bylaws and Policies and Procedures. Finally, it lists the telephone numbers of key labor-management contacts within the Union Finishing Industry.

FCA also has its latest Legislative Directory (108th Congress/1st Session) hot off the press, which contains the key telephone numbers/addresses of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches: White House, Cabinet, Selected Government Agencies, Supreme Court, Senate, and House of Representatives.

In addition, the Legislative Directory lists contacts for Senate committees and subcommittees, House committees and subcommittees, the joint committees, and the state delegations and governors.

The Legislative Directory is free upon request to all Chicago PDCA/FCA members. If you wish to order a copy of the Directory, please e-mail your request to the Finishing Contractors Association office in Washington, D.C. at


Two Toms Collect “PIPS” From PDCA...
Tom Hester (Hester Decorating, left) and Tom Tyrakowski (Am-Coat Painting) attended the PDCA National Convention held at Palm Harbor, Florida, on March 26-29, 2003, and brought home two “Picture It Painted Professionally” (PIPP) Awards for Chicago. Hester Decorating won in the Residential Faux Finishes category for work on a Grand Beach, Michigan, home. Tyrakowski accepted the award for Ascher Brothers Company, winners in the Historic Restoration category for its work on a Michigan Avenue office building lobby.