Mike Prohaska, Business Manager

Mike has been a laborer for over 40 years. His name is on the original charter of the Local and he was one of the architects of the Clean Slate in 1996. He has served the union in numerous elected positions and became Business Manager in 2012. In 1995, during the restructuring of the Mason Tenders District Council, Mike was tapped to be part of the next generation of leaders. Mike was Local 79’s first Director of Organizing during the historic organizing campaigns of the Asbestos and Demolition industries and later, working with Eddy Malloy created the city’s first Building Trades organizing department.

Since becoming Business Manager, Mike has led our union to recovery out of the Great Recession and into five straight years of record-breaking hours. In addition, Mike serves as the Secretary-Treasurer of the Mason Tenders District Council and Treasurer of the MTDC PAC. He also is proud to represent us as trustee for the Mason Tenders Trust Funds and the New York State Laborers Tri-Funds. Mike’s leadership has been honored by many organizations including: NAACP, Bronx Democratic Party, HEART 9/11, Make the Road, Labor Committee for Latin American Advancement, Community Voices Heard, Schneps Media and Pathways 2 Apprenticeship. Mike is also on the Board of Directors for Nontraditional Employment for Women, a pre-apprenticeship program that prepares and trains women for careers in a skilled construction trade. Mike is a firm believer that only through education and training can workers advance in their careers; therefore, he has attended the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor relations, the New York State AFL-CIO/Cornell Union Leadership Institute. Mike was born and raised in The Bronx.

John Norbury, President

John Norbury has been a laborer since 1986. John has been our long-time Queens Business Agent in addition to his current role as President. John along with Mike were original architects of the Clean Slate during the founding of Local 79 and became Local 79’s Vice-President in 2001. For 20 years, John has also been President of the Queens Board of Business Agents for the NYC Building Trades. In 2019, John was selected as Honorary Grand Marshall at the 2019 Queens County St. Patrick’s Day Parade. John grew up in Richmond Hill, Queens.

Chaz Rynkiewicz, Vice President

Chaz has been a Laborer for over 25 years, landing his first Union job in 1995. In the field, he worked as both a Shop Steward and Foreman before becoming an Organizer. Chaz has served as Local 79’s Organizing Director since 2013 and before that was Assistant Director. Chaz’s first elected-position was as Sergeant-at-Arms before becoming an Executive Board member. He currently serves as Vice President. Chaz founded our Membership Assistance Program, the Recovery Support Group for those with substance abuse issues. Chaz also is the leader of HEART 9/11’s Rebuild Response Team which coordinates emergency volunteers from the NYC Building Trades, police and firefighter unions to aid military veterans and communities impacted by natural disasters. He currently sits on the Mason Tenders District Council Executive Board, MTDC PAC Board and is on the Board of Trustees for the Mason Tenders Trust Funds. Chaz was born and raised in Bath Beach, Brooklyn.

Anthony Vita, Secretary-Treasurer

Anthony Vita’s career began as many other of today’s labor leaders – working as a laborer in the field.  In 1981 Tony joined Laborers’ Local 47, and his first job was on an eight- story senior citizens nursing home in Coney Island.   From that day on, Tony has dedicated his professional career to the proud men and women of the Laborers’ International Union of North America.  In March of 2021 that journey reached its pinnacle when Tony assumed the position of secretary-treasurer of the more than 10,000-member Construction & General Building Laborers’ Local 79.

Born in Brooklyn and raised in Howard Beach, Tony is one of four brothers who joined the Laborers at an early age.  Working as a general laborer, Tony soon began his rise through the ranks of the local union from laborer where he learned every aspect of the trade, to shop steward, to foreman, to business agent and ultimately to elected officer.

In 1996 during the period in which the Mason Tender District Council and its affiliated local unions were reconfigured, Tony was appointed as a business agent for newly created Local 79.  The following year, Tony was recruited by the new leadership of the Local to join the staff and establish the Grievance Department.  Under Tony’s direction the Grievance Department grew from a one-man operation to a professional division of the local union that today employs four people.   The success of the department’s efforts speaks for itself – under Tony’s leadership the Grievance Department collected over $20,000,000 on behalf of the membership. 

In 2005 Tony was elected to the Executive Board of Local l79, serving as an executive board member, while continuing as director of the Grievance Department.  In 2019 Tony assumed the position of Local 79 president and assistant to the Business manager.  While no longer head of the Grievance Department, Tony continues to actively enforce the local’s jurisdiction and sign new contractors to signatory agreements.  His responsibilities also include supervising the day-to-day activities of the more than 15 business agents, who are in the field everyday throughout New York City. 

Today, as Secretary-Treasurer of the largest Laborers construction local in the United States, Tony is responsible for overseeing the finances of a multi-million-dollar organization.  In that position, he continues his career of serving, protecting and fighting for the members of Laborers’ Local 79. 

Since 1981 Tony has lived on Long Island, where he and his wife raised their family.

Wendy Webb, Recording Secretary

Wendy has been a laborer for over 33 years and is running to be Recording Secretary. After serving our union as a Shop Steward, Wendy became a Business Agent in 2001. She then moved on to become Apprenticeship Co-Coordinator for Local 79 at the Mason Tenders Training Fund and currently is the Apprentice Field Coordinator. Wendy started her career in the military, but is now proud to serve as a mentor to new members from all backgrounds. She currently is on the board for Edward J. Malloy Initiative for Construction Skills run by the NYC Building Trades. Wendy grew up in downtown Brooklyn.

Bernard Callegari, Sergeant-at-Arms

A member of Local 79 since 2001, Bernard is currently the GNY-LECET Assistant Director of Field Operations and serves in the elected position of Sergeant-at-Arms. Bernard is honored to have been a Shop Steward on Ground Zero projects following the September 11 attacks. A former organizer for Local 79 and LEROF, Bernard started out working on the Advance Demolition campaign in 2005 and through the years has risen as a leader serving as the Field Coordinator for the Count Me In, Build Up New York, and Laborers Fight Back campaigns. Bernard also serves as a Member’s Assistant Professional for those with substance abuse issues through the MAP program and helps put together the monthly Recovery Support Group meetings. Bernard also partners with 696 Build Queensbridge and Urban Upbound, community organizations in the neighborhood where he grew up, organizing countless community events with other Local 79 volunteers. These events include, food drives, neighborhood clean ups, sponsoring kids’ basketball tournaments and job fairs. Bernard is passionate about giving back and making a change in the Queensbridge Houses community, and through Pathways 2 Apprenticeship has recently been able to provide life changing career opportunities to 22 men and women through direct entry placement into one of the Building trades unions. Bernard looks forward to continue serving his Brothers and Sisters.

Barrie Smith, Executive Board Member

Barrie Smith is a proud Local 79 member who started in the field and through hard work and determination became a Shop Steward and then a Foreman for Americon Construction. Barrie has been a Business Agent for many years where he passionately defends the rights of our membership and enforces our collective-bargaining agreements. Barrie represents our union as an Executive Board member and has held other elected positions. He also serves as Sergeant-at-Arms of the Mason Tenders District Council. Barrie is the President of 100 Black Construction Workers and a member of the New York City chapter of the NAACP and the National Action Network. Barrie is also the Sergeant-at-Arms of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, A. Philip Randolph Institute, and the board of the LiUNA African-American Caucus. Barrie also has an Associate’s Degree from Ulster Community College. Barrie believes in the power of the labor movement to uplift communities and is a leader in the fight for racial and economic justice. Barrie grew up in Brownsville, Brooklyn.

Luis Montalvo, Executive Board Member

Luis has been a member for over 40 years. Luis serves our union as a Business Agent and through his elected position as an Executive Board member. Previously Luis worked as an organizer for LEROF and worked with Mike Prohaska and others on the historic campaign to organize the demolition and asbestos industries in the 1990s. Luis is currently President of Federación de Pichincha en NY, involved with several non-profit organizations and is proud to be involved with the Ecuadorian-American community in Queens. Luis is a longtime volunteer with HEART 9/11, helped coordinate our union’s relief efforts for the victims of the 2016 earthquake in Ecuador and went to Haiti two times. Luis is also a proud member of Frente Hispano and the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement. Luis is originally from Quito, Ecuador and currently lives in Queens. 

Anthony Williamson, Auditor

With over a decade of experience in organizing and fighting for the rights of union workers, Anthony Williamson offers a unique blend of leadership, vision, and knowledge. Anthony was born in Georgetown, Guyana and migrated to the USA in 1996. He currently resides in Brooklyn, NY. With a vision and a goal in mind – to broaden his career. He attended Cornell University where he pursued an advanced certificate in Labor Studies. He joined the Laborers Union in 2000, a decision influenced by a Coalition Group. His passion for community service and the labor movement landed him an opportunity of a lifetime. He spent a short time working as a laborer before being hired by Local 79 as an Organizer. You will always find Anthony at the front of any rally with a bullhorn in his hand. He is dedicated to exposing exploitation and fighting for the rights of our membership. In addition to his career advancement, he was appointed to Local 79’s Executive Board as an Auditor, a position he still holds. Anthony also is the Political Director of 100 Black Construction Workers as well as a member of the A. Philip Randolph Institute and the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists. He spent years working as a community activist, received multiple awards from organizations and elected officials for his service to the labor movement and the community. His accomplishments also include a bachelor’s degree in Labor Studies from the National Labor College. Anthony is currently pursuing his Master’s Degree in Urban Studies. Anthony’s many accomplishments would not have been possible had it not been for his exposure to a union – Local 79.

Steve Andujar, Auditor

Steve has been a laborer for over 30 years. He is our in-house business agent and serves in the elect position of Auditor. Steve has held multiple positions as a business agent and organizer and while working in the field was proud to represent our union as a Shop Steward. Steve stays active in the Bronx community and volunteers his time with local youth as a baseball coach and in various local events. Steve is proud to be born and raised in the South Bronx.

Kenneth Robinson, Auditor

Kenny Robinson has been a laborer since 1989. Kenny has been a Business Agent for over 20 years in addition to his current role as Auditor. He also is the President of the Manhattan Board Board of Business Agents for the NYC Building Trades. Kenny is proud to be a second-generation Laborer and fight for the rights of our members. Kenny was born in the Bronx.