Why the Expulsion: The Big Picture
Twenty-five years ago, at contract time, the idea of giving stuff away was never even considered. Wed go on strike for a few days and be told to "go fishing".
Look at some of what we had back then: Double time Saturdays, a 36-hour work week, beginning apprentice rate of 60% plus full benefits from day one. AND there was no separate residential agreement with lower wage rates.
We also had about 80% of construction being done union.
In case the young or brothers and sisters think every thing was just perfect back then, however, it wasnt. Most of our leaders were in bed with the contractors
and the jobs flowed out the back door of the hiring halls! The majority of members
didnt much like it, but they were doing okay, buying a home, maybe some land up in
the mountains even. Why beat your head against a wall fighting the system when things
could be so much worse? This was the thinking.
Then a strange. thing happened. All around the country big business went onto
the attack, moving jobs overseas, driving down wages and conditions, busting unions.
Suddenly the chummy relationship between the contractors and the union leaders ended. As
big business increasingly moved to try to weaken or destroy all unions, the politicians
became increasingly less "friendly", and all sorts of new anti-labor rules, like
the two gate system, started to bite. Despite the fact that unions were built in violation
of the law, our union leaders today remain the only significant force in society that
believes In obeying the law.
So, our leaders were determined to hold onto what was now a losing strategy.
accepting the claim of the unionized contractors that we had to help them compete with the non-union contractors by cutting back on our wages and conditions. They also knew that they would not be able to do this as long as the members had some say so in running the union.
They moved to take away two of the most important membership rights: the right to elect full time officials and the right to vote on contracts. Even the whole way the councils are structured, with such large councils that can only meet quarterly, means that the top full-time officials really have almost all the control. Now they are expelling a man that has always fought against this trend, Local 713 Recording Secretary, John Reimann.
Today we have an international leadership that appears to be totally in bed with the contractors. We have the Bermuda Triangle of Doug McCarron (General President), Richard B/urn (investment counselor and husband of Senator Dianne
Feinstein) and Ron Tutor (head contractor Tutor- Saliba). McCarron and Tutor sit on the Board of Directors of Perini Construction together. Blum is an investment advisor for Perini and is paid $4 million-a- -year to advise the Southern California Pension Plan.
McCarrons family is involved in the running of Zenith Corporation, which was imposed on the New York carpenters to administer their benefits. McCarron is celebrated at contractor affairs as "Construction Man of the Year". And at the local level, we pay to have our officials sit at the banquet tables and stroll along the golf courses with the contractors. And of course, each contract is worse than the previous one.
But the wildcat strike last May proved that the members will not take all of this lying down. Working Carpenters for a Stronger Union" is dedicated to organizing for the day when our union is changed for good and the Doug McCarrons have to put their tool belts back on if they want to make a living in our Union.
We are dedicated to helping clarify just whats gone wrong and what needs to be done to change it. We are dedicated to building a leadership that will stop at nothing in the struggle for the rights and interests of us, the working carpenters.