Members of Local 4 of the International Union of Elevator Constructors (IUEC) have been picketing a Cambridge Housing Authority (CHA) property because a non-union contractor, United States Elevator, Inc., is doing work there. CHA is respectful of the union’s right to disagree on the employ of US Elevator however we feel it is important to advise the public on why we chose US Elevator for elevator work at 116 Norfolk St. and the F.J. Manning Apartments on Franklin Street.
US Elevator is the only contractor that submitted bids for the elevator work at the two developments. No union contractors or contractors based in Massachusetts submitted bids for the work.
In January 2010, the Cambridge Housing Authority invited contractors to bid for elevator modernization work at the two public housing developments. CHA received no bids in response to the initial invitation to bid.
In February 2010, CHA issued revised bid documents. Only one bid was received for each development, both were from United States Elevator, Inc. At that time CHA also received information that raised questions around US Elevator’s ability to work in Massachusetts as well as allegations that deficiencies in our bid documents were the reason no local companies responded to CHA’s bid invitation. In response to the latter allegation, CHA had our bid documents reviewed by an independent engineering firm. The independent consultant rejected the allegation and confirmed the acceptability of the specifications included in our original invitation to bid.
With respect to issues raised about the ability of US Elevator to work in Massachusetts, the Commonwealth’s Department of Industrial Accidents (DIA) issued US Elevator a stop work order related to another job. The order resulted in the firm’s debarment in Massachusetts and prevented US Elevators from immediately moving forward with its CHA contract.
After administrative appeals and court intervention, it was found that the disbarment was erroneous. US Elevator was reimbursed for fines assessed by the Commonwealth, the stop work order was rescinded and US Elevator was removed from the DIA Debarment list.
CHA is a public agency and is required under Chapter 149 of state law to publicly bid all construction work over $100,000. All filed contractors are required to be pre-qualified by the Commonwealth’s Division of Capital Asset Management (DCAM). At the time of the bid, US Elevator was (and remains) a pre-qualified contractor by DCAM with a rating of 91% out of 100. A score of 80% or higher is required to be eligible to publicly bid in Massachusetts. Additionally, CHA did its own independent reference checks and received satisfactory results. Any issues with US Elevator’s qualifications for the two CHA jobs, or any other jobs in Massachusetts, should be addressed to DCAM.
CHA’s Board of Commissioners awarded a construction contract for each project to US Elevator Corporation with a total budget of $1,093,770. CHA is satisfied that it followed the law, used due diligence and awarded the contract to the lowest responsible bidder in its selection of United States Elevator, Inc. for the work at 116 Norfolk St. and F.J. Manning Apartments.