The Labor-Management Cooperative Trust (LMCT) serves as a bridge between Local 12 and the Greater Boston Plumbing Contractors Association (GBPCA). It works to advance both organizations’ shared objectives and promote as well as maintain a vigilant eye on the plumbing industry. In April, the LMCT welcomed Rita Gill-McCarthy as its new administrator.
Gill-McCarthy brings 20 years of experience working for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Division of Apprentice Standards. A part of the Department of Labor, the division registers all of the state’s apprentices along with handling other apprentice-related duties. Among her responsibilities, Gill-McCarthy issued ID cards to apprentices seeking work on prevailing wage jobs. She also examined certified payrolls to make sure that apprentices were being correctly compensated.
The work prepared Gill-McCarthy well for her LMCT position. Part of her role includes analyzing construction project data to bring questionable business practices, including failures to adhere to prevailing wage laws, to light. She also ensures that bids are handled properly and that they are administered correctly and legally once they are awarded. The efforts help Local 12 members and signatory GBPCA contractors compete on a more level playing field.
“There can be some unscrupulous players–‘bad actors,’ if you will–in the industry,” Gill-McCarthy says. By exposing them and making sure everyone plays by the rules, the LMCT “can even help nonunion shops and workers in a roundabout way,” she adds.
The work often puts Gill-McCarthy in touch with the Fair Labor Division of the state’s Attorney General’s office. It also puts her in touch with GBPCA contractors and Local 12 officials, many of whom she had worked with while at the Division of Apprentice Standards. The relationships that she developed are serving her well at the LMCT.
“I’m one of Rita’s biggest fans,” says Rick Carter, the director of Local 12’s training center, who often interacted with Gill-McCarthy when she was at the state agency. “She was always very helpful to our apprentices and the training center. She was very detail oriented. I can’t say enough good about her.”
With a father, two cousins, and an uncle all working as carpenters, along with another cousin who was a roofer, Gill-McCarthy was quite familiar with the construction trades growing up. She was also familiar with organized labor.
“My father was in the union and was very pro-union,” says Gill-McCarthy. “He always told me I should be a carpenter. I didn’t listen to him.”
But the labor message did resonate as she pursued a degree in labor studies from UMass Boston and went to work for the Department of Labor after graduating college.
Gill-McCarthy’s husband is a teamster. They have a ten-year-old daughter. She says that her family enjoys taking bike rides and traveling. (Remember traveling?)
As LMCT administrator, Gill-McCarthy notes that her multi-faceted work keeps her on her toes. “Every day is something new,” she says. “I love the challenge.”