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— by Pat Nee Pat Nee
Michael Capelli is Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the New Jersey Regional Council of
Carpenters. The post is the latest step in a steadily rising union career that has taken him from
apprenticeship to his current role as leader of 26 local unions with nearly 17,000 members and
their 55,000 household members. He has been active for years in Gloucester County politics,
holding elected office and continuing in service on planning and land-use boards. A native and
resident of Pitman, he is married and has three children.
A New Jersey native, Capelli graduated from Pitman High School in 1981 and began his 4-year
carpenter apprenticeship in 1986. In 12 years in the field, he rose quickly, eventually becoming a
As a union member and then an official, he was active in Camden County Carpenters Local 393
from the start, eventually becoming Trustee, Treasurer, and Delegate to the statewide council. He
taught at the Carpenters Training Center in Mullica and was the initial grant administrator for the
Youth Transition to Work (YTTW) program, for  which he signed the first students from four
participating schools.
In 1998, longtime NJ Carpenters leader Tom Ober named him as a Business Representative for
the eight-county Southern New Jersey council. In 2002, he was appointed as an International
Representative for the United Brotherhood of Carpenters under Eastern District Vice President
Bill Michalowski and his successor, Frank Spencer. Capelli’s work for the District—which
comprises 117,000 members, 13 states, and 8 Regional Councils—included multi-state
organizing; work with national contractors, owners, developers, and public officials; and support
for grievances and arbitrations.
In addition to those duties, UBC General President Douglas McCarron in 2005 assigned Capelli
to assist with UBC jurisdiction support out of UBC headquarters in Washington, DC, which he
did for three years.
In late 2008, Capelli was appointed to be the next Executive Secretary-Treasurer (EST) of the
New Jersey Regional Council of Carpenters, the top post in the statewide union of nearly 17,000
members. He took office officially in early 2009 and in June 2009 was unanimously elected to a
3-year term by 150 Council delegates representing members in 26 local unions. As EST, he
serves as co-chair of the statewide labor-management organization that markets and promotes
business development for union carpentry.
In addition to this union career, Mike also is active in community and political affairs. He served
on the Pitman Borough Council, where he led financial affairs, and currently sits on the
Gloucester County Planning Board, where he chairs the Planning Board’s Land Development
Review and Approval Committee. The Board represents the county on the Delaware Valley
Regional Planning Commission, the State Planning Commission, the Pinelands Commission, and
the Tri-County Water Quality Management Board.