New leadership at Elevator Constructors Local 23

Robert Larzalere

By DON McINTOSH

International Union of Elevator Constructors (IUEC) Local 23 has a new top officer.

Randy Carmony, who served as business manager since 2014, stepped down in April, and a special election was held to fill his position. Local 23 president Robert Larzalere outpolled treasurer Russ Vollendorf and was sworn in as the new business manager April 14.

Larzalere, 43, is a second generation member of the IUEC, and followed his dad and other family members into the trade. An uncle in Los Angeles is a business agent in IUEC Local 18. Encouraged by his father, Larzalere joined in 1997 at age 18. He started in Local 18 in Las Vegas, and later worked in Local 126 in Hawaii. He also attended college while in the trade, earning degrees in construction management and occupational safety and health. While working for the big four elevator companies he also served as an apprenticeship instructor for 16 years. He loves the trade. 

“Every meal I’ve ever had has came from a union paycheck,” he told the Labor Press.

Five years ago, he joined Portland-headquartered Local 23, and immediately got involved. Now he’ll do union business full time as business manager. Assisted by office manager Christy Regalado, he’ll run day to day operations of the union, dispatching members to jobs and enforcing their rights under the contract. After winning election, he spent a week training at the union’s national headquarters in Columbia, Maryland.

Larzalere’s term of office runs through the end of 2024, and he says one of his priorities will be to build the brotherhood by organizing barbecues and other events for members to meet and get to know each other. One of them will take place this Saturday, July 16 at 11 a.m., when the union will host its second annual “toy show” at the union hall—a chance for members to show off their cars, boats, and motorcycles. 

Local 23 covers overs Oregon, plus six southwest Washington counties. With 286 members, it’s a local affiliate of IUEC, which has 31,000 members nationwide. IUEC members construct, maintain and repair elevators, escalators, and moving walkways. Most work under the terms of national contracts with the four big elevator companies—Otis, ThyssenKrupp, Kone and Schindler. The trade is among the highest paid crafts in the union building trades. Journeymen elevator constructors in Local 23 currently make $59.95 an hour, plus $37.48 in fringe benefits. And under the new five-year national agreement that took effect July 9, wages will rise $14 an hour, starting with an increase of $2.56 an hour on Jan. 1, 2023.

Larzalere says union members are doing nearly all the elevator work in Local 23’s jurisdiction. Members are fully employed, and more than 20 apprentices are currently in training.

Starting later in July, Local 23 will be moving from its current office north of Airport Way to its new hall at 11145 NE Sandy Blvd., purchased from Insulators Local 36.

As for Carmony, he retired May 1 at age 58 with a union pension, after 40 years in the elevator constructor trade. Carmony said in retirement he expects to do some traveling, and he’ll take care of the cattle and hay farm just north of Sandy, the same he grew up on.

Larzalere’s election as business manager meant a vacancy in the office of president. Executive Board member Ian Fike became president, and fellow executive board member Emmanuel Guzman became vice president.

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