United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America dissolved 15 of its Oregon and Washington locals effective Jan. 24, and replaced them with four newly-chartered locals, one local each for general carpenters, millwrights, pile drivers, and drywall carpenters. The changes, which were outlined in a letter to members from General President Doug McCarron, also include dues reductions and a shift to a new centralized dispatch system run by the Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters.
The union will close some offices and lay off some office staff. The dissolved locals — 247, 1388, 1065, 1707, 1001, 2154, 1715, 1273, 306, 2067, 711, 204, 1699, 2416, and 2396 — had a combined membership of about 7,000, according to the most recent filings with the U.S. Department of Labor.
Newly-chartered Carpenters Local 156 now represents all general carpenters in the state of Oregon, plus four Southwest Washington counties (Clark, Skamania, Cowlitz, Wahkiakum), totaling about 4,000 members. Local 156 comprises members of former locals 247, 1388, 1065, 1707, 1001 and 2067, plus carpenter members in mixed locals 1715, 306, and 1273. McCarron appointed Doug Tweedy interim president and Wayne Frazey interim financial secretary.
In that same Oregon and Southwest Washington area, all drywall hangers now belong to newly-chartered Interior Systems Local 146. It comprises former interior/exterior Local 2154 plus interior specialists from mixed locals 306, 1273, and 1715, for a combined membership of roughly 1,300 members. McCarron appointed Bruce Epstein interim president and Norman Curry interim financial secretary.
Both locals — Local 156 and Local 146 — will be headquartered in the union hall that formerly belonged to Local 1388, at 276 Warner-Milne Rd. in Oregon City, Oregon.
Meanwhile, all pile driver members in Oregon, Washington, Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming now belong to newly-chartered Pile Drivers Local 196, which takes as its headquarters the former Local 2396 hall at 4696 Pacific Hwy East in Fife, Washington. Local 196 includes about 1,000 members from former locals 2416 and 2396, plus any pile driver who belonged to a mixed local in those states. McCarron appointed Dena Rempelos interim president and Leiter Hockett interim financial secretary.
Finally, all millwrights in Oregon, Washington, Montana, and Idaho are now members of newly-chartered Millwrights Local 96, which will use former Local 1699’s office at 515 N. Neel St in Kennewick, Washington as its headquarters. The new local combines about 700 millwrights from locals 711, 204, and 1699, plus any millwrights from mixed locals — except for Metal Trades Local 2403 at Hanford, Washington, and Local 808 in Idaho Falls, Idaho, which continue as autonomous locals. McCarron appointed Dave Rupe interim president and Justin McClendon interim financial secretary.
All assets of the dissolved locals are being transferred to the regional council. Some or all of those assets may be apportioned among the newly established locals, McCarron said in the letter.
Not all of the 15 dissolved locals had offices and staff, but some did. The Carpenters-owned buildings on the 2200 block of N. Lombard St. in Portland and at 3655 Kashmir Way SE in Salem are said to be up for sale.
The consolidation reduces overhead and duplication of services, and thus allows local dues to be reduced, explained Regional Council Executive Secretary-Treasurer Doug Tweedy in letters to members of each local.
“While we are proud of where we have been and the local unions that helped us to achieve so much,” Tweedy said in the letters, “our general president has signaled that we must continue to adapt to the industry’s changes or be left behind.”
For all four of the new local unions, dispatching will now be centralized and operated by the regional council using a new automated system.
Some questions remained unanswered as of press time: Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters spokesperson Eric Franklin said he didn’t have information on when the new locals’ monthly meetings would begin or where they will take place, or when the locals will have their next election of officers.