Agreement: McCabe getting $1.25M from BIAW

The OlympianDecember 14, 2010 

Longtime leader Tom McCabe will be paid $1.25 million and given a year's worth of health-care coverage as part of his severance agreement with the Building Industry Association of Washington.

The Olympian obtained a copy of the Agreement. It shows McCabe and BIAW executive board members signed the deal on Thursday, Dec. 9. It also says McCabe voluntarily resigns as executive vice president, is paid $1.25 million by Dec. 10 and will be entitled to health-insurance coverage through December 2011 as well as deferred compensation already owed under existing plans.

Other staffers also are eligible for severance pay, according to the agreement.

Requests for comment last week went unanswered by BIAW president Matthew Clarkston of Camas, McCabe, and BIAW spokeswoman Erin Shannon.

McCabe's departure at year's end leaves a huge hole at BIAW and appears to be the result of a power struggle within the trade organization over its direction – including a fight with members of the local affiliate, Master Builders Association of King-Snohomish Counties.

The BIAW under McCabe was a big force in supporting Dino Rossi's two unsuccessful gubernatorial campaigns, Supreme Court races, a successful initiative to repeal ergonomics rules, and this year’s failed initiative to let private firms compete with the state for workers compensation coverage.

Here is BIAW’s announcement on McCabe and our Friday blog post, which recaps some of his accomplishments, lawsuits and other troubles at the 10,000-member trade association.

The Times had this story earlier in the year on the BIAW’s shifting fortunes.

The news comes as a major BIAW rival, the Washington State Labor Council, has picked new leaders.

Council spokesman David Groves got in a few more digs about the new of McCabe’s imminent department, saying: "Ironically, McCabe devoted much of his time to trying to prevent working people from getting a decent contract through their union. He must have had a pretty good employment contract himself to negotiate a buyout that huge." [And:] "In these tough economic times when most companies, governments and organizations are laying off people and cutting wages and benefits, it seems pretty selfish for McCabe to demand a golden parachute like that. But I can't say I'm surprised."

According to the nine-page settlement agreement, BIAW is indemnifying McCabe against any past, present or future litigation against BIAW, its Members Services Corp., its Washington Builders Benefit Trust or McCabe in his role with those organizations.

Nine staffers – including lobbyists – also are given severance pay of up to one month’s base salary for every three years of service, up to $250,000 total for the group, if they leave by June 30. The staffers include: Brian Minnich, Jan Rohila, Erin Shannon, Jodi Slavik, Amy Brackenberry, Tom Kwieciak, Kim Bresaw, Darla Smith, and Gerrit Shulman.

The contract also has a non-disparagement clause. That means the BIAW and McCabe are prohibited from bad-mouthing each other – a bit of a change in tone perhaps.

The group's blog is called The Hammer, and it has joyously smacked down everyone from the labor council to Republican Attorney General Rob McKenna and Democratic U.S. Sen. John Kerry.

Updated to restore missing paragraphs.

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