Note: Oaklandsocialist has carried numerous articles and videos of the struggle of carpenters in Western Washington to win a good contract. That struggle was basically a war on two fronts: Against both the contractors and the union leadership. That struggle and the inability of the council leadership, including its executive secretary treasurer Evelyn Shapiro, to fully control the membership has led the International President Doug McCarron to step in and take control over the council. It seems that the reason was reports of vote rigging in the last membership ratification vote of the last tentative agreement. Among other things, McCarron has reportedly confiscated all cell phones of all the business agents, possibly to find out who was communicating with whom. The opposition was led by the opposition caucus called the Peter J. McGuire Group. For more on these events, scroll down on this blog site. Here, the chair of that group, Art Francisco Esparza, sends a public message:
Dear Carpenters Family, and the family in other unions and trades,
The resignation of the criminal Evelyn Shapiro, the removal of the criminal contract administrator Dan Hutchins, the dissolving of the criminal council Executive Board involved in massive voter fraud over the contract shows that the Peter J. McGuire Group, our vision, tactics, and strategy were on the right side of history that serves the working carpenter and the working class as a whole.
Peter J. McGuire Group members and supporters have put their necks on the line, risking their union membership, and sacrificing their paychecks to demand a stronger contract, to demand an effective strike, and to demand real accountability for the union bosses who should be replaced with union leaders. I am incredibly proud of all of you, and humbled to be at your service.
We have out organized the Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters.
We brought a tremendous amount of national attention onto the betrayal of the members–and we brought about a decade of change in a matter of weeks. We are not going away. We are here to stay!
We are the only organization in the entire Pacific Northwest representing working carpenters. We intend to continue to grow and expand our reach with the help of committed brothers and sisters in other parts of the country.
It is time for all of our political opponents within the union and other trades, those on the fence, those who doubted us, to admit we were right and they were decidedly in the wrong. It is time for the supporters of the council who supported a criminal conspiracy to sabotage the interests of carpenters; to admit they were complicit, to resign their positions, and admit that we in the Peter J. McGuire Group have promoted the right kind of leadership for the Carpenters Union. We will expose and defeat the union bosses who pose as leaders while shilling in the interests of the employers.
The Peter J. McGuire Group is the only Carpenters organization in the country that has highlighted in its foundational platform that we believe our class interests as workers are opposed to the class interests of business owners.
Let there be no illusions, the International of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters’ decision to fight corruption in our region is a tactical decision, not one based on principle. We at the Peter J. McGuire Group call for a full investigation of the entire regional council, and all of its staff, in every state. If there is any criminal wrong doing, if there is any corruption, we demand to know about it immediately. We call for the confiscation of all electronics for investigation of every business agent in the regional council who was involved the Western Washington contract negotiations and strike. We call for a transparent investigation with weekly public press conferences by the United Brotherhood of Carpenters. We also call for the direct elections of all council positions, delegates, and elections of business agents. We want the UBC to provide any necessary training for newly elected positions and to aid in building a democratic provisional administrative team. We firmly oppose any attempt to merge the PNW Carpenters with any other Regional Council.
We also call on the UBC to use its legal resources to investigate into the validity of the AGC Western Washington Agreement now that significant voter fraud has been discovered, and that Section 39(A) of the Regional Council’s bylaws was not followed, which gives the bargaining unit of Carpenters in Western Washington the right to vote on a collective bargaining agreement by secret ballot.
We also call on all Carpenters both apprentices and journeymen to attend union meetings in November. These will the most important union meetings of your career, and if you have never been to one, its time to go. We need to demand that we as union carpenters have a say in rebuilding the council to be not only democratic, but in also the direction forward. McCarron is likely going to try and keep us under trusteeship and tighten his grip on us through either direct control by cronies (like Shapiro), or by merging us with another Regional Council. Its up to all of us working carpenters to oppose that direction! It is time for working carpenters in the Pacific Northwest to control the Pacific Northwest from the bottom up!
Thank you all for your continued support! Thank you for your efforts in winning this important victory! Lets continue the fight for a better union and a better future for our families and eachother!
Arthur Francisco Esparza
Chair of the Peter J. McGuire Group
Carpenters Local 30
Wednesday October 27
WW Locals (If you’re in the PNW please attend your local meetings! Speak out!) Oaklandsocialist adds: The only ones who can be relied upon to really investigate these matters is a rank and file committee elected by the membership itself. At its root lies the fact that the union is run on the policies that the union and the unionized contractors are part of the same team and, therefore, nothing must be done to weaken their control over the workers or lower their profits. For more on this, see “What Happened to Our Unions?“