The DROPCLOTH Covers Everything


Volume 60, Number 1
Winter, 2005

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The end of an era came for the Chicago painting and decorating industry on January 14th with a festive retirement dinner held at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare Hotel to celebrate the life and work of Gerald C. (Jerry) Harms.

Jerry's long and faithful service to Painters' District Council No. 14 as Secretary-Treasurer and Business Manager was heralded with a capacity attendance of over 700 guests, drawn from all sides of the Chicago construction industry, including contractors, vendors, and Union officials from every building trade. It was a grand affair, made notable by many reminiscences from his colleagues at PDC14, from his management associates, dignitaries from the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, officials from the Chicago Building Trades, and numerous friends.

Jerry was born on September 23, 1942, in Evanston. He went to grade and high school in both Chicago and Evanston. When his grandparents went to live in Sweden, he followed them in August, 1960. At his grandfather's urging, he signed up there for the Painting Apprenticeship Program in Linkoeping, Sweden, serving his apprenticeship there until the Spring of which time he returned to the USA.

In fall of 1962, he volunteered to join the U.S. Army. Following stateside training, for most of his military career he was stationed in Buedingen, Germany. There, he met his wife, Elke. They were married in Germany, and, in July of 1965, they returned to the States following Jerry's discharge from the Army.

Jerry and Elke settled down to family life in Chicago, and, over the next few years, had three children...Michael, Cheryl and Susan. The family moved to Northbrook in 1973. Since 1995, they have been blessed with sons-in-law Steven and Matthew, and eight grandchildren ranging from one to eight years old.

Jerry's illustrious career with PDC14 commenced when Julius Skogland, Business Agent for Painters Local 194, assisted him in joining Local #194 and getting his first job as a painter with Charles Decorating. As the years went by, Jerry would work for Lindy Decorating, Walter Ingstrup Company, Ragner Decorating, the Blackstone Hotel, the O'Hare Hilton Hotel, Mission Hills Development, and Crown Decorating.

Due to Mr. Skogland's assistance, Jerry started attending Local #194 meetings. In 1970, he became a Trustee in Local #194. Over the years, he also served his Local as a Delegate to PDC14, Vice President, President, Delegate to Painters General Convention, Delegate to AFL-CIO Convention and as Delegate to Painters State Conferences.

Jerry was appointed to become a Business Agent in August of 1980 and was elected to that post in 1983. In June of 1989, he was elected to become the Secretary-Treasurer of Chicago Painters District Council #14, serving in that capacity until his retirement. During his tenure, he was elected to Vice President of the Painters State Conference, Vice President of the State AFL-CIO Executive Board, and served as Trustee and Vice President of the Chicago Building Trades Council.

Jerry was also appointed to be an Executive Board Member of The Chicago Federation of Labor and served for years on the International Painters President's Advisory Committee.

When the City of Chicago closed Washburne Trade School, Jerry led the way to purchase a JATC building in Berkeley and establish a state-of-the-art apprenticeship facility and program for painters and tapers.

During his years as the Business Manager and Secretary-Treasurer of PDC14, Jerry worked tirelessly to improve the wages, pension and welfare benefits for his painters. During his time, the Labor-Management relationship evolved to one of mutual respect and working together to achieve the greater good of the employees and the industry as a whole.

Together with the contractors, he was able to establish a College Scholarship Fund for the children of painters and tapers which, since 1991, has awarded scholarships to promising students in the amount of $1,045,525.

Looking back over such a distinguished career, Jerry can take great satisfaction in his many accomplishments, as well as countless friendships that were forged during that time. We wish him the very best in retirement.

Jerry Harms Photo Montage

Paint Spots Miscellany Paintbrush Image

We'll begin with the Quote Of The Year, rendered just last week by the Chicago Tribune. "Cosmetic surgery for Ozzie Osbourne is like putting primer on Stonehenge."

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Valentine's Day has come and gone this year already, but did you know where this tradition of celebrating a day of romance originated? Church history contends that at there were at least three saints named Valentine or (Latin) Valentinus...all of whom were martyred on February 14th. It was Pope Gelasius who first placed St. Valentine's Day on the Church calendar back in the year 496 in an effort to Christianize a pagan fertility holiday that had been observed on February 15th. One of the three St. Valentines was thought to be a priest who performed marriage ceremonies in secret during the third century of the Roman Empire, before Christianity had become accepted (and adopted) as the official religion. During that era, the Roman government wanted young men to remain single in order to enlist them in the Roman Army. He is said to have been imprisoned and executed on February 14th. Other historians say that the notion of romantic love came later, when Medieval Christians observed love birds. St. Valentine's Day corresponded with the birds' mating season, so many people came to think that they should also select a mate on that day...or at least celebrate the idea of romantic love on the occasion. There you have it...perhaps more than you wanted to know about Valentine's Day. By the way, St. Valentine's Day remainded on the Catholic Church's official calendar until 1969.

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Now that we're tuning up for the golf season [insert commercial for the Chicago PDCA/FCA Annual Golf Outing at Indian Lakes on June 3, 2005] how about that record drive hit by Davis Love, III in Las Vegas earlier this year? At 476 yards, it would have flown over the Great Pyramid of Giza (251 yards), the Titanic (294 yards), and even the Empire State Building (416 yards). Top that, Tiger!

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Driver distraction causes over 25% of all auto accidents, according to a recent National Highway Traffic Administration report. This amounts to approximately 4,000 accidents per day. Another study, by the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety, reports that 19 percent of drivers admit that cell phones are distracting, while 47 percent consider adjusting car controls as distracting, 29 percent list eating or reading as distracting, and 72 percent recall turning around to talk to passengers or argue with their kids as distracting. What ever happened to keeping your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road?

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Here are a selection of Ten Great Truths that have been discovered by children:

  1. No matter how hard you try, you can't baptize cats.
  2. When your Mom is mad at your Dad, don't let her brush your hair.
  3. If your sister hits you, don't hit her back. They always catch the second person.
  4. Never ask a three-year-old brother to hold your tomato.
  5. You can't trust the dog to watch your food.
  6. Don't ever sneeze when someone is cutting your hair.
  7. Never hold a Dust Buster and the cat at the same time.
  8. You can't hide a piece of broccoli in a glass of milk.
  9. Never wear polka-dot underwear under white shorts.
  10. The best place to be when you're sad is in Grandpa's lap.

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Here's a great previously-unrevealed use for B.I.N. primer. There is a funeral home in Akron, Ohio, that uses skin-tone tinted B.I.N. to prepare deceased customers for viewing. Applying the primer prior to makeup, morticians cover bruises and blemishes to prevent them from showing through.

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Walt has retired the colors at Saro Decorating, and has some equipment that may be of interest to contractors. Call him at 847/577-7274 if you have any interest in a Simpson electrostatic unit, (5) Graco airless sprayers, a power washer with sandblasting attachment, (2) 32' fiberglass extension ladders, (6) 28' fiberglass ladders, or a 40' Werner aluminum ladder.

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Word arrived this Winter that Sandy Mulick had passed away. Although not active in recent times as an Associate Member, she had many friends in the industry who recall her years with RM (Republic Midwest). The industry also lost Alan Saks in January, the inveterate entrepreneur who expanded the Saxon Paint & Hardware stores into a Midwest powerhouse and projected the Chicago paint business outward into Indiana and Milwaukee in quest of a 50-store chain during the 1970's, appealing to the do-it-yourself market early on.

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Finally, Chicago painting contractors lost one of their own with the passing of Fred "Moose" Sachaschik in January. Blessed with a warm, funny, outgoing personality, and a very popular fellow with Associates and competitors alike, Moose ran River Rose Decorating.



Jay Weaver Photo

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

Blue Bullet The Class Action Fairness Act of 2005, sponsored as S.5 by Senator Grassley [R-IA] and as H.R.516 by Representative Goodlatte [R-VA] would amend procedures applying to the consideration of interstate class actions to assure fairer outcomes for both class members and defendants (i.e., two major provisions: funnel class action lawsuits with plaintiffs from multiple states out-of-state courts and into the federal court system, as well as rein in the multimillion dollar payments to lawyers. On 2/18/05, it was signed by President Bush into Public Law.

Blue Bullet The Equal Access to Justice Reform Act of 2005 sponsored as H.R.435 by Representatives Manzullo [R-IL] and Blumenauer [D-OR]) would remove the current barriers against recovering attorney fees and costs when small businesses prevail in cases against the federal government. It has been referred to the House Judiciary and Small Business Committees.

Blue Bullet Four OSHA Reform Bills have just been reintroduced (H.R.739, 740, 741, and 742) by Represenative Norwood [R-GA]) which would ease the burden on small businesses in dealings with OSHA. It has been referred to the House Education and the Workforce Committee.

Blue Bullet Construction will qualify for tax credits under P.L.108-357. The American Jobs Creation Act of 2004, according to interim guidance published by the IRS (Section 199), effective for tax years beginning after December 31, 2004, defines construction as a "qualified production activity" under the law for construction and renovation of real property in the U.S., including residential and commercial buildings. For 2005, this will mean a deduction equalling 3% of the lesser of taxable income derived from qualified production activity or taxable income for the year. However, the deduction for a taxable year is limited to 50% of the W-2 wages paid that year. In 2010, when the deduction is fully phased-in, the 3% rate will have increased to 9%.
Blue Bullet A Right-To-Work bill reintroduced in the House (H.R.500, sponsored by Representative Wilson [R-SC]) would repeal provisions of the National Labor Relations Act which allow employers to require union membership or the payment of dues as a condition of employment. It has been referred to the House Education and the Workforce Committee.

Blue Bullet The Department of Labor's FY2006 Budget would streamline training, increase Union "transparency," and continue to protect worker safety according to President Bush's proposed budget. It reportedly focuses on placing training options in the hands of workers, streamlining training programs, and continuing to protect workers' safety, pay, benefits, and Union dues, as well as increasing Union financial accountability.

Blue Bullet "Mixed Dust" claims pose new stumbling blocks in negotiations over passing an Asbestos Bill. In recent negotiations, business and labor have agreed to a funding scheme that would pay up to $140B in asbestos awards. However, they are taking vastly different positions now on a more contentious issue: how to handle workers' exposure to a "mixed dust" of harmful substances (i.e., asbestos lawsuits which also reference other harmful substances).

Blue Bullet The erosion of Union "density" in the construction industry apparently continues. For 2004, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has recently released data indicating that the percentage of construction workers represented by Unions continues to decline. In spite of 2004's record employment in construction, only 14.7% of all construction workers were members of Building Trade Unions in 2004, compared with 16% in 2003, 17.2% in 2002, and 18.1% in 2001.


by Rett Humke

Over the past five years, the market has generated negative returns. It has been a long and tough bear market. This is not news to you. You have watched retirement programs wander aimlessly and found retirement dreams becoming blurry.

"What," you may inquire, "is coming next?"

Let's help a flickering crystal ball with a review of what has happened in the past, for history just might repeat itself.

First and foremost, all bear markets do end. Over the past 100-plus years, there have been eight heavy downturns.

Some of them have been real doozies, too. The depression-sized market downturn suffered from September of 1929 through July of 1932, for perhaps the best example, witnessed a window-jumping 89% decline in values.

No historic downturn lasted forever, however. And, in spite of the occasional downturn, stocks still managed to generate average annual returns of 11% or so even during the period of decline. Remember, it is a long road that has no turns.

Second, as serious downturns go, the current one is not really all that spectacular. In history's eight heavy bear markets, the average decline was 51 percent. That compares with a decline of "only"

37% for the current downturn. Take courage in recalling that we are not foundering in uncharted waters. Things have really been worse.

Third, all major bear markets in the past have been followed by the market taking off. Five years after past market downturns hit their bottom, markets were posting average recoveries of 127%. In short, history says that past downtowns have always been followed by very strong upturns.

Fourth, history also reports that many investors do not fully participate in post-bear-market recoveries because they have withdrawn from the market and are sitting on the sidelines. Such investors miss out on one-third to one-half of the recovery period before they recognize it and re-enter the marketplace.

Remember, it's best to stay the course and be there when the recovery hits. If history repeats itself, that means we may need to be in the market right now.

Rett Humke is president of Humke Groups Inc., located at 555 S. Randall Road, Suite 103, St. Charles (584-7343). Holding an MBA in finance, he is both a certified financial planner and registered investment advisor, as well as a registered representative of Mutual Services Corporation.

Polish Candies Highlight Christmas Luncheon...

Christmas Luncheon Photo

"Santa" Terry Bobbe and President Marty Tew gave out Christmas gifts of Polish candies with helpers Barb Krause and Candy Schultz at the December 8, 2004, PDCA Christmas Luncheon at Maggiano's.

Family Business of the Year Photo

"Family Business Of The Year"
Tom Hester accepted the Loyola University 2004 "Family Business Of The Year" award from Andrew Keyt (Executive Director of Loyola's Chicago Family Business Center) and Emilia Dimenco (Harris Trust & Savings Bank) on December 9, 2004, at a gala awards dinner. Keynote speaker for the event was Michael Birck, Chairman of Tellabs.

Helmets TO Hardhats Photo


The "Helmets to Hardhats" program eases the often difficult transition into civilian life for military families, providing career opportunities, pay, and benefits to those who have earned their nation's respect for their years of service and sacrifice.

The program serves as a clearing house for career opportunities in the building and construction trades...working closely with former military personnel to provide that information.

Candidates can readily access information about potential careers in the building trades and available apprenticeships via the Internet from anywhere in the world. To apply for work or membership, candidates must complete a comprehensive profile that helps the Helmets to Hardhats program refer them in the right direction. The program then connects the candidate with the right opportunity in the right location, serving as an advocate wherever necessary.

Helmets to Hardhats is co-sponsored by all fifteen Building and Construction Trades organizations, as well as their employer associations, which together represent about 82,000 contractors. Labor leaders

have embraced the program, and remain eager to help U.S. soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen transfer their experience and military "can-do" attitude into secure jobs within the construction industry.

The program is basically a building trades initiative administered by the Center for Military Recruitment, Assessment, and Veterans Employment. The U.S. Army administers the funding, which was made available in January, 2003, to help get the program off the ground.

The Center itself is a not-for-profit trust organization directed by a joint labor-management construction industry committee. The co-chairs are Edward C. Sullivan, the BCTD President, and Kenneth E. Hedman, the Chairman of the North American Contractors Association.

Helmets To Hardhats has become such a resounding success due in part to support rendered by eight major Union contractor associations, FCA being one of them.

As a direct result, the number of active duty military personnel making their transition back to civilian life by being placed in Union construction jobs surged from modest beginnings of 3,221 in 2003 to 14,724 in 2004.

Chicago Union Painting Contractors can participate easily. To register as an employer, simply visit the Helmets to Hardhats web site ( and click on "Find Candidates." Then go to "Employers," and "First Time Register." It's a great way to help deserving people and your business!

Helmets To Hardhats Logo


Jim Watte, JATC Apprenticeship Training Program Coordinator, has issued a list of 21 outstanding training programs now offered to PDC14 Journeyman painters who are interested in improving their professional skills.



K&R/Christopher Paints William J. Clinton Presidential Center In Little Rock

• CDI & BHN Corporation Contractor
• K&R/Christopher Specialty Subcontractor

A Report By Keith Farnham

The William J. Clinton Presidential Center is an act of faith and of confidence. President Clinton hopes the Center will allow people to visit and study the eight years of his presidency and this nation and help empower people with the believe that they can build America's greatest days in the new century.

The Center is located within a new 27-acre city park along the bank of the Arkansas River in Little Rock. The park replaces a run-down industrial site of old warehouses and vacant space, and will provide access to a revitalized riverfront as well as a connection to downtown.

The main purpose of a presidential library is to preserve and explain history. The collection, previously housed at the National Archives, includes 77 million documents, 75,000 artifacts, 1.8 million photographs, and more than 40 million e-mail messages.

K&R/Christopher's contribution to the William J. Clinton Presidential Center was based on the following requirements:

• New Construction structural steel required high performance fluoropolymer coating to provide for long-term color fastness where UV rays would be amplified from the glass sub-wall. Upon proper cleaning and timely coordination of steps, K&R/C maintained a strict production schedule in applying a two-coat primer and two coat fluoropolymer system to meet manufacturer's recommendations to achieve 10-year warranty.

• Challenges included coordination with installation contractors so factory finishes would not be compromised before installation of the PPG "Coraflon" ADS coating system . . . the removal of weld splatter and other surface imperfections and contaminants typical to installation of structural steel . . . air-dry application with precise dry film thicknesses and a consistent appearance . . . timely project completion for the Grand Opening.

Clinton Presidential Center Photo Montage