DC 9 At The Bronx Museum
Originally published in The Bronx Chronicle
From March 21st to March 25th, forty painters from District Council 9 International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (DC 9) worked refinishing the Bronx Museum of the Arts’ (BMA) first floor galleries. Forty journeymen and apprentice painters have spent five days ensuring the first floor galleries at the Bronx Museum of the Arts shine for the Bronx community.
“We live here. We work here. We contribute here,” said Joseph Azzopardi, Business Manager and Secretary Treasurer at DC 9. “DC 9 members are dedicated to serving the communities we live and work in. From refinishing The Unisphere in Queens to participating in action days with Covenant House in Manhattan our members know the value of giving back.”
Bronx elected officials took notice and offered praise.
“I want to thank DC 9 for dedicating hundreds of hours of service to better the Bronx community,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “Checks are nice, but someone has to execute the work to continue improving the Bronx community making it more vibrant for current and future residents. We know we can count on DC 9 in the past, today, and in the future, and we appreciate their work on behalf of the thousands of users of the Bronx Museum of the Arts.”
“DC 9 and its members are contributing the only way they know how – with their time and the skills the union taught them,” said Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson. “The members of DC 9 and their contractors understand we are all community partners. I am committed to standing with them as they better New York City one job at a time.”
Many of the DC 9 members participating in the service project are apprentices. Lezlie Harris, a Rhode Island native, has been an apprentice painter for 2 ½ years. She said that after learning that DC 9 was having an open enrollment, she decided to try her chance at being a union painter. “It’s been a really good experience so far, Harris said.
Bronx natives, Jorge Arias and Christian Ildifonso also participated in the project. Arias, a graduate of John F. Kennedy HS and Ildifonso, a Columbus HS grad are proud DC 9 members.
Asked about the BMA service project, Ms. Harris said, “I think it’s fantastic. I definitely have a sense of altruism.”
Heather Reyes, BMA exhibitions manager, had nothing but praise for the DC 9 crew. “They came in with their crew and did this in four days. We can actually start installing our exhibition sooner.” Thanks to DC 9, Ms. Reyes will be able to move in its next exhibition sooner and have new works up for audiences ahead of schedule.
The project was initiated by BMA board member Ruth Roth, whose husband Gordon owns and operates Roth Paints. According DC 9 Bronx business agent Richard Small, Gordon Roth is one of the union’s oldest contractors. Benjamin Moore Paints donated the paint and supplies.
The value of the work being executed by DC 9 is estimated to be worth in excess of $20,000.
For over a hundred years, District Council 9 has provided high quality, innovative workmanship combined with cutting edge technology and technique. “Our apprenticeships program is about 10% women and minorities comprise about 90%. It’s something that we really pride ourselves in,” said Davon Lomax, DC 9 political director.
DC 9 holds an apprentice open enrollment happens every winter and summer. Applicants file applications that are picked in a lottery. Successful applicants get called for an interview, get hired, and receive a combination of classroom instruction and on-the-job training.