Local 57 Facts

UBC deserts organized labor!

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Carpenters for Union Democracy

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Where were we - where are we?

     Brother Dorrough has a lot to say about McCarron and what is happening in UBC Local 370. My question is: What have we done to help them? What ARE we doing to help them? Is Resolution 70 the answer for union carpenters in our nation?  What if you learned that rank-and-file carpenters battled back and WON their democratic rights without intervention of the AFL-CIO or the NBCTD? That is exactly what happened more than 10 years ago when a strong group of union carpenters came together to form the Carpenters for Union Democracy. Where is our focus?  On Nelson? McCarron?  Brother Dorrough's thoughts may serve to validate our position with respect what is happening in St Louis, but perhaps we are overlooking the UBCJA's most vital resource - the union carpenter. Who holds the solutions to the problems that face the UBCJA? History has proven that the answer lies within the rank-and-file carpenters nationwide. Make no mistake, these men and women are proud of their craft and skills just as you and I are proud of our own and all of organized labor should step forward to empower them in their quest to reclaim their democratic rights. McCarron's slow restructuring of the UBCJA has provided a buffer zone that has insulated him from the rank-and-file members of the UBCJA. Over time this zone has widened through McCarrons systematic replacement of every tier of management below him. It is high time all of labor help empower rank-and-file carpenter members nationwide building on the foundations already laid by these proud men and women. The time has come to focus on them - not on their leadership.

Learn more about the history of their quest from the Association for Union Democracy


Mouse-over this image to learn how carpenters formed the group Carpenters for Union Democracy in 2000!

What happened to these men and women? Some regrouped to form the Construction Maintenance and Allied Workers!

Trade unionists overcome McCarronism in Canada

and the Construction Maintenance and Allied Workers is born!

Many visitors to Local 57 Facts may have seen the LIGHTS OUT MCCARRON video.  Defending themselves against McCarron’s efforts to restructure their councils and destroy their democratic rights these strong union brothers and sisters sent McCarron packing and formed the Construction Maintenance and Allied Workers.  Who is the CMAW? Here is an excerpt from their website:

We are a diverse union of over 7000 members including carpenters, carpenter apprentices, lathers, millwrights, floorlayers, piledrivers, industrial workers and many other construction trades and school board employees. We are the largest union representing construction workers in British Columbia, Canada’s most westerly province.

Every day we stand up for workers – both union and non-union -- in many occupations. We have offices in every region of BC and our officials are elected by members “off the tools” from some of BC’s largest industries including construction, the public sector, forestry and manufacturing. We fight for workplace justice every day. Join us.

Impressive? You ain’t seen nothin’ yet! Here is an excerpt from their website declaring their union’s position on the value of democracy in their organization and calling out all those who attempt to raid organized workers!

Raiding information

Some unions don’t act like unions at all

  • They don’t protect the interests of their members.
  • They don’t come to your aid when you need help.
  • Their agreements with employers protect the boss’s rights, not member rights
  • They tell their employers one thing, then tell their members something else.

The annual raiding period is coming, and you will be hearing from some of these unions.  It could be the International Carpenters who go by the name BC regional Council of Carpenters.  It could be their cousins, who go by the name CAST.  It could be the painters union.

The facts:

CMAW is an independent Canadian union
In 2007 BC’s carpenters broke away from the international union and shifted all of the certifications to CMAW.  We represent more than 90 per cent of the union carpenters currently working in BC, and we also represent many hundreds of construction workers in Alberta and Saskatchewan.  CMAW is strong, and getting stronger.

Nobody in the USA is going to tell us what to do
These other building trades unions all get their marching orders from their international in Washington or Las Vegas.  The International Carpenters even signs national contracts without giving local members a vote.  That’s just not right.

CMAW is affiliated with CEP
The Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union is also an independent Canadian union with 150,000 members, including 12,000 in BC.  Through that affiliation we gain work opportunities all across Western Canada for our members.

CMAW doesn’t raid other unions.
As a strong member of CMAW, you know that we don’t raid other unions for members.  More than 80 per cent of construction workers in British Columbia work non-union, and that is where we concentrate all of our organizing efforts.  It makes absolutely no sense to raid other unions to gain members, but these other organizations continue to do it.

Unions of Convenience
Some of these unions, including the BC Regional Council of Carpenters promise contractors “complete freedom to sub-contract work”.  How does that benefit their members on the job?

How about an agreement that says, “ … may, by mutual agreement, in writing, amend or delete any terms or conditions of this agreement …” Why have an agreement at all if it can be swept away without a vote of the members?

How about wording that says:  “There shall be no formal or informal defined jurisdiction with respect to which employees in which employment classifications perform what portion of the work.” Does that mean that anyone with a hammer is a carpenter and anyone with pliers is an electrician?  Yessir!

Don’t buy their line.

  • They’ll tell you their wages are better.  Not true.
  • They’ll say their benefits are better.  Not true.
  • They’ll say you’ll have more control. Not true.
  • They’ll say you’ll have more work.  Not true.
  • They’ll say you’ll have more training opportunities.  Not true.

They won’t tell you the following:

  • Their local unions are under the thumb of their leaders in Washington, DC
  • Their international officers can overturn decisions of your locally elected officers.
  • Their pension contributions go to Washington, DC through their Toronto office.
  • Their officers get gold-plated pensions.
  • They can cancel your strike vote and send you back to the job.
  • They can set aside elections of officers in your local union.
  • They can put your local union under trusteeship – take control of your union.
  • They take control of your strike fund, not your local officers.
  • They sign agreements that have no ‘local hire’ provisions – no jobs for members from the community
  • They decide whether you get strike benefits or not.
  • They sign agreements that allow all your work to be subcontracted out.
  • They do not believe in locally elected, democratically run local trade unions.

With CMAW you have:

  • The highest wages in the country.
  • The best benefit package available, with a fully funded pension controlled by your trustees.
  • A growing union which represents 90 per cent of the unionized carpenters in BC
  • A strong work picture in Western Canada, beyond the Olympics.
  • A union supported and controlled locally by you, the member.
  • A union which is in total control of its own finances and its own decisions.
  • A union which provides $500 scholarships to its carpenter apprentices

Don’t be conned.
Stay with the union that gives you strength and power.
That’s CMAW.

Support CMAW. It’s our Union.  CMAW looks after what’s best for us.

Here is a partial list of the Local Unions they represent – notice their original charter date from the UBC and their new CMAW charter date! These union members refused to accept the McCarron restructuring and as a result of their action they have preserved their beloved local unions!

Carpenters Local Unit 1995
Vancouver-Lower Mainland-Fraser Valley-Whistler
Carpenters Union charter: June 1, 1995;
CMAW charter: July 1, 2004

Marine and Shipbuilders Local 506
Carpenters Union Charter: November 1, 1948;
CMAW charter: July 1, 2004

Construction Local Unit 1081
Carpenters Union charter: 1953;
CMAW charter: July 1, 2004

Construction Local Unit 1237
also School Board Local Unit 1237
Carpenters Union charter: 1951;
CMAW charter: July 1, 2004

Construction Local Unit 1346

Carpenters Union charter: November 9, 1942;
CMAW charter: July 1, 2004  

Construction Local Unit 1719

Carpenters Union charter: May 16, 1947;
CMAW charter: July 1, 2004

Construction Local Unit 1735
Prince Rupert
Carpenters Union charter: 1909;
CMAW charter: July 1, 2004

CMAW Shopworkers’ Local Unit 1928 (Display Workers)
Carpenters Union charter: February 20, 1950;
CMAW charter: July 1, 2004

Construction Local Unit 1998
Carpenters Union charter: August 10, 1945;
CMAW charter: July 1, 2004

School Board Local Unit 2106
Carpenters Union charter: 1985;
CMAW charter: July 1, 2004

School Board Local Unit 2423
Carpenters Union charter: circa 1973;
CMAW charter: July 1, 2004

Shopworkers Local Unit 2511
Carpenters Union charter: August 30, 1966;
CMAW Charter July 1, 2004

School Board Employees Local Union 2545
Carpenters Union charter: February 1, 1967;
CMAW charter: July 1, 2004  

Construction Local Unit 2300
Carpenters Union charter: January 6, 1954;
CMAW charter: July 1, 2004


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Last Updated on Sunday, 23 January 2011 12:08  


"It's not about 'raiding'. I do not want to organize one carpenter who is part of the carpenters union. Not one."

International Union of Painters and Allied Trades General President James Williams during the AFL-CIO convention.