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Tocci Goes Union


Tocci Building Cos signed a collective bargaining agreement with the New England Regional Council of Carpenters and will use only union carpenters throughout New England, after 40 years as a non-union shop. For the 92-year-old company to do more complex projects and to expand, it needed more highly skilled workers and subcontractors, Chief Enabling Officer John Tocci tells Bisnow. The Woburn-based company is experiencing demand for its technologically advanced project delivery, especially for sophisticated, urban mixed-use projects—hospitals, life science and educational institutions. 


To migrate from mostly suburban projects where non-union is more common—like the Marlboro Cancer Center—to big jobs in Boston and Cambridge, Tocci will be working for institutions bound to use union labor. Currently, as the program manager for a $270M package of Boston Medical Center projects, Tocci oversees others. To be hired to do the work itself as the construction manager, it must go union. For John, this return to his grandfather’s tradition of using union carpenters will mean a cost increase of 3% to 5%. In the cities, that expense is built into contracts. In the ‘burbs, Tocci will have to be nimble to compete.   


New England Regional Council of Carpenters’ Mark Erlich tells us the contractors will get the highly trained craftsmen they need and the carpenters will get “appropriate” wages and benefits. Overall, 42 new companies signed up with the NERCC last year. Coming up, Mark expects to soon sign a contract with a major contractor that runs heavy highway construction projects.