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Bob Balgenorth on McCarron's true colors

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 The following reprinted article is a Monthly Column for September 2010 written by State Building and Construction Trades Council of California President Robert L. Balgenorth - linked here

Carpenters, Led By “Chainsaw” McCarron,

Out To Destroy PLAs, Massacre Wages and Benefits

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You might remember, a few years back, hearing about a business executive, Al Dunlap, who earned the nickname “Chainsaw Al” for his pattern of repeatedly taking over companies, slashing thousands of jobs, systematically consolidating power and paying himself huge bonuses, leaving the company in shambles, and then moving on to his next victims.

The Securities and Exchange Commission finally busted him for fraud for exaggerating earnings to shareholders, and banned him from ever running a business again. But the damage was done. He’d already severed thousands of people from their jobs and pocketed countless millions for himself.

Chainsaw Al may be out of business, but now Chainsaw McCarron (Doug McCarron, General President of the Carpenters’ Union) runs amok among us. Chainsaw McCarron and his cohorts have long been enemies of the working men and women in the Building Trades, but in recent months, during state proceedings to start construction on solar power plants, they’ve intensified the attacks.

For years, the Carpenters’ leaders have taken anti-worker actions, by aligning themselves with anti-worker politicians like George W. Bush and Arnold Schwarzenegger, by earning media ridicule for hiring homeless people to walk picket lines for rock-bottom wages and no benefits, by seeking approval to build power projects for poverty wages and no benefits, and by urging legislators to eliminate fair labor practices from the design-build process.

Now, Chainsaw McCarron and the Carpenters are attacking  CURE (a coalition of Boilermakers, IBEW and UA), that has secured more than 40 PLA’s on power plants and solar installations during the last 10 years, raising union market share to over 98 percent. CURE’s PLAs have protected all crafts, including carpenters.

In a transparent attempt to snatch more than the Carpenters’ fair share of good jobs away from Building Trades workers, McCarron wrote the Energy Commission, telling it to be “extra cautious” of labor groups who espouse environmental values, when it considers a pending solar project near Blythe.

Then, at the Commission hearing, the Carpenters brought their chainsaws out in force, falsely testifying that CURE is a “scam” and a “shell,” that CURE has “questionable motives” and a “thinly veiled agenda.”

They actually made these quotes:

“Let the market, let these developers, let these companies that are building this help us build this future and tell us the best way to build it. Let's not impose or shoehorn a workforce on them that makes no sense, for two reasons: First of all, it's costly, very costly. Many of them may not end up building these projects when they realize the cost of their labor agreements.”

“If the builder of this project would have went out and signed a Project Labor Agreement with the building trades, I doubt that you would even be having this hearing….. It's a scam, it's a shell that they put up in terms of trying to beat one of these utility companies or other contractors into signing Project Labor Agreements instead of letting the market take its place.”

“Move off of all of the things you've heard from the CURE group about this environmental issue or that environmental issue.”

“You can send that message. Let the industry know, Come in here. You're welcome.”

When these guys say those things, they are talking about slashing your construction jobs and your wages. They are trying to destroy, overnight, wages for thousands of construction workers, like you, that took a generation of fighting to secure.

Why are they doing this? For the same reason Chainsaw Al Dunlap ravaged all those companies he took over. In this case, it is Chainsaw Doug McCarron’s insatiable lust for personal power that is putting CURE’s future successes, and thousands of good construction jobs, at risk.

Maybe we should expect greedy corporate CEO’s to wreck working people’s lives and jobs for profit.

But what kind of labor leaders seek to enrich themselves by destroying good jobs for working people?

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Last Updated on Sunday, 31 October 2010 21:47  


"We have no intention on intruding on the carpenters' jurisdiction nor do we intend to foment any dispute between our two organizations over jurisdictional agreements."

IBEW Local 1 Business Manager Stephen Schoemehl in a letter to the CDC's Nelson