The DROPCLOTH Covers Everything


Volume 59, Number 2 Spring, 2004

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Marty and Tom Photo Chicago PDCA/FCA President Marty Tew, left (J.M. Brennan & Company) and Treasurer Tom Tyrakowski (Am-Coat Painting) attended the PDCA National Convention in Las Vegas in March, bringing home two “Picture It Painted Professionally” (PIPP) Awards. Marty holds a PIPP for Chicago’s Charitable Painting Project undertaken last year at the Olive Branch Mission in Chicago. Tom clasps his own PIPP Award for the Northern Illinois University Water Tower Project in DeKalb, won in the industrial class. Their backdrop is a lovely mural donated by the St. Louis Chapter #2 to the new PDCA office.

The 2004 PDCA National Convention was held on March 16-20 at the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas, where over 1000 Contractors gathered from all corners of America and beyond to learn, share, and make new friends among peers.

Business commenced with celebrated author Michael Gerber delivering a motivational
keynote address, and eight educational tracks offered ample learning opportunities.

A charity auction raised funds for the Friedman Scholarship program, while Sherwin-Williams and 3M hosted social affairs, and the largest trade show in years drew record attendance.
Bob Miller Photo


Peoria Union Contractor Bob Miller (R.C. Miller & Associates) was installed as the new President of National PDCA at its Annual Convention in March. The Peoria Chapter of PDCA hosted a gala reception to honor Bob and introduce him to Convention attendees.

Paintbrush Image Paint Spots Miscellany

Congratulations to Chicago PDCA-FCA Member The Leopardo Companies on being awarded “Interior Contractor of The Year” honors at the Greater Chicago Food Depository 16th Annual Commercial Real Estate Awards Dinner in April. Gary Leopardo, Rick DuPraw, Christopher Novak, and Mark Fenton were present to accept the honor.

Figures are in for 2003 regarding the 14 building trades Unions affiliated with the AFL-CIO. Membership figures are based upon per-capita tax payments to the AFL-CIO from affiliated Unions. For all 14 Unions taken together, there was actually a net loss of about 9,800...but by subtracting the Teamsters loss of nearly 17,000 members, the other trade Unions reflected a modest increase of about 7,000 members. The best results were posted by the Laborers Union with a one-year increase of 31,700 and the Bricklayers, who gained 31,400.

Great expectations sometimes come true for unexpected reasons. Take the teacher who was studying her new class list on the first day of school when she noticed a number posted beside each child’s name...154, 136, 142, and so on. “Wow, look at these I.Q.’s!” she thought, vowing to work harder than ever with this terrific new class. So, throughout the year, she devised innovative and challenging lessons to keep them from getting bored, and her plan worked out just great. Sure enough, the class out-performed all the previous classes she had ever taught. Then, during the last quarter of the year, she happened to discover what those numbers on the list of students’ names really stood for... their locker numbers.

Here are 12 ways to gain a more positive outlook on life:

  1. Forget.
  2. Apologize.
  3. Admit errors.
  4. Avoid mistakes.
  5. Listen to advice.
  6. Keep your temper.
  7. Shoulder the blame.
  8. Make the best of things.
  9. Maintain high standards.
  10. Think first and act accordingly.
  11. Put others’ needs before yours.
  12. Forgive.

Are you a coffeeholic? If so, the news has been mostly bad in recent years... but that has changed with results in from new research. Long-time coffee drinkers are apparently less inclined to develop diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, or even Alzheimer’s. Harvard research reports on men who drink more than six cups of coffee a day cut their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by more than 50%, and women by more than 30% when compared with non-coffee

drinkers. The theory is that the anti- oxidants and magnesium in coffee may counter diabetes by improving insulin’s ability to control blood sugar.

Another Harvard study showed that Parkinson’s disease risk levels were one third the levels experienced by non- coffee drinkers. At the University of Toronto, researchers identified a lower risk of contracting Alzheimer’s among coffee drinkers. In Norway, researchers found that two-cup-a-day coffee people were under 40% as likely to succomb to cirrhosis of the liver.

Still, coffee has a downside for some. It can cause anxiety, headaches, heartburn, and high blood pressure.

Did you know that the average heart beats 100,000 times a day?

Benjamin Moore has released a new book that Contractors may wish to use as a premium for customers. Titled “Exterior Style: Imspiring Color Ideas and Expert Painting Advice,” the book is available in bookstores, from on-line booksellers, and directly from the firm at Retail pricing on the volume is $22.95.

Speaking of books, here is another helpful tome: “Simplify Your Life: 100 Ways to Slow Down and Enjoy the Things That Really Matter” can help streamline your days for just $7.95 (by Elaine St. James, Hyperion Press).

Feeling less than perfect today? It’s really OK, because those perfectionists surrounding you won’t make any more money than you. According to a study of successful insurance agents, income levels didn’t vary much between groups of perfectionists and non-prefectionists. In fact, perfectionists who linked self-worth and achievement actually earned an average of $15,000 a year less than their non-perfectionist peers. They were paying a price in dollars for a self-defeating mental habit. In other words, Oscar regularly outsold Felix....

Then there were the little boys who were foraging around in a woods and found a dead bird. Of course, they decided to give it a proper funeral. Fortunately, one of the trio was the son of a pastor, so he knew the ropes...sort of. First a shoebox was appropriated to serve as the coffin; it was then carefully lined with newspapers to receive the little feathery corpse. Next, a hole was excavated out behind the tool shed for a grave, and the band gathered for last rites. “Glory be to the Father and the Son,” the little minister intoned, “and into the hole he gooooooes!”



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

According to a Segal Company survey report, entitled "2003 Survey of the Funded Position of Multiemployer Plans," the average funded ratio of multiemployer plans remains high at 87%, despite further erosion. To view the survey, visit Segal's website at this address: andstudies/spring04fundingsurvey.pdf.

As part of the "Campaign For Quality Construction National Issues Conference,” Contractors from four major trade associations (FCA, MCAA, NECA, and SMACNA, visited the Capitol Hill offices of their Members of Congress and discussed the following legislative issues: multiemployer pension fund relief, permanent estate tax repeal, leasehold improvement depreciation, direct expensing increases, and Davis-Bacon/prevailing wage laws compliance.

Association Health Plan (AHP) Insurance legislation resurfaced in 2003, with the House approving AHP legislation (H.R.660) that would allow small businesses to band together across state lines to purchase health care insurance through AHPs free from most state insurance mandates. However, similar Senate legislation (S.545-sponsored by Senators Olympia Snowe [R-ME] and Jim Talent [R-MO]) has stalled. As members of the Senate GOP health care task force, they are pushing to have AHP legislation included in their health care recommendations.

President Bush, the Senate, and the House are at odds over the Highway Reauthorization Bill. Both the Senate (S.1072) and the House (H.R.3550) have passed versions of highway reauthorization bills, authorizing $318B/$275B respectively. However, both bills exceed the Administration's suggested authorization of only $256B. A conference committee will iron out the differences between the two bills, taking into account the Administration's proposal.

The Institute for a Drug-Free Workplace (IDFW) in its annual update said that workplace

drug testing programs were upheld in most of the related court decisions issued in 2003. IDFW produces its annual guide to state and federal drug-testing programs, entitled Guide to State and Federal Drug-Testing Laws. Copies can be obtained by calling at 202/842-7400 or by visiting their website:

A recent Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis of S.2290, introduced to create an Asbestos Claims Trust Fund ($124B), supported the Democrats' and organized labor's argument that the new fund would not provide sufficient revenues to compensate all asbestos victims. This study estimated claims at $140B over the next 50 years. Senate Democrats intend to block any effort by Senate Majority Leader William Frist (R-TN) to begin debates on this bill.

The Building and Construction Trades Department (BCTD/AFL-CIO) is seeking new Apprentice Program Performance Standards In Department of Labor (DOL) Rulemaking. In an April petition filed with Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, the BCTD has asked for a rulemaking to establish performance standards for DOL-approved apprentice training programs that would deregister programs that demonstrate quality problems and have low graduation rates.

On April 8th, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that courts are not entitled to overturn the provisions of collective bargaining agreements, including a negotiated right for construction unions to specify which members are assigned to specific jobs, if a labor arbitrator upholds them in a reasonable way.

For more detailed information, visit:



MARCH 10, 2004

Over two hundred guests attended the annual PDCA Associates Night Trade Show on March 10th, visiting 30 booths to view the latest products and services offered by member vendors in the Chicago market. Highlighting this year's event was a live demonstration of the new Chicago PDCA/FCA Web Site ( presented by Webmaster Janisse Merelos. Marty Tew, President of the Contractor's Group, won the Grand Prize of $500.00 in cash, while 28 other $50.00 booth prizes were distributed by the Associates.

Photo of Swedish Visitors


Fred Levy (right) escorted a group of Swedish visitors on a tour of Levy Company job sites in April, including (left to right) Anders Suderlund, Leif Henriksson, and Kjell-Arne Olander, all of whom work for Scanspac, a leading Swedish maker of drywall finishing products.

PDCA/FCA Board Member Fred Levy (right), of The Levy Company, hosted a group of Swedish visitors recently on visits to several Levy project sites in downtown Chicago.

“Our entourage is in town to visit the AHMA Hardware Show at McCormick Place on April 18-20,” explained Leif Henriksson. “My colleagues and I work for Scanspac, a Swedish company that is the leading Scandanavian manufacturer of wet filler products for surface treatment of interior walls and ceilings. We were interested in having contact with a paint contractor and visiting a building site to study how the working conditions are for a painter in the United States.”

Fred kindly obliged their wish to visit some building sites in Chicago by picking them up at the Hilton & Towers Hotel for visits to three Levy project locations, at Adams & Des Plaines, east of the Kennedy Expressway, at the Ambassador West Hotel, and at an apartment building at Lake & Jefferson. At the latter site, workers were shooting popcorn onto ceilings, which was a technique the group was very interested in seeing performed.

“We had a really great tour,” Fred concludes, “including a stop along the way for lunch on State Street. They must have enjoyed the day, because I just received a nice "thank-you" from them, tucked in with a package of Scanspac T-shirts!”

Historic Bell Photos


PDCA Home Page


Chicago PDCA/FCA debuted its new Web Site at Associates Night with live demonstrations by our Webmaster, Janisse Merelos.

If you haven't visited the new site yet, you owe it to yourself to give it a try. It features many useful resources, all conveniently located in one place, including PDCA & FCA Histories, a Calendar of Events, Dropcloth and Monitor publications, a full electronic version of the PDCA Directory, and Industry Links.

Navigating through the PDCA/FCA website is easy, by simply clicking on one of the labeled paint brushes. Let's take a tour of the site . . .


Most importantly, you'll find a new electronic version of the 2004 PDCA/FCA Directory offering up-to-date phone numbers, addresses, and e-mail & website links for Contractors and Associates.

The directory features lists of Officers and Board Members, PDCA Union Contractors, Associate Officers and Members. You'll even find the same Associate advertisements in the printed Directory.

Unlike the paper version of the directory, which is printed annually, the web version of the PDCA/FCA Directory is updated weekly, to ensure that you always have access to the most

recent information. We encourage you to visit the site and to look yourself up in the on-line Directory.

And be sure to give us any corrections so that we can keep your information current. By all means, let us know if you start up a new web site, or change your e-mail address.


One "paintbrush" link takes you to a menu of the last five Dropcloth newsletters (including this one!). Another will guide you to our current Monitor newsletter. In both cases, you will find the same stories and photos of our meetings and events that have been published for years in the print versions of the two publications.

With an archive of Dropcloth issues stretching back over a year, the web site provides a "family album" of all Chicago PDCA/FCA meetings and events that you can use for ready reference on past occasions.


For your convenience, the site provides a Calendar of Upcoming Events. This month, we are spotlighting the June 4th PDCA/FCA Golf Outing at Indian Lakes Resort in Bloomingdale.

Both the Calendar page and the Home Page have a handy new Golf Outing signup sheet to use in easily registering for the event on line!


The site includes links to History pages providing background on the PDCA and FCA organizations. One page provides a history of the National PDCA, from its inception in 1884 to the present day. Another page is devoted to the FCA, detailing its mission, history, and strategic plan.


Lastly, the Industry Links page helps you travel to other paint industry-related businesses and organizations located in our area and across the nation. The roster includes all major trade associations, government agencies, and union entities that you may find need to contact.

Launching the PDCA/FCA web site took months of research and development . . . an investment of resources considered timely and expedient by the PDCA/FCA Board to help our Contractors and Associates grow and prosper in the electronic age.

PDCA Web Site