April 4, 2023

In March, members of LIUNA Local 609 and Painters and Allied Trades DC 35 and Local 48 donated their time and resources to renovate the two large ITT classrooms. The workers spent many hours repainting the classrooms, repairing items in the space such as doors and ceiling tiles, and installed new equipment. 

“These classrooms take a lot of wear and tear and because of the pandemic and the subsequent focus on the staffing crisis, we had not brought in a fresh set of eyes for some time,” said Jared Bouzan, MEd, chief development officer. “The union workers helped to renovate and refresh the space to be more bright, cheerful, and welcoming to students and teachers.”

When Bouzan reached out to Jamie Merloni, the training director for New England Laborers’ Training Academy based in Hopkinton, with help with renovating the ITT rooms, Merloni, a member of Local 609, immediately connected him with Wendall Gardner, the president of LIUNA Local 609.

“We are always eager to help with projects within our community, said Gardner, adding that they have been involved in a number of projects like this one, such as school playground builds and handicap ramp builds. “Another reason that we were eager to help with NECC is that my oldest son has autism, and many of our laborers who showed up to help have children, siblings, or family members who have either autistic, disabilities, or other developmental delays.” 

Gardner said the teams were excited and enthusiastic about taking part in updating the classrooms. “Many of the members who joined these efforts were grateful to take part in a project that would enhance the lives of all who attend,” he said.

In addition to providing the labor, the unions raised more than $6,000 for the renovations by reaching out to the local building trades they work alongside with on construction sites every day, including LIUNA Local 609, Massachusetts and Northern New England Laborers’ District Council, Framingham-Newton Building Trades Council, and Sherwin Williams generously donated paint and supplies for the project.

“Many were happy to donate to the cause as soon as they heard about the project,” Gardner shared. “Aside from monetary donations, we also had many trades donate their time and skills to work on the project, such as the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades Local 35.

“We are so grateful to the Labor’s and Painter’s Union members and to Armand E. Sabitoni, LIUNA general secretary-treasurer and New England regional manager, for donating their time, expertise, and funds to bring these classrooms back to life,” added Bouzan. “Their incredible generosity allows us to focus our valuable resources on important educational and extracurricular programming for our students. This renovation makes a world of difference to the children with autism and the teachers who spend their days working and learning in these spaces.”