The DROPCLOTH Covers Everything


Volume 62, Number 2
Spring, 2007

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Training Available At JATC School October 2-5, 2007

STP-I & STP-II “Supervisor
Training Program” Seminars

This LMCI-sponsored program is designed to strengthen abilities of project supervisors at all levels. It helps newer supervisors and foremen by broadening their understanding of responsibilities on their job and provides needed tools and techniques to better fulfill those responsibilities. It is also appropriate for experienced supervisors…as a refresher course to update their understanding of supervision, to strengthen skills in traditional areas, and to gain new skills in emerging areas.

The field supervisor plays a key role in the construction process. Foremen plan daily and weekly activities for the crew and see that labor/materials/equipment are invested in the most efficient way to accomplish a quality job. Upper-level supervisors plan strategic operations for major jobs, groups of jobs, or for the company as a whole, and resolve production problems as they arise. Supervisors at all levels monitor, record and report work progress and interact with many project team members within and outside the company to gain a smooth-running operation.

STP-I & STP-II are designed for considerable interaction among participants, encouraging them to

learn from one another. The courses provide opportunities for large/small group interaction and practice of skills important to supervisors. STP-I & STP-II are open to all field supervisors, foremen and those anticipating fulfilling these roles in the near future. LMCI encourages a management representative of the supervisor’s employer to attend the sessions along with sponsored employees.

Course Topics

  • Role of the Supervisor
  • Cost Realities
  • Verbal Communications
  • Jobsite Documentation
  • Motivation and Teambuilding
  • Production Management
  • Employment Law For Supervisors
  • Contracts -- What are They?
  • Economics of Safety/li>
  • Planning and Scheduling
  • Understanding Cost
  • Tool and Material Management
Paint Spots Miscellany Paintbrush Image

If you enjoy a chuckle now and then, try visiting the web site run by those guys who send college students out to paint houses every Summer. Go to for a look. Actually, the web site is clean-cut and simple to use, so it no doubt makes a good impression on some visitors. You might even admire their marketing effort more without such claims as, “Ninety-nine percent of a great paint job has nothing to do with painting.” That’s what their door-hanger says (when the crew finishes up a job, they fan out to sell the other neighbors). No one really explains what it does have to do with.

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Governor Blagojevich delivered his “State of the State” address on March 7th and unveiled a Gross Revenue Tax Proposal that could adversely affect almost every business in Illinois. If passed, the plan would take effect on January 1, 2008. All business entities (including partnerships, Subchapter S corporations, SSC’s, and LLP’s) would be required to tax business transactions betweeen businesses and consumers for goods sold at .05% for construction, manufacturing, wholesale, and retail and for services provided at 1.8%. T his becomes monumental, for a sales tax is levied only on the final sale, but the Gross Receipts Tax has the effect of pyramiding because the same goods or services are taxed over and over again in the process. Businesses with gross annual receipts of $1 million or less will not be subject to the gross receipts tax (for the first four years only), but will be liable for the corporate income tax and personal property replacement tax. Exemptions are provided for insurance and medical providers, gaming, non-profits, export sales, and groceries. Interestingly, the proposed legislation bars businesses collecting the Gross Revenue Tax from showing the amount of added tax to customers. Opponents of the plan disagree with the governor’s accusation that Illinois business does not pay its fair share of taxes, pointing out that all taxes are inevitably passed on to consumers through higher prices. Also at stake is the very real perception that the new Gross Revenue Tax will prompt even more business to leave the state for more tax-friendly locales, resulting in the loss of jobs and economic decline. Even Lieutenant Governor Quinn has indicated displeasure with the plan.

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Seems like the season for company parties never quite abates. The biggest push always comes during the holiday season bookended by Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s, but now we have a long Summer season of picnics, golf outings, and ballgames presenting a fresh round of social and business opportunities…along with the same old hazards and pitfalls. It takes a clear mind and hardy resolve to navigate such scenes successfully, particularly when event attendees include bosses, co-workers, and customers. Here are a few ideas which may make the next round of festivities go smoothly…

  • Show up, even if only for a token hour. No one likes the no-shows.
  • Regard the event as part of work. Behavior is judged, good or bad.
  • Decide what’s more important before you go…letting down your hair for some serious partying, or keeping your cool and networking with the right people.
  • Be careful about drinking too much…it’s so easy to get overserved.
  • Be careful of what you say, and to whom. Don’t offend anyone.
  • Wear appropriate clothes…show respect for the occasion, and class.
  • Don’t get enticed into drugs if they show up…just leave, and keep your job and happy home intact.
  • Thank the organizers and hosts for inviting you, and tell them you had a good time! It’s the courteous thing to do,…a gesture that will be appreciated.
  • Don’t act bored or look at your watch too much. Relax, lighten up, be fun for others to have around.
  • Follow up on new contacts after the event. They may bear business or career fruit…you never know.

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In the 1400's a law was set forth in England that a man was allowed to beat his wife with a stick no thicker than his thumb. Hence we have “the rule of thumb.” Of course, meanings and definitions have a way of changing over time.…

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Recent research shows that right- handed people live, on the average, about nine years longer than lefties. It was not indicated whether or not the ambidextrous split the difference.

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Here’s a tip from our Gardening Department: When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If the plant comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant.

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Many years ago, in Merry Olde England, every man jack frequenting a corner pub had a small whistle baked into the rim, or the handle, of their ceramic cups. When they needed a refill, they simply hoisted the mug and used the whistle to get some service attention from the barkeep. “Wet your whistle” is, of course, the phrase that was inspired by this practice.



Jay Weaver Photo

By Jay Weaver, Vice President, Eastern Region and Canada, Finishing Contractors Association

Blue Bullet Both the Senate and the House have launched bills (S.777 and H.R.1023, respectively) repealing Section 511 of the Tax Reconciliation Act (P.L. 109-222), which would mandate a 3% withholding tax on payments to contractors for goods & services provided to federal, state, and local governments. With your help, we need to educate Congress that 3% is larger than the profit margins permitted under many government contracts and that such withholding will significiantly impede cash flow, jeopardizing a contractor’s ability to compete for business or complete projects. House bill H.R.1023 has been referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means, and Senate bill S.777 has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee.

Blue Bullet Security through Regularized Immigration and a Vibrant Economy (H.R.1645 a.k.a. STRIVE) would overhaul the Nation’s immigration laws in part through an employment verification system and a “new worker” program. Specifically, this act would provide for border security, stronger “interior enforcement” (e.g., penalties for immigrants who violate the law), and a “new worker” program for future immigrant workers (initially up to 400,000 new workers with yearly adjustments based on market demands).

     It would overhaul the visa system and allow qualified, undocumented immigrants already in the country to earn legal status. The bill would create a new visa program valid for 6 years that would provide work and travel authorization and protection from removal. To earn citizenship, individuals would meet employment requirements during the 6-year period prior to the application, pay a $1,500 fine/application fee, complete background checks, learn English, pay taxes, and satisfy the requirement to leave the United States and re-enter through a legitimate port of entry into the country during set time frames.

Blue Bullet The Southern Poverty Law Center’s Immigrant Justice Project in its report, “Close to Slavery: Guestworker Programs in the United States,” has declared the guestworker program not workable for the Immigration Reform Bill. They claim that guestworkers cannot rely on the federal government for help, are short-changed wages, and are often held captive to employers or labor brokers who seize their documentation, thereby taking away their ability to change jobs. They also claim that they are forced to live in squalid conditions and do not receive medical
benefits for injuries that occur on the job. Their recommendation is to ensure that any reform bill introduced must contain labor protections, provisions to address recruitment abuses or systematic wage discrimination, and a mechanism for workers to use that would enforce their rights.

Blue Bullet The Senate, by a 94-0 vote, slipped a federal contracting ban for businesses that violate immigration laws into the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007 (H.R.2). Under this added provision, companies caught hiring illegal workers while on a federal contract would be banned from government work for 10 years; other companies discovered using illegal workers would be prohibited from federal contracts for 7 years. This ban would not be subject to court appeal, but the federal government could waive it for national security reasons.

Blue Bullet The Ban Asbestos in America Act of 2007 (S.742) would ban the importation, manufacture, and distribution of products containing asbestos and take steps to help those already exposed. It would create a $50M asbestos-related disease research and treatment network of ten centers around the country designed to find treatment options and to seek early detection of asbestos-related diseases and prevention strategies. This bill has been referred to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

Blue Bullet Labor unions could have an easier time organizing workers under The Employee Free Choice Act (H.R.800), which would allow unions to bypass the lengthy, secret ballot elections. Under this bill the unions could attempt to represent workers by simply getting a majority of workers to sign union authorization cards. A Senate version of the bill is expected to be introduced soon by Senator Ted Kennedy. The bill is backed by labor unions and a range of other groups who argue that employers often illegally fire, intimidate, or retaliate against workers attempting to form a union.

     Conversely, the bill is opposed by business groups as a way for union leaders to coerce workers into signing cards in support of union representation in front of their co-workers and union organizers. (NOTE: The bill has not directly ruled out the option for workers to seek a secret-ballot election supervised by the National Labor Relations Board.) H.R.800 has passed in the House and was placed on the Senate legislative Calendar.



Jim Gasparro and Leo Hart

PDCA Associates Night returned to the Rosewood Restaurant in Rosemont for 2007, following last year’s appearance downtown as part of the Heart of America Convention. Continuous food & refreshment highlighted a festive event punctuated occasionally by the ringing bell for prize drawings. This year’s big winner was Leo Hart (National Decorating), who walked away with the $500.00 cash Grand Prize.

2007 Associates Night Photos


-- January 26, 2007 --


President's Night Photos

The great country-western band, “Strait Southern” entertained again this year at FCAC/PDCA President's Night, held at the Rosewood Restaurant in Rosemont, where Board Members (right to left) Marty Tew, Tom Tyrakowski, and Norb Soltysiak joined Jeff Castles, Keith Farnham, Scott Hall, and Allan DeLange following installation. PDC14 Secretary-Treasurer Terry Fitzmaurice addressed the audience of Contractor Members, Associates, and their guests following the swearing-in ceremony.

President's Night Photos

BOARD MEMBERS TAKE OATH OF OFFICE -- New FCAC/PDCA Board Members (left to right) Allan DeLange (CL Coatings) and Scott Hall (Triangle Decorating) joined incumbent Board Member Jeff Castles (Ascher Brothers Company) in taking their Oaths of Office from Past President Keith Farnham (K&R/Christopher) at the January 26th President’s Night Dinner, held at the Rosewood Restaurant in Rosemont.

Fall STP

Reserve October 2-5, 2007, Now!

In early October, the Industry Advancement Fund will host a new series of “STP” Seminars at the JATC-DFTC Apprentice Training Center in Berkeley, in cooperation with LMCI, the Labor-Management Cooperation Initiative.

STP-I is a three-day course that will be held on October 2-4, 2007, at the school. STP-II is a single-day session that will be held on Friday, following the STP-I training.

STP-II is advanced training for persons who have already completed STP-I. All Contractor graduates of STP-I from both PDC14 and PDC30 are eligible and welcome to attend the Chicago STP-II Seminar.


National PDCA's “PACE” Convention was held in Dallas this year on February 11th-14th, with a three-day industry tradeshow complementing the business meetings, seminars, and convention events. At the tradeshow, Instructor Mike Krawiec (upper left) of the PDC14 JATC Apprentice Training School and his counterpart from the St. Louis JATC, Rick Swaringen (lower left) demonstrated faux finish techniques. Mike explained sample panels to a booth visitor (upper right) during the tradeshow. National FCA Executive Director of Industry Services Jay Weaver sat atop the Harley-Davidson raffle motorcycle at the LMCI booth (lower right). Chicago FCAC/PDCA Secretary Tom Tyrakowski (Am-Coat Painting) and Executive Director Rich Volkmer accepted the 2007 Picture It Painted Professionally (PIPP) Award for the St. Anthony’s Hospital Charitable Painting Project sponsored by our Industry Advancement Fund from National PDCA President Carol Adkins.

Pace Photos

On-Line Registration is Easy, Quick, and Risk-Free…Look For This FCAC-PDCA Form!

For your convenience, on-line event registration has been added to the FCAC/PDCA web site. Because it is a secure web site, you can register with confidence knowing that your personal and credit card information is safe.

Now there is no need to spend time and money faxing or mailing event registration forms. Simply go to our home page (, then click on the Event Registration link, and you will be transferred to a page with the event registration form, where you:

  • Enter your personal information
  • Select the event from the drop-down menu
  • Enter the number and name(s) of the Attendees
  • Enter the amount due
  • Specify your method of payment
  • And click the Send button.

You will receive a confirmation and payment receipt in the mail. It’s that simple!

New FCAC On-line Registration Form
Discover, VISA, MasterCard, American Express


-- June 15, 2007 --




  • 7:00 AM CHECK-IN
  • 8:00 AM TEE-OFF
Register On-Line or Call 630/393-1313

Licensing Bill for Contractors   •   Senate Bill SB155

An important piece of legislation has been winding its way through the aisles of the 95th General Assembly in Springfield in recent months, and slowly coming to a boil.

Go to the state web site “” to check its status by clicking on “State Links” on the left, then “Government” & “Legislature” on the right. Under “Links & Resources”, click on “Bill & Resolution Search” to navigate and find the complete list of all the current bills under consideration; then select “SB155.”

SB155 would create “The Painting, Drywall Finishing, and Glazing Contractor Act” which will regulate those classes of contractors through licensing requirements much as plumbing and electrical contractors are already regulated. Both this Association and the PDC14 and PDC30 Unions favor this bill as good for the industry, and ask for your support in securing its passage.


-- September 12, 2007 --




• 6:30 PM - DINNER

• 7:30 PM - PROGRAM

After-Work Seminar:
The Latest Trends in
Faux Finishes

-- May 3, 2007, 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM --


101 North Swift Road • Addison, IL