Local 57 Facts

UBC deserts organized labor!

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The following quotes are from prominent labor and business leaders as published in the St Louis/Southern Illinois Labor Tribune (VOL. 73 No. 46) addressing the UBC Nelson's actions.

Scott Hassall - Business Manager IBEW Local Union 309, Collinsville Illinois

"He (Nelson) told me he didn't have a problem with Local 309 and his contractors wouldn't be bidding on our jobs in Illinois. A year later he's over here competing with our contractors with substandard wages and benefits!"

Gerald Feldhaus - Executive Secretary Treasurer, St Louis Building and Construction Trades Council

"It's important to remind everyone that this is not a fight with the rank-and-file carpenter who works hard to do his craft's work with the same skill our other trades put into their work. Our dispute is with Terry Nelson and the direction he's forcing on his union. While many carpenters have privately told us they totally disagree with him, until they stand up and take back their union, everyone will suffer in the long run, including the working carpenters."

Prominent Union Contractor - Name withheld by request

"There is simply no way you can stamp a union label on a group of non-union electricians and get the quality you get from union electricians."  

Jack Tueth - Business Manager IBEW Local Union 649, Alton Illinois

"What Nelson is doing is nothing less than old fashioned union busting!"

Doug Martin - Executive Vice President of the St. Louis Chapter, National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA)

Our NECA contractors are proud to have worked for more than 100 years with the IBEW to create the standards for today's electrical construction and communication industries.  We've dedicated generations of hard work to build our industry's capability to deliver the highest quality installations and develop the standards for safety and electrical performance excellence.  NECA and the IBEW have also worked together to create apprenticeship programs that train our electricians and communication technicians to achieve world-class skills.

It is unconscionable that Terry Nelson and the carpenters decided to generate membership by undermining the standards of hard-working IBEW electricians and professional NECA contractors.  Construction unions have historically worked together to establish fair prevailing standards for wages and benefits in exchange for our on-going investment in developing the highest skills and safety.  As a result the St. Louis area has greatly benefited.  The union construction industry has trained and retained excellent craft workers, improved construction safety and delivered the highest quality installations possible.

In forming Local 57, Nelson undermines not only the IBEW's standards, but the carpenters as well.  It is extremely hypocritical for the carpenters to legitimize (and even subsidize) open shop contractors and publicly promote their workers as union craftsmen. Local 57 workers were all trained by non-union contractors.  Putting a carpenters union label on non-union trained workers and promoting their substandard skills is a betrayal of the standards and quality that the IBEW, the building trades and previously the carpenters worked a century to build. I wonder if the average union carpenter understands how much Nelson's decision to create Local 57 will expand open shop construction in St. Louis.  When customers can no longer equate union construction with superior quality and better-trained workers, there is little reason to choose to build union.

Nelson has produced numerous do not patronize flyers urging the public to avoid businesses that select open shop contractors or cut fair wages and benefits because those actions lower working standards, hurting the entire community. As the voice of the carpenter, that rings rather hollow.  Those in construction eager to drive wages down at the expense of skill are embracing Nelson's efforts to undermine the NECA-IBEW standards.  With Nelson's help, they can perpetuate an unfounded stereotype that construction prevailing area standards are  too expensive for today's markets. In the long-term, I believe Nelson's Local 57 will undermine the standards of every construction union in our region and ultimately will result in lost work for many union contractors and cost their union workers jobs - including the carpenters.

NECA contractors are signatory to IBEW agreements because those agreements create the most effective tools for us to train, develop and retain the best-skilled, most productive workforce. NECA Contractors, working with our better-trained IBEW workforce, are successfully competing every day for electrical and communication work throughout our region.  We will continue to compete and deliver cost-effective electrical and communication work with superior quality, higher productivity and better long-term value for our customers and the St. Louis construction industry.


Are you a union carpenter who disagrees with Nelson stopping your subscription to the St Louis/Southern Illinois Labor Tribune? If so, you can subscribe here!

Trust me - Nelson reads the Tribune!

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Last Updated on Thursday, 18 July 2019 19:36  


"We firmly believe that the energies of the Building and Construction Trades unions should first be directed to organizing the craft workers in the markets they used to represent, before they divert their members hard-earned dues in efforts reach out to workers they lack the knowledge to represent and the skills or resources to train."

Statement of United Brotherhood of Carpenters General President Douglas J. McCarron in response to AFL-CIO Resolution 70 - Hey Dougie, practice what you preach!