By DON McINTOSH
United Brotherhood of Carpenters dissolved eight locals in Oregon and Washington effective March 1, and transferred more than 19,000 members into five newly chartered locals. No explanation was given for the changes, which were announced on the union’s web site.
Each of the new locals was assigned a local number based on the telephone area code where it’s located. Members were assigned to the new locals based on where they live, not necessarily what local they were in before.
The terminated locals were 30, 41, 70, 129, 146, 271, 816, and 1503. The five newly formed locals:
- Local 503 includes carpenters in Multnomah, Clackamas, Washington, Columbia, and Clatstop counties in Oregon, and Clark, Skamania, Wahkiakum, and Cowlitz counties in Washington. It combines general carpenters Local 1503 with drywall hangers Local 146. Local 503’s headquarters will be at the two former unions’ shared hall at 276 Warner Milne Rd., Oregon City.
- Local 541 includes carpenters in all other Oregon counties, and will be headquartered at the former Local 271 hall at 1265 S Bertelsen Rd, Ste. 6, Eugene.
- Local 360 includes carpenters in Mason, Grays Harbor, Thurston, Pierce, Pacific, and Lewis Counties in Washington.
- Local 206 includes carpenters in King and Kitsap Counties in Washington.
- Local 425 includes carpenters in Whatcom, Skagit, Snohomish, San Juan, Island, Clallam, and Jefferson Counties in Washington.
Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters will hold informational meetings of the newly chartered local unions in April. At the meetings, staff will introduce the locals’ newly appointed interim executive board members and answer questions about how the restructuring will affect members. Dues cards will be required to attend the meetings. The meeting for Local 503 will be 6 p.m. April 18 at 276 Warner-Milne Rd., Oregon City.
The Regional Council itself remains in trusteeship, meaning that it’s run by trustees appointed by Carpenters general president Douglas J. McCarron. The international union trusteed the Regional Council in November 2021 following allegations of vote rigging in a ratification vote over a new Seattle-area contract with Associated General Contractors. Under federal law, a trusteeship is supposed to last no more than 18 months, at which point local democratic control is supposed to be restored.
Staff organizers and representatives in the region are employees of the regional council, not the locals. The regional council serves 27,000 carpenters, millwrights, and pile drivers in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and Alaska.
For Portland-area carpenters, this is the third reorganization in 12 years. For decades, they were in Local 247, but that local was terminated in January 2011, and merged with five other Oregon and Southwest Washington locals to become Local 156. Then in September 2014 Local 156 split up again into Local 1503 for the Portland metro area and Southwest Washington, and Local 271 for the rest of Oregon.
Locals in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and Alaska were left untouched by the latest reorganization, as were five other Carpenters locals in Washington: Pile drivers local 196 in Fife; Local 59 in Spokane; Local 96 in Kennewick; Local 1136 in Kettle Falls; and Local 2761 in McCleary.
THIS ARTICLE HAS BEEN CORRECTED: An earlier version of this story reported erroneously that for Portland-area carpenters, it was the third reorganization initiated by the international union in 12 years. Actually, the 2014 reorganization – in which Local 156 was split into locals 1503 and 271 – was undertaken at the request of local leadership. Also added was the source of the information: an announcement on the union’s web site.