The carpenters pension plan in Western Washington is going down the tubes. This comes after the carpenters pension plan has already been abandoned in Alaska. Here, Bill Knowles explains part of the reason why. I think there are a couple of things that should be added to what he says:
1)On the failure to organize: This is not because the union leadership hasn’t invested money into what it calls “organizing”; it’s because they are going about it in the completely wrong way. They are hell-bent on keeping the contractors happy rather than fighting for the members. So how can they overcome the resistance of the contractors if they can’t and won’t mobilize their own members in a serious way, when “serious” means disrupting construction?
2)We should add to the three reasons that Bill Knowles mentions a fourth one: As part of their strategy of keeping the contractors happy, they settle every contract on the cheap. As a result, they are not forcing the contractors to put enough money into the pension plan.
What is happening in the Pacific Northwest, what has already happened in Alaska is just the warning for all of the union and, in fact, for all the building trades. As part of the union leadership’s determination to keep the contractors happy, they are determined to relieve the contractors of any responsibility for the unfunded liability of the pension plans throughout the US and Canada. Either organize to fight to change the direction of our union or lose it all!