The DROPCLOTH Covers Everything


Volume 61, Number 2
Spring, 2006

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STAR - Safety Training Awards Recognition

Chicago PDCA/FCA, working with Painters District Council No.14 through the JATC-DFTC Apprentice Training Program, made real progress this year in establishing our local STAR program. STAR is an innovative effort to create true incentives for Safety Training and Continuing Education among the Union workforce of PDC14 members.

It will require at least 1000 hours of work with at least 800 safe hours to qualify for inclusion in the program, which offers participating tradesmen the chance to win substantial prizes.

A minimum of 40 hours of training are required for the year, including at least 10 hours of Safety Training plus 30 hours of Journeyman Upgrading. All program participants must have fully-documented safe work and continuing education records.

At the end of the year, a celebration party will be held for workers and their families, with random drawings for a vehicle, a family vacation to Disney World, and major electronics.

All qualified participants have the chance to win the major prizes, but every attendee at the celebration will receive Carhartt work clothes, Redwing work shoes, and valuable giveaways.

STAR participants are at liberty to select among available Journeyman Upgrading courses (as outlined above) for 30 hours of continuing education, and may select 10 hours of Safety Training on such topics as OSHA 10-Hour and 30-hour, City of Chicago Scaffold Training, Lead Abatement, ANSI/AWP Training, Scaffold Erector-User-Dismantler Training, Red Cross First Aid/CPR, or Fall Protection Class.


Bill Knopf Photo

National FCA has announced the appointment of William I. Knopf as its new Midwest Regional Vice President. Bill will be based in St. Louis, as the organization builds upon its efforts to serve the needs of Union Painting Contractors in middle America. He brings a wealth of association management skills to FCA, having completed ten years of service just last year to the Associated General Contractors of Iowa. His credentials include service to other trade associations as well, including the Association of the Wall & Ceiling Industries (in Washington, D.C.) and the Painting and Decorating Foundation (in St. Louis). Bill holds an MBA from St. Louis University and is a member of the American Society of Association Executives. His father, Ivan Knopf, was a Union Painting Contractor in St. Louis for over 50 years, and, as a young man, Bill worked in the family business for several years as an estimator and project manager.

Chicago PDCA/FCA & NiPDi/FCAI Co-Host Membership Meeting

Chicago PDCA/FCA will co-host another General Membership Meeting for Union Contractors and Associates in conjunction with NiPDi/FCAI on September 20, 2006, at Maggiano's Little Italy in Oak Brook.

The event will commence with Cocktails at 5:30 PM, followed by Dinner at 6:30 PM, and a Business Meeting at 7:30 PM. Popular standup comic Ken Mate will entertain after dinner, following the business session.

Contractors wishing to attend the meeting should make their reservations by calling the office at 630/393-1313.

Paint Spots Miscellany Paintbrush Image

Sometimes we get questions that bear repeat, “What is this LMCI deal all about?” Well, boys and girls, LMCI is short for “Labor-Management Cooperation Initiative.” Think of LMCI as a joint effort by Labor and Management (the Unions and the Employers working together as a team) on a national basis to establish better common ground and help the Union Contractor companies get work...which, of course, provides jobs for the Union member tradesfolk. The IUPAT (International Union of Painters and Allied Trades) partners with signatory organizations across the land through its District Councils to finance this Taft-Hartley Fund with contributions of five cents for every man/woman hour of recorded labor worked. In turn, the LMCI is jointly administered by a team of Union officials working hand-in-glove with Union Contractors. Their principal objective is to enhance the market share of five Union crafts . . . painters, drywall finishers, glazers, sign painters, and floor covering installers. If the contractors get the work, the Union tradespeople get the jobs. Thus, LMCI promotes a harmonious process of Collective Bargaining called “Mutual Gains,” conducts educational seminars for contractors like STP (Supervisory Training Program), stages the "Industry Forum" convention (being held in Las Vegas this November) as an education and networking opportunity for the Union sector of our industry, follows legislative developments, promotes health and safety issues, helps support apprenticeship training programs, and funds advertising and promotion that you find in numerous trade journals. As you can see, it's not easy to say in a few short words what LMCI stands for, because it stands for so many essential parts of today's working environment.

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Now for something a little easier, if you're up to a Pop Quiz. We all go through life "seeing" the common things that surround us, but not really paying much attention as we go. Here are a baker's dozen such items to test your powers of observation and recall:

1. On a traffic light, is the green at the top or the bottom?
2. In which hand does the Statue of Liberty hold her torch?
3. What six colors appear on a can of Campbell's soup?
4. Which two numbers on the phone dial have no letters on them?
5. As you walk, does your left arm swing with your right or left leg?
6. How many matches are there in a standard book?
7. On the U.S. flag, is the top stripe red or is it white?
8. What is the lowest number on the FM dial?
9. Does water go down the drain clockwise or counter-clockwise?
10. On which side of a lady's blouse are the buttons, right or left?
11. Which way do fans rotate?
12. Do books have even-numbered pages on the right or on the left?
13. What appears in the center of the back of a $20.00 bill?

Have you noted your answers? The correct ones appear at the bottom of this web page.

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“Yesterday is History, Tomorrow is a Mystery, and Today is a Gift . . . that's why they call it The Present.”
                -- ELEANOR ROOSEVELT

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Money is not made out of paper. It's made from cotton.

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Actually, the Declaration of Independence was written on hemp paper. What were they smoking?

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Did you know that the dot over a small letter "i" is called a "tittle?"

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If you drop a raisin into a glass of fresh champagne, you can watch it bounce up and down continuously from the bottom of the glass to the top. No, this will not work with beer.

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In the 1996 edition of Webster's Dictionary, 315 entries were spelled incorrectly. Old Dan is rotating.

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Here's a home safety tip about the lint filter in your dryer. Those dryer sheets that are supposed to make your clothes all fluffy actually leave behind an invisible film that totally clogs the mesh. Take out the filter, clean it as usual, then hold it under the tap. You may find that it holds water, and thus will not let air pass through, either. If you take the filter out, scrape off the loose lint, then wash it with hot, soapy water (use an old toothbrush) every six months, the dryer will last longer, you will save money on electricity, and you can avoid possible fires. Betty Crocker, take a bow!

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Did you know that catsup (or do you call it ketchup?) was sold as a patent medicine in the 1830’s?

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One day, Leonardo DaVinci got a brainstorm and invented the scissors. Conversely, it took him ten years to paint the Mona Lisa (see if you can find that factoid in “The DaVinci Code”).



Jay Weaver Photo

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

Blue Bullet The Multiemployer Pension Fund Reform Bill, having missed the April 15th deadline, is now targetted by House/Senate conferees for a Memorial Day deadline.

Blue Bullet Small Business Owners have criticized the Small Business Administration over procurement program weaknesses, telling the House Small Business Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform and Oversight that the SBA has failed in its responsibility to ensure they have a fair chance to compete with the larger companies for federal government contracts.

Blue Bullet Pending immigration legislation may give a blow to the Construction Industry. Research by the Pew Hispanic Center, which studied diverse Latino experiences nationwide, indicates that more than 1.4 million unauthorized workers toil in construction (about 12% of the workforce). Some 550,000 (more than 20%) are short-term undocumented workers who arrived between 2000-2005. The study concluded that, should Congress approve any legislation requiring short-term workers to leave the U.S., the Construction Industry would suffer.

Blue Bullet House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) said the House would consider any new immigration provisions passed by the Senate and indicated that House Republicans might even be willing to accept a new guestworker program.

Blue Bullet AFL-CIO, ACLU, and the Chamber of Commerce have rejected immigration legislation that would require all U.S. employers to use an electronic welfare system for confirming the employment eligibility of newly-hired workers. They are concerned because the pilot programs have too many inaccuracies in their databases, cause too many delays, and present a huge risk of identity theft.

Blue Bullet The AFL-CIO Building Construction Trades Department (BCTD) is again seeking a Department of Labor probe of ABC Chapters. The BCTD, in the wake of its research of ABC's 80 chapters, has asked the DOL to again look into the legal activities of 15
chapters in two areas: failure to disclose financial transactions between ABC's nonprofit apprenticeship trusts and the local ABC chapters, and payment from the apprenticeship trusts to the chapters in excess of the actual services provided.

Blue Bullet The BCTD has approved a new Job Site Cooperation Agreement with its disaffiliated Unions. In the wake of signing a national level "solidarity agreement" with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the BCTD announced its continued willingness to make similar "accommodations" with the other recently disaffiliated unions.

Blue Bullet The BCTD also hosted a successful Legislative Conference in April. Their top four legislative priorities during visits with lawmakers on Capitol Hill were health care, multiemployer pension plan reform, immigration, and, of course, preserving the Prevailing Wage.

Blue Bullet Change to Win (CTW) is creating a new "umbrella organization." Despite being rejected by the AFL-CIO, the CTW still plans to form an organization in May, called the "Alliance for Worker Justice," as a vehicle for cooperation among labor organizations.

Blue Bullet The National Construction Alliance (NCA) is opening for business. The new organization of basic trade unions plans to begin operations in May with at least three affiliates: the Carpenters and Joiners of America, the International Union of Operating Engineers, and the Laborers' International Union. Two recent decisions (i.e., allowing membership in other Union groups and running the new organization on a per capita basis in terms of dues and voting on policy matters) may open membership barriers for other Union member prospects.

Blue Bullet Department of Labor analysis shows that construction job growth continued in 2005. The Bureau of Labor Statistics analysis showed that the construction sector actually remained quite strong in 2005, spurred by sustained growth in the residential sector. In point of fact, jobs grew with employment increasing by 295,000 jobs over 2004 to 7.417 million jobs.
JATC - Continuing a Series/Part 2 -- Painting & Drywall Finishing Curricula

All Painting and Decorating Apprentices undertake a three-year Apprenticeship program. Students attend class one day a week for a total of 960 hours of classroom training...combining hands-on experience with bookwork to provide basic knowledge.

Field experience is gained through employment the other four days a week, working side-by-side with veteran Journeymen.

Apprentice wages increase gradually, beginning at 40% of Journeyman Scale and working up to 90%. Upon completing all training requirements satisfactorily for graduation, the successful Apprentice is elevated to Journeyman status and paid full wages.

The coursework undertaken during the three-year Painting Apprenticeship includes...

bullet Blueprint Reading
bullet Drafting
bullet Surface Preparation
bullet Color Harmony
bullet Color Mixing
bullet Brush & Roll
bullet Wood Finishing
bullet Use and Care of Tools
bullet Equipment Maintenance
bullet Conventional &
Airless Spraying
bullet Electrostatic Spray Painting
bullet Decorative Glazing
bullet Stenciling
bullet Texture Paint Techniques
bullet Wallcovering Installation
bullet Woodgraining
bullet Marbleizing
bullet Safety
bullet First Aid/CPR
bullet Ladders & Scaffolding
bullet Fall Protection
bullet Abrasive & Water Blasting
bullet Industrial Coatings
bullet Lead Abatement
bullet EPA & OSHA Standards
bullet Faux Finishing

Drywall Finishing Apprentices undertake a two-year training program. Apprentice wages increase gradually during that period of time, beginning at 40% of Journeyman Scale and working up to scale. Upon completing all requirements satisfactorily for graduation, the successful Apprentice graduates to Journeyman status.

bullet Orientation
bullet Rules & Regulations
bullet Safety Overview
bullet Materials of the
Drywall Trade
bullet Tools of the Trade
bullet Filling Compounds
bullet Pre-Job Inspection
bullet Preparation
bullet Hand Embedding &
Dry Taping
bullet Automatic Taping Tools
bullet Wiping Angle Tapes
bullet Finishing Boxes
bullet Repairs & Corrections
bullet Basic Math
bullet Job Economics
bullet Texturing
bullet Personal Skills
bullet First Aid/CPR
bullet Ladders & Scaffolding
bullet OSHA 10 Certification
bullet Fall Protection
bullet Stilt Safety Certification

     • Journeyman Upgrading

JATC Training Facility


...for news and information about the PDC14 Painting & Drywall Finishing Apprenticeship Programs

JATC Photos


By Jan Merelos, Webmaster

In order to measure the effectiveness of the Chicago PDCA web site, one must answer some basic questions:

  • Who is visiting it, how long are they staying?
  • How are people coming to the web site? Do they find it directly, or via a referring site?
  • What pages do they visit most frequently?
  • What documents are they downloading?
  • How long are they staying?

Good Web Analytics Software can tell you just about everything you want to know about how your visitors found you and how they interact with your site. The Chicago PDCA web site uses such a program (called "Urchin") to analyze the usage of our web site.


Search engine "spiders" and "robots" have visited regularly and, apparently, like what they see. The Chicago PDCA web site is highly ranked by all the major search engines, making it easy to find. The "Robots by Hits Drilldown" report lists the Robots and Spiders that visited our site, ranked by so-called "Hits" (requests). This report does not include standard web site Browsers, such as Internet Explorer.

From this analytical research, we have determined that the reasons for visiting the Chicago PDCA web site regularly include:

  • The Home Page advertises upcoming events and current special offers.
  • Recently-download forms have included the Golf Outing Sign-up/Sponsorship Form, the 50/50 Deal on Golf Shirts Order Form, the Job Reports Form, and the Job Complaint Form.
  • The past two years of Dropcloth and Monitor newsletter issues (Dropcloth & Monitor).
  • View/download PDCA Contract & Bylaws.
  • Consult the PDCA Calendar of Events.

The "Daily Sessions" report shows the trend of recent activity on our web site in terms of Visitor Sessions over time. From this, we learn that the Chicago PDCA Web Site has seen a seven-fold increase in traffic since September 2004 (the Average Daily Sessions then were six daily sessions). By April of 2006, usage had increased to the level of experiencing 43 daily sessions.

Traffic Summary

The "Traffic Summary" tracks totals and averages for Sessions, Pageviews, Hits, and Bytes for the currently selected Date Range. The Calculation Methodology reveals the following information:

  • Session: A series of "Hits" experienced by our site over a specific period of time by one visitor.
  • Pageview: A request to the web server made by a visitor's browser for any web page (excluding images, javascript, and other generally embedded file types).
  • Hit: Any successful request to a webserver from a visitor's browser.
  • Bytes: The quantity of network bandwidth used by the files requested during the selected Date Range.

A "Session" is defined as a series of clicks on our site by an individual visitor during a specific period of time. A Session begins when the visitor arrives at the site, and ends when the browser is closed or inactivity occurs.

A "Pageview" is defined as a request from a visitor's browser for a displayable web page, generally an HTML file. Only certain file types are treated as Pageviews. In general, images and embedded content, such as style sheets and javascript, are not considered Pageviews.

A "Hit" is simply a successful request to our web server from a visitor's browser for any type of file, whether an image, HTML page, an MP3 file, or any other type. A single web page can cause many Hits -- one for each image included on the page, etc.

Each file requested by a visitor to our web site has a certain size associated with it that is recorded by the webserver. By tabulating the size of each file, the total volume of traffic can be assessed. Bytes numbers can be very large, so data in our graph is abbreviated with terms such as MB for megabytes (~million bytes).

Requested Pages

This report ranks the popularity of the Pages (HTML files, generally) visited on our site by the number of Pageviews and relative percentage. Urchin's software configuration controls which file extensions are treated as Pageviews. In general, images and other embedded content (style sheets and javascript) are not considered to be Pageviews. The PDCA Directory is clearly the most highly-visited page on our web site.

Downloaded Pages

This report ranks the popularity of all Downloads on our site by number of Hits (requests) and the relative percentage. A Download is determined by file extension and Urchin's configuration settings. Downloads include archives, executables, PDFs, and other non-image and non-HTML documents


The Referrals Report ranks referring URLs (external web pages) that brought traffic to our site. For Sessions without an external referral, which occur when a Visitor goes directly to our site via a bookmark/favorite or by typing in the URL directly, the (no referral) entry becomes incremented. This allows us to compare the percentage of traffic from external links versus Visitors that already know about our site. In the final analysis, the majority of visitors to (67%) come directly, without a referral. Most remaining visitors reach our site by way of a search engine, with Google, Yahoo, and MSN searches leading the charge.

PDCA Web Site Charts



Early this Fall, Chicago PDCA/FCA will help host the first FCA Regional Conference, planned to be held at the Palmer House Hotel in Chicago on September 21-22, 2006. Thursday meeting plans include a host of informational opportunities focused upon helping the Union Painting & Decorating Contractor better understand today's economic, labor, and business environment. Friday's sessions will turn to Labor-Management Cooperation, with IUPAT General President James Williams hosting dynamic interactive presentations. This will truly be a must-attend event for all progressive Union Painting Contractors!




Thumbs-Up Photo
  • COCKTAILS AT 5:30 P.M.

  • DINNER AT 6:30 P.M.





PDCA/FCA By-Laws have been reviewed, discussed, approved, and signed. A summary description of the changes was mailed out to all Contractor Members for review earlier this year. The full text of the new By-Laws is now posted and available for downloading from Chicago PDCA/FCA's web site at:



  1. Bottom, since 1923.
  2. Right hand, says Lee Iacocca.
  3. Blue, red, white, yellow, black, and gold, says Andy Warhol.
  4. "1" and "0" (even on rotaries).
  5. Right leg, for balance sake.
  6. 20 matches (most say 50).
  7. Red (7 red/6 white/13 colonies).
  8. 88 (to 108, since 1947).
  9. Clockwise, north of the equator (other way around in the southern hemisphere).
  10. Left side, but who's looking?
  11. Clockwise, as you look at it.
  12. On the left side (#1 is right).
  13. The White House, natch.